Finally making its 305 debut is the hit musical Hamilton, which Arsht Center VP of programming Liz Wallace believes is the reason Miami is more excited than ever for the venue's upcoming season. As part of its recent annual ArtsLaunch event, the Arsht Center hosted a “Hamiltunes” sing-along, which Wallace says “packed 1,800 people into the Knight Concert Hall, and most of them were singing every word to the songs.”
As the Arsht Center welcomes a modern classic at the Ziff Ballet Opera House, the venue will also usher in a long-established classic for its 2019-20 season: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, the groundbreaking rock opera that will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020. Wallace notes both Webber and Hamilton scribe Lin-Manuel Miranda changed Broadway forever with their work, but one might not have been able to exist without the other. She recounts seeing Miranda and Webber at a Broadway conference in New York where Miranda bowed down to Webber and said he learned everything about being courageous and doing something different from the legendary British composer.
Another beloved soundtrack making its way to Miami next year is the catalog of a disco legend, in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, which recently wrapped its debut Broadway run. “[Summer] is everything it’s supposed to be,” Wallace says. “All of her great music, the lighting, the costumes, the back-up singers, the choreography — it is disco par excellence.” The jukebox musical, which chronicles Donna Summer’s winding road to success, is “poignant because her life had some twists and turns,” Wallace says, “but, ultimately, it’s her artistry that wins out and carries her through.”
Fiddler on the Roof is another gripping story that will make its Miami premiere this season. The production will open the series October 29. Rounding out the Broadway in Miami bill are Miss Saigon and Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — both beloved shows that are drastically different in content. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s December run at the Arsht Center is no coincidence: The performing arts venue always ensures to have at least one family-friendly show on its schedule, and doing so around the holidays makes it even easier for the whole family to attend.
“We always try to put a family show on the series so parents and their children — and the grandparents — can enjoy the theatrical experience together so that it's part of their upbringing,” Wallace says, “because if you're introduced to it when you're younger, you're hopefully going to want to do it your whole life.” In addition to increasing theater accessibility for children, the Arsht Center is promoting its godsend UTix program, which allows college students to attend any Arsht production for only $25.
In addition to hosting the jam-packed Broadway in Miami series, the Arsht Center also has an exciting season planned for Theater Up Close. The play counterpart to the musical lineup of Broadway in Miami, Theater Up Close's 2019-20 season will present works produced by only Miami-based companies — a rarity for the Arsht Center. Zoetic Stage and City Theatre will offer jaw-dropping productions of established shows such as American Son (which boasted Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale in its original Broadway run) and new locally focused stories such as Hannah Benitez’s Gringolandia.
With a stacked lineup of shows set to dominate the 2019-20 season, the Arsht Center is gearing up to celebrate a monumental year as it welcomes its five millionth guest. The varied offerings of the upcoming Broadway in Miami ensure there’s something for everyone, even those who’ve never attended live theater productions. “We are always looking to find programming that is interesting to people who have never been here,” Wallace says. “We all need a reason to smile in this world.”
Broadway in Miami. Begins Tuesday, October 29, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; arshtcenter.org. Subscription packages for the 2019-20 season start at $253 via arshtcenter.org.