As of 13 July 2018
With the current season announcements winding down for the upcoming season, I’d like to present my thoughts regarding the season as a whole, and will also make some predictions for the 2019-2020 season.
The 2018-2019 season sees the continuation of several productions and the introduction of both new and returning productions.
- What’s new? This season brings a host of new productions to the touring circuit, including the 2017 Tony best musical winner, “Dear Evan Hansen,” which launches in Denver. Other 2017 Broadway productions are going nationwide, including “Anastasia,” “Come From Away,” and “Hello, Dolly!” starring Betty Buckley. Beginning mid-season “Cats” is also beginning its touring run in Providence.
- More newness: In addition to the first-runs, there are several productions returning to a city near you that were either on hiatus or touring elsewhere. These are “Legally Blonde” and “Spamalot.” Additionally, there are new shows that seem to have sort of a cult following, including “The Lightning Thief” and “Bat Out Of Hell.”
- Where are we? This season’s winner for most venues played belongs to “Finding Neverland,” which is playing at a whopping 91 venues in just under nine months. The closest competitor is “Something Rotten!,” which is playing in 75 venues in eight months.
- Second home: On the flip side, engagements, such as “Hamilton,” lead the field for longest durations in a venue. With a combined 727 days at 29 venues, the show averages a little over 25 days per venue. Its longest stay is at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, where it resides for 83 days.
- My buddy and me: One trend that seems to occur is that a show will have a companion that plays within the same season, and sometimes back-to-back. As expected, the combo of most companion shows is “Finding Neverland” and “Something Rotten!,” which play at the same theatre 49 times during the season.
Although much is currently known about what the future holds, much remains to be revealed at this time. Here’s what we know so far:
- “Hamilton” remains strong: Several venues have already announced that they will be presenting “Hamilton” as part of their 2019-2020 seasons, with Atlanta being the first to have the show play in back-to-back seasons. It appears that the simultaneous productions will remain in order to reach as many locations as possible. I don’t foresee the productions moving to a week-long engagement for some venues, and will remain in a long-term situation.
- “Dear Evan Hansen” is found: As stated in many press releases, “Dear Evan Hansen” will continue to fill its initial 50+ city obligation. At the end of the 18-19 season, it will have played in 23 of those 50+ cities. A few of those cities have already been revealed, including Salt Lake City, Portland (Oregon) and the Dallas Summer Musicals. I anticipate a lot of visits to the south- and midwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri were snubbed this past season.
- Other goings on: (1) “Come From Away” will continue fulfilling its initial 60-plus city obligation. It currently has 22 venues scheduled for the 18-19 season. Much like “Dear Evan Hansen,” I expect it to play in several southwest venues, as well as some north-central states, including Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. (2) Beginning in the latter-end of the season, “The Band’s Visit” will continue its tour during the 19-20 season. It appears that it is hitting the east coast before moving west. (3) “Miss Saigon” will also continue its run as the full list of sites was revealed on the Providence Performing Arts website. (Note: this page is no longer available.) What is unknown are the specific dates. The show ends the 18-19 season in California; so it’s possible it will stay out west initially before migrating back east.
- Welcome to the country! Several new productions will being their tours this upcoming season that have already announced. This includes, “Escape to Margaritaville,” “Frozen, ” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Mean Girls,” “My Fair Lady,” “Once On This Island,” and “SpongeBob Squarepants.”
- So long, farewell? There are a few productions that could end their touring run after the 18-19 season. The one that seems more obvious is “Love Never Dies,” which is rumored to be transferring to Broadway. Other shows ending their touring run this season include “A Chorus Line,” and “The Color Purple.” And, having run the gauntlet, I wouldn’t be surprised if both “Finding Neverland” and “Something Rotten!” plays their final bows in the 18-19 season.