The show goes on

Theater-goers in central Indiana will have a unique opportunity to discover the magic of Broadway this year.

They’ll meet a “Friend Like Me” with a magical genie, bop into ’60s dance and travel to 19th-century France. Through award-winning songs and infectious choreography, audiences can live the lives of the Temptations and escape from Soviet bad guys trying to stop a brave young woman.

And once again, people get to experience one of history’s most acclaimed shows: “Hamilton.”

“There’s a good balance of shows, between the premieres that have never played this market as well as the revivals that people always ask about,” said Leslie Broecker, president of Broadway in Indianapolis. “That’s what we were able to accomplish this year.”

Broadway in Indianapolis announced the shows for its upcoming season, blending three of the most popular shows in the country with three shows that are brand new to area audiences. Theater fans in central Indiana have another opportunity to see hit shows “Hamilton,” “Hairspray” and “Les Misérables.”

For the first time, a trio of shows are coming to Indianapolis — Disney’s “Aladdin,” “Anastasia” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg: The Life and Times of the Temptations.”

Taken all together, this year’s slate of Broadway shows offers a diverse variety of entertainment for any situation.

“The goal when we’re booking a season is to find a diverse palette of shows, so that we’re able to provide folks and season ticketholders with a date night, a family night, perhaps a think piece, a show where you don’t have to think and can sit back and enjoy,” Broecker said.

Foremost in the Broadway slate is “Hamilton,” a show that played to sellouts and capacity crowds the last time it was in Indianapolis in 2019.

As one of the most in-demand shows across the country, local organizers are excited to be able to bring it to town for two weeks in April and May 2023.

“The first time around, the demand for tickets was so great, we could have played for many weeks the first time around,” Broecker said. “But every city deserved a shot at it early on. So rather than do a huge extended sit-down at cities, they hop-scotched across the country. We wanted to book it again, because we knew the demand was there, to let people who didn’t see it the first time around an opportunity.”

But just because “Hamilton” is the heavy hitter doesn’t detract from a diverse and fun lineup overall. For the first time, area audiences will have a chance to see Disney’s “Aladdin,” the hit musical based on the classic film.

The show features all of the songs you’ll remember from the movie — “A Whole New World,” “Prince Ali” and “Friend Like Me,” among others. New songs also round out the musical, which was created by the same producers as “The Lion King.”

“It’s going to be huge. Everybody loves it — who doesn’t love a big, bawdy genie, right?” Broecker said.

“Anastasia” is also based on previous films, telling the story of a brave young woman who sets out to discover the mystery of her past, from the end of the Russian Empire to 1920s Paris. This will be the first time the show has made it to Indianapolis; it had been scheduled during 2020, but had to be postponed during the pandemic, Broecker said.

“One of the main things for me was to get it back, because it was a show we had announced pre-pandemic, and I wanted to get all of those shows back as soon as I could,” she said.

Another Indianapolis premiere, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” follows the career of the legendary Motown band. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, winning the 2019 Tony for Best Choreography. The cast will shimmy and shake to the sounds of hit songs such as “My Girl,” “Get Ready” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”

“For so many people, this music was the songbook of growing up,” Broecker said. “Everybody loves a good backstory. You can hear this music that they love, and now they can get an idea of where that music came from and how it was created and the dynamic within the Temptations.”

The returning musicals in this year’s Broadway in Indianapolis season happen to be two of the most popular and famed shows in history. “Les Misérables” remains the world’s most popular musical, telling a story of passion, sacrifice and redemption against the backdrop of 19th century France.

“Hairspray” is a musical comedy focused on 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad working to get onto TV’s most popular show while living in 1960s Baltimore.

“You don’t have to travel to New York to see these shows. You can see them at home,” Broecker said. “All around, a good healthy Broadway series is culturally a great thing for the community.”