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Arts & Culture

'Mean Girls,' 'The Band's Visit' highlight Shea's new Broadway season

Shea's theater goers will be able to travel the world next year, from the plains of the Sinai Desert and the Rock of Newfoundland to Paris and the Russian Empire - and, ultimately, Margaritaville. Several thousand subscribers cheered at the landmark theater Tuesday night, as the season's Broadway shows were announced.Shea's Broadway theater season has been so successful in recent years, it is adding a seventh show. And this season is already so popular, tickets had to be cut off at 18,500 subscribers.

Credit Matthew Murphy / Shea's
"The Band's Visit" comes to Buffalo after 10 Tony wins on Broadway.

The Shea's season opens in high school, with the musical "Mean Girls," which will prepare for a national tour with several weeks in the theater before becoming the first show of New York's Broadway season. If you expect some kids around Christmas, look for "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical." That is right after a visit from "Les Miserables."

Also part of the season is "The Band's Visit," the winner of 10 Tony Awards in 2018 including Best Musical. It tells the story of an Egyptian police band stranded in a remote village in the middle of the Israeli desert who are taken in by some locals.

Broadway Partner-Producer Albert Nocciolino said it is not easy to put a season together.

Credit Shea's
"Les Miserables" makes a return to Shea's this season.

"We look for balance," he said. "We want the best of Broadway and, if you look up there, there's four brand new shows. We want classics. There's "Hello Dolly!" And we want family shows and we try to put together that classic. Our goal is to take care of our subscribers who are traditional theater goers, shows that can bring young people into the theater and classics, because Buffalo seems to like classics. Every Broadway show on the road wants to be in Buffalo."

Credit Shea's
"Jesus Christ Superstar" is one of those classics coming to Shea's.

Shea's President Michael Murphy said the smaller theaters also will be very busy, with five productions at the 710 Theatre, including five theater companies putting together "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." There will also be seven shows in the Shea's Smith Theatre, staged by Second Generation Theatre and O'Connell & Company.

Murphy said it is a diversity sought by patrons.

Credit Shea's
Children will enjoy "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" The Musical."

"What I find is that people in Buffalo like to experience theater in all different ways, different types of theater in different spaces, produced by different artistic directors and creative teams," Murphy said. "So they like coming to Shea's for a a big Broadway show, but they also like the small intimate spaces in experiencing a variety of plays, musicals, works that are being developed. There are a lot of opportunities and Buffalo really likes to take advantage of them."

Here is the schedule for the 2018-19 Shea's Broadway Season and special engagements:

Mean Girls
September 21-28, 2019

Come from Away
October 15-20, 2019

Jersey Boys
November 14-17, 2019

Les Misérables
December 10-15, 2019

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
December 19-22, 2019

Jesus Christ Superstar – 50th Anniversary Tour
February 11-16, 2020

Hello, Dolly!
March 10-15, 2020

The Band’s Visit
April 14-19, 2020

May 5-10, 2020

Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville
June 2-7, 2020

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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