Culture News

Wicked, American Idiot, West Side Story and Other Big Broadway Hits Coming to Gammage

Theater lovers of the Valley better clear their upcoming schedules for the fall and spring, as some major Broadway blockbusters will be making their way to ASU's Gammage Auditorium.

Some of the biggest hits in the history of the Great White Way that are currently touring the country will take to the stage of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed venue over the next year, including such legendary Tony-winning productions as South Pacific and Wicked.

It seems like Broadway's motto over the past few years has been "everything old is new again," as old-school musicals have been brought outta mothballs, dusted off, and given new life. That includes the classic productions West Side Story, which received a big-time revival in 2009 and made some major bank.

Gammage's season kicks off in grand fashion on September 27 when the touring production of West Side Story rolls into town for a week-long run. Little much has changed with the 1957 classic, which was penned by the renowned duo of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim and details the Romeo and Juliet-inspired story of warring (and dancing) New York street gangs.

Speaking of classics, Rogers and Hammerstein's epic South Pacific comes to Gammage for a five-day run in early January, and will fill the auditorium with such memorable tunes as "Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali Ha'i," and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair."

Another major highlight of Gammage's season will be Green Day's American Idiot, which will be staged in April and was inspired by the infamous pop-punk band's 2004 concept album of the same name. It was a marginally successful production during it's two-year run on Broadway (and even required lead singer Billie Joe Armstong to literally play himself to help sagging ticket sales), but is likely to pack Gammage with Green Day fans aplenty.

The rest of the 2011-2012 schedule also includes performances by the freaky-deaky Blue Man Group in early November, a three-night stint by kinetically cool Australian dance troupe Stomp at the end of December, and a month-long visit by Wicked, Stephen Schwartz's imaginative variation on The Wizard of Oz, next February.

Gammage Auditorium is located at 1200 South Forest Avenue in Tempe on the ASU campus. Tickets and the full schedule for Gammage's upcoming season can be found here

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.