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Broadway San Diego announces return to touring theater shows in November

"Iron Chef" host Alton Brown in his live stage show
“Iron Chef” host Alton Brown in his touring stage show “Alton Brown: Beyond the Eats,” which will open Broadway San Diego’s 44th season on Nov. 14 at the Balboa Theatre.
(Courtesy of David Allen)

The first show of the 44th season will be Alton Brown’s culinary variety show on Nov. 14 at the Balboa Theatre

Thirteen months ago, San Diego’s live theater stages went dark. But today, Broadway San Diego became the first local theater organization to announce a return to indoor live performances with the unveiling of its 44th season.

The 15-show season, which stretches into spring 2023, will kick off Nov. 14 with a one-night-only performance of “Iron Chef” host Alton Brown’s free-wheeling culinary variety show at the Balboa Theatre.

The new season will incorporate four shows from the 2019-20 season that were postponed by the pandemic. The season lineup is chockablock with new musicals never seen in San Diego, including two that were Broadway’s hottest tickets before being forced to close in March 2020: Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Anaïs Mitchell’s “Hadestown.”

Most of these touring shows will be presented at Broadway San Diego’s longtime theatrical home, the 3,000-seat San Diego Civic Theatre. Although theater organizations are still negotiating COVID-safe rules for performers as required by Actor’s Equity, the rules for socially distant seating inside theaters are expected to be long gone by November. On April 6, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that as COVID cases fall and the state vaccination rates rise, he expects state business to be back to “business as usual” by June 15.

Vanessa Davis, general manager for Broadway San Diego, said she’s excited to be able to create an intact season with secure dates for both the postponed shows and the new ones that make up the 44th season.

“The health, wellness, and safety of our audiences, performers, staff, and all the behind-the-scenes team members will always at the front of our decision-making. We will keep our guests updated as things evolve,” Davis said, in an email.

Nationwide, many of these touring productions are slated to hit the road as early as September. For some producers, the tours are a good way to market shows whose Broadway runs were permanently cut short by the pandemic. One example is “Mean Girls,” a musical that will not reopen its Broadway production but will resume touring in the fall. It will play in San Diego in March 2023.

Here’s a look at Broadway San Diego’s 44th season. This list does not include two shows that have yet to be announced. All shows will take place at the Civic Theatre, unless otherwise noted. Subscriptions are now on sale. Single tickets will go on sale six to eight weeks before each show. Details at broadwaysd.com.

“Alton Brown: Beyond the Eats” (Nov. 14): Author and “Iron Chef” host Alton Brown hits the road with his all-ages culinary variety show that’s a mix of comedy, music, science-infused cooking demonstrations and audience interaction. Balboa Theatre.

“Hairspray” (Nov. 16-21): The Tony-winning musical about a plucky teen’s effort to integrate the city’s TV dance show in 1960s Baltimore returns in a new touring production directed by its original director, former Old Globe artistic director Jack O’Brien.

“My Fair Lady” (Nov. 30-Dec. 5): A holdover from the 2019-20 season, this new touring production features Lincoln Center’s 2019 revival production of Lerner and Loewe’s 1957 musical about a cockney flower girl who becomes a proper lady with the help of diction lessons.

“The Simon & Garfunkel Story” (Jan. 6, 2022): This concert-style theater show with video projections and a live band is the story of the Queens-born American folk-rock duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, who performed and recorded together from 1956 to 1970s. Balboa Theatre.

A photo from "The Band's Visit," coming to San Diego in March 2022.
A photo from the North American touring company of “The Band’s Visit,” which comes to San Diego in March 2022.
(Matthew Murphy)

“The Band’s Visit” (March 1-6, 2022): David Yazbek and Itamar Moses’s 2017 musical won six Tony Awards, including best musical, book and score. It’s based on the 2007 film about a touring band of musicians from an Egyptian police station who unexpectedly end up stranded in a remote Israeli town, where they’re treated with unexpected hospitality.

“Tootsie” (April 12-17, 2022): Based on the 1982 film about an out-of-work actor who dresses as a woman to land a soap opera role, this 2018 musical by David Yazbek and Robert Horn had a brief run on Broadway from April 2019 to January 2020. This is its first national tour.

“Rent 25th Anniversary Tour” (April 22-24, 2022): Originally an added event for the 2019-2020 season, this new touring edition of the musical was slated to launch last fall until the pandemic hit. Inspired by Puccini’s “La bohème,” the Jonathan Larson musical re-sets the story of starving artists from 19th-century Paris to AIDS-plagued 1990s New York.

“Come From Away” (May 17-22, 2022): Another holdover from the 2019-20 season, this Irene Sankoff-David Hein musical is making its first visit to San Diego since its 2015 premiere at La Jolla Playhouse. Playhouse artistic chief Christopher Ashley won a Tony Award for his direction of the fact-based musical about how residents in the small Canadian town of Gander fed and housed more than 7,000 stranded airline passengers when their planes were grounded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Amber Gray in "Hadestown" on Broadway.
Amber Gray in the Broadway production of “Hadestown.” A touring version of the musical will come to San Diego in May-June 2022.
(Matthew Murphy)

“Hadestown” (May 31-June 5, 2022): The winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards, including best musical, launches its first national tour this fall. Written by singer/songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, it’s a mashup of the two mythical tales of Orpheus and Eurydice and of King Hades and his wife, Persephone, in a post-apocalyptic setting.

“Pretty Woman: The Musical” (July 26-31, 2022): Inspired by the 1990 Julia Roberts film, this Bryan Adams/Jim Vallance/Garry Marshall/J.F. Lawton musical ran on Broadway from August 2018 to August 2019. It’s the story of a hooker with a heart of gold who wins the heart of her millionaire client. This will be the musical’s first San Diego visit.

A scene from a German production of "Pretty Woman: The Musical," which will arrive in San Diego in July 2022.
(Morris Mac Matzen)


“To Kill a Mockingbird” (Nov. 29-Dec. 4, 2022): Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s 2018 stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel was one of Broadway most successful shows before it shut down last March. Sorkin’s script is set mostly in the courtroom, where small-town lawyer Atticus Finch tries to defend his innocent Black client from a rape charge in 1930s Alabama.

“Mean Girls” (Feb. 28-March 5, 2023): Also held over from the 2019-20 season, this 2017 musical by Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin is based on Fey’s 2004 film. Directed by San Diego native Casey Nicholaw, it’s about a teen whose desire to be part of the popular crowd at her Illinois high school leads her to turn on her faithful, but unpopular, friends.

“1776" (May 9-14, 2023): Direct from American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University, this tour features director Diane Paulus’s reinterpretation of the Tony-winning 1969 Peter Stone/Sherman Edwards musical about the Founding Fathers’ creation of the Declaration of Independence. The show’s original Broadway opening was derailed by the pandemic last year. Now it’s slated to open in New York in spring 2022.


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