‘Hadestown,’ ‘Pretty Woman,’ ‘Tootsie’ top Broadway/San Diego touring season for 2020-21

Patrick Page and Amber Gray in the Broadway production of "Hadestown."
(Matthew Murphy)

Lineup also includes Cher musical and pre-Broadway production of a revived ‘1776’


Musicals are usually the meat and potatoes (or the heart and soul, to borrow from the Hoagy Carmichael tune) of Broadway/San Diego’s touring-show lineup.

In fact, it’s been more than 13 years since the local presenting arm of Broadway’s Nederlander Organization brought a non-musical play to town as part of its subscription season.

But that changes next year, when the San Diego Civic Theatre will host the much-heralded Broadway staging of “To Kill a Mockingbird” as part of Broadway/San Diego’s just-announced 2020-21 season.

Musical-theater partisans have nothing to worry about, though: Six Broadway musicals are also hitting town as part of the subscription slate — including the first San Diego visits of “Hadestown” and “The Band’s Visit,” the two most recent winners of the Tony Award for best musical.

Local audiences also will get their first looks at “The Cher Show,” “Pretty Woman,” “Tootsie” and a brand-new take on “1776.” And three additional musicals will land here as extra-season events.

Here’s a full look at what’s on the way:

Subscription season

“The Band’s Visit,” Sept. 8-13: Adapted from a 2007 independent film, this sleeper hit landed 10 Tony Awards in 2018. “The Band’s Visit” explores what happens when an Egyptian police band finds itself stranded in a remote Israeli village in 1996. The musical’s main creators both have ties to San Diego’s Old Globe: Writer Itamar Moses premiered his plays “The Four of Us” and “Back Back Back” as well as the musical “Nobody Loves You” at the Balboa Park institution, while composer David Yazbek also scored the Globe-launched Broadway shows “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “The Full Monty.”

“1776,” Oct. 6-11: Way before “Hamilton,” there was another musical that focused on the seismic events surrounding the American Revolution. Now, director Diane Paulus — who has made a specialty of resurrecting and reconceiving classic musicals, including “Hair” and “Pippin” — gives “1776” a fresh spin. Her production of the 1969-vintage show, which centers on the figure of John Adams (also a key player in “Hamilton”), was developed at Paulus’ American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass.; its tour is a run-up to a Broadway engagement, the first for “1776” in two decades.

“Hadestown,” Jan. 19-24, 2021: Writer-composer-lyricist Anaïs Mitchell’s folk-opera embrace of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice earned an impressive 14 Tony Award nominations last year, and won eight, including best musical. (Among its acting nominees was Old Globe associate artist Patrick Page.) Now “Hadestown” heads to San Diego — right on the heels of director (and Tony winner) Rachel Chavkin’s La Jolla Playhouse production of the new musical “Lempicka.”

“The Cher Show,” March 16-21, 2021: She may only need one word for a name, but Cher needs three people to play her — at least in this musical look at the life and times of the fab singer-actor. As with the recent, La Jolla Playhouse-launched Broadway show “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” a trio of performers share the title role. The piece, written by Rick Elice of the Playhouse-bred megahit “Jersey Boys,” had a six-month Broadway run and won a Tony for Stephanie J. Block.

“Tootsie,” May 11-16, 2021: Dustin Hoffman made an icon of the title character in the original 1982 movie — that of a struggling (male) actor posing as a woman to find work. Now, a reconceived, musicalized version of the story hits the road after a nine-month Broadway run that closed earlier this month. The score is by David Yazbek (again!); Robert Horn won a Tony for his story adaptation.

“Pretty Woman,” June 1-6, 2021: The movie that made Julia Roberts a star arrives on the musical stage (dicey gender politics and all) in this adaptation helmed by the top director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell. The show managed a yearlong Broadway run; it has songs by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance,and a book by J.F. Lawton and the late Garry Marshall, who directed the original 1990 film about the budding relationship between a wealthy businessman and the hooker he hires as a weeklong companion.

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” June 22-27, 2021: Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Harper Lee novel stirred some controversy but sold seats like crazy on Broadway, under the direction of the onetime San Diego theater maverick Bartlett Sher. The story of a principled Southern lawyer, his precocious daughter and a fight for justice (and against bigotry) will be the first non-musical play to join the Broadway/San Diego touring season since “Doubt” in 2006.

Extra-season events

“Disney’s The Lion King,” Aug. 12-30: A repeat visitor to town but still a visual sensation, the Disney favorite reimagines the 1994 animated film under Julie Taymor’s direction, with songs by Elton John.

“Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” Nov. 24-29: The holiday favorite, produced locally in the past by San Diego Musical Theatre, is based on the beloved 1954 movie, and spotlights such classic Berlin compositions as “Sisters,” “Count Your Blessings” and the title tune.

“Les Misérables,” March 2-7, 2021: “Les Miz” never quite goes out of style; producer Cameron Mackintosh’s latest staging of the piece returns to town, with visuals inspired by the paintings of novelist Victor Hugo.