'Book of Mormon' returns, kicking off Hennepin Theatre Trust's 2014-15 season

Pioneer PressBy Chris Hewitt January 22, 2014

If you couldn't get tickets to the musical "The Book of Mormon" last year, you are in luck. It's coming back this summer, along with a batch of new shows in the just-announced Hennepin Theatre Trust 2014-15 season.

Looking for connections between the new shows? How about Motown? It starts with "Motown the Musical," a guided tour through the history of the label that brought us the Jacksons, the Supremes and the Temptations. The Motown theme also includes "Kinky Boots," the 2013 Tony Award winner for best musical whose songs (also Tony-winning) were partially inspired by Motown, according to composer Cyndi Lauper. There's "Pippin," which won the 2013 Tony for best musical revival -- two of its songs may be best known in cover versions by Motown artists: "Morning Glow" by Michael Jackson and "Corner of the Sky" by Diana Ross. And finally, Motown songs also turn up in "Dirty Dancing -- The Classic Story on Stage," a live adaptation of the beloved movie about a dance instructor and the girl nobody puts in a corner.

The final newcomer to HTT's season is "I Love Lucy -- Live on Stage," a play with music that asks theatergoers to imagine themselves as audiences at a 1950s taping of a couple of episodes of the classic television show.

In addition to the second visit of "The Book of Mormon," which kicks off the season in August, returnees include "Disney's Beauty and the Beast," "Irving Berlin's White Christmas" (which has appeared at the Ordway), "Annie" and "Jersey Boys."

"Oliver!" will return to local stages in a homegrown HTT/Theater Latte Da co-production that will be directed by Peter Rothstein, whose "Cabaret" is onstage at the Pantages Theatre now.

Here's the lineup:

"The Book of Mormon": It has been called "The best musical of the century" and "the funniest musical ever written." Mostly, it has been called "sold out." Aug. 20-Sept. 7, Orpheum Theatre.

"Dirty Dancing -- The Classic Story on Stage": A hit on London's West End, the movie adaptation has toured extensively but never played on Broadway. Oct. 7-19, Orpheum.

"Irving Berlin's White Christmas": Just in time for the holidays. Nov. 25-30, Orpheum.

"Motown the Musical": It's a jukebox musical along the lines of "Mamma Mia!" and "Jersey Boys," but what a jukebox! The show charts the origins of the legendary recording label with performances of such songs as the Jackson Five's' "ABC," Diana Ross and the Supremes' "Come See About Me," Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "Shop Around" and Rick James' "Super Freak." Dec. 16-28, Orpheum.

"I Love Lucy -- Live on Stage": Another non-Broadway offering, it features actors re-creating Lucy, Desi, Ethel and Fred as they perform a pair of episodes of the sitcom (in other cities, the episodes have been "Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined" and "The Benefit"), along with backstage hijinks. Jan. 20-25, 2015, State Theatre.

"Oliver!": Charles Dickens' treasured novel "Oliver Twist" spawned a stage musical, an Oscar-winning film and this new production, directed by Peter Rothstein of Theater Latte Da, which co-produces. Feb. 4-March 1, 2015, Pantages Theatre.

"Pippin": The 1970s musical has been reimagined in a circus setting, with tumblers who sing and singers who walk tightropes. Much of Bob Fosse's original choreography remains, as do songs "Corner of the Sky," "Magic to Do" and "Morning Glow." Feb. 17-22, 2015, Orpheum.

"Disney's Beauty and the Beast": Complete with singing spoons and teapots. March 10-15, 2015, Orpheum.

"Annie": The moppet-filled musical that spawned a thousand "Tomorrows" and has had local productions at Children's Theatre Company and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres hits the road on the heels of a new film adaptation that is expected to open at Christmastime. March 31-April 5, 2015, Orpheum.

"Jersey Boys": The musical about pop quartet the Four Seasons picks just one season, spring, to revisit the Twin Cities. April 28-May 3, 2015, Orpheum.

"Kinky Boots": The 2005 British movie that put current Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor on the map is now much better known as a Tony-winning stage musical about a drag queen who comes to the rescue of a floundering shoe factory. With lyrics by "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" singer Cyndi Lauper. July 28-Aug. 2, 2015, Orpheum.

Chris Hewitt can be reached at 651-228-5552 or follow him at twitter.com/ChrisHMovie.


Season tickets are on sale and available by calling 800-859-7469 or visiting hennepintheatretrust.org. ("Oliver!," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Jersey Boys" are not part of any season ticket packages but can be added to them). Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date.