Friday, February 08, 2002

'Lion King,' 'Producers' anchor series

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Anchored by an eight-week run of The Lion King and a three-week run of Tony Award and Broadway box office record-holder The Producers, Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Cincinnati will spend 24 weeks in the Aronoff Center's Procter & Gamble Hall in the 2002-03 season.

        Bolstered by Broadway's two mega-hits, the touring series could add up to as much as $50 million in economic impact for downtown.

        The season: Sept. 17-29, 42nd Street; Oct. 22-Nov. 10, The Producers; Dec. 17-29, Contact; Jan. 28-Feb. 9, Suessical: The Musical; Feb. 18-March 2, Jesus Christ Superstar; March 21-May 18, The Lion King.

        Contact, also directed and choreographed by The Producers' Susan Stroman, is a Tony Award winner for best musical. Suessical will feature Cathy Rigby as the Cat in the Hat. The tour of 42nd Street is a new revival.

        Three season extras are also scheduled: Oct. 1-6, Les Miserables, returning for the seventh time; Nov. 19-24, Cats (playing here for the first time since 1997); and Jan. 7-12, Beauty and the Beast.

        “We really knocked ourselves out on this one,” series producer Brad Broecker says.

        The national Broadway touring series peaked in subscriptions in the opening season of the Aronoff Center in 1995-96, when it sold 22,000 subscriptions. It will likely break that record next season. “This is a year to know the virtue of subscribing,” Mr. Broecker says.

        The box office opens for season tickets and group salesThursday at (800) 294-1816 and online at Seating selection will be available in person at the Broadway in Cincinnati ticket office in the Mercantile Center, 120 E. Fourth St. Office hours are weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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