See also: The Five Best Bald Actors on DFW Stages
The circle of life for Dallas Summer Musicals is to find big shows based on popular movies and bring them back to the Music Hall at Fair Park season after season. Why else would they book return visits of The Lion King and Mary Poppins among the seven shows just announced for 2013? Six of the seven shows were derived from films (two by Disney); three shows have been here before. The final production this season is the national tour of The Addams Family, based on the 1960s TV comedy, running during the State Fair of Texas this fall.
Here's what's coming next year:
Catch Me if You Can, February 12-24, 2013: Based on the 2002 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the musical presents the true-life exploits of young Frank Abagnale Jr., a con man who masqueraded as an airline pilot, doctor and lawyer before serving prison time for fraud. He was sprung early to go to work for the FBI, helping them bust guys like him. The Broadway production ran only seven months and got so-so reviews, but won a Best Actor in a Musical Tony for star Norbert Leo Butz (who won't be in the cast coming here).
Mary Poppins, March 20-30: A second visit to the Music Hall at Fair Park for this one. Spoonful of sugar? This kid-friendly show is so full of sweet stuff, it'll make your teeth itch.
Wicked, April 10-May 5: DSM chief Michael Jenkins swears this is the most requested musical in his poll of patrons. So he's hauling back the witches, Munchkins and flying monkeys for a fourth go-round. It is one of the great Broadway hits (it's still running there). If you saw any of the previous tours that came to Dallas, you'd have seen actress Stephanie J. Block, now a big Broadway star (she's prepping the New York revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood), as Elphaba, and Smash star Megan Hilty as Glinda.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Musical, May 14-26. Based on the 1994 indie film about three drag performers and the pink bus, nicknamed Priscilla, they drive across the Australian outback, this musical is the new Mamma Mia! - light on plot and packed with bouncy pop and disco tunes including "It's Raining Men," "Material Girl," "Colour My World," "I Will Survive" and "MacArthur Park." Dallas Summer Musicals and Bette Midler (among others) co-produced it for Broadway, where it ran for a year, after a two-year run in London and a preview run in Toronto. The national tour will include the $2.3 million bus used on the Broadway stage.
Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy, June 4-16: Another musical spawned from an old hit movie - the one that had Whoopi Goldberg going into hiding in a convent, where she taught the resident penguins to sing Motown - with an original score by Beauty and the Beast composer Alan Menken.
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Flashdance, The Musical, June 25-July 7. Not to be confused with Flashdance, the ripped-sweatshirt-trend-causing movie from 1983. This one hasn't been to Broadway yet. If the national tour sells tickets, it might go there after it plays here. The cheerleader musical Bring It On did that successfully this year.
The Lion King, October 2-20: Gorgeous puppets, elaborate masks, fabulous choreography and a decent score by Elton John and Tim Rice keep this one evergreen. It's at least the second time this show's come to Dallas. Maybe the third.
Final word: Given the lag time between movies and Broadway productions, in around 2033 you'll see musical versions of The Help (oh, please), Rango and The Hangover.
For season subscriptions to Dallas Summer Musicals, call 214-346-3300 or go to www.dallassummermusicals.org.