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Everything Local Theater Fans Should Have on Their Radar Next Year

Friends gets the musical parody treatment at the Majestic. We fully expect to hear "Smelly Cat."
Friends gets the musical parody treatment at the Majestic. We fully expect to hear "Smelly Cat." Getty/Handout
Broadway isn’t getting any cheaper, and the percentage of avid musical fans who get to see new shows during their initial run on Broadway is relatively slim. It’s an issue of access that has plagued the musical theater industry since its inception; sadly, none of the pandemic shutdowns changed anything. While some shows have had recorded versions of live performances showing on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+ and Apple TV+, the majority of these shows are exclusively for New York audiences.

That said, North Texas is blessed with extremely talented musicians, performers and creators. The regional theater scene has a vibrant musical community, with theaters that host both touring shows and local productions. If you’re looking to cut costs but still have an enjoyable evening, consider attending or donating to a high school or college production. You never know where you might end up seeing the next Jonathan Groff or Lin Manuel Miranda. The year 2023 promises a lot of new opportunities for theater fans. Here are some of the shows we’re most excited to see next year.

The Dimension of Death!

Dec. 29, 2022 – Jan. 22, 2023
The Charles W. Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts, Richardson

Pegasus Theater offers a truly unique performance experience: its “living black-and-white” mystery comedies that utilize brilliant lighting and costuming techniques to capture the essence of a classic sleuth adventure. The show The Dimension of Death! has been running for 17 years, with writer and former star Kurt Kleinmann writing a new installment in the ongoing adventures of the oafish detective Harry Hunsacker.

Disney’s The Lion King

Jan. 18–29
Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth

Let’s do our best to erase the images of Disney’s “live-action” remake of The Lion King, which, for the record, was shot completely on a green screen. The Lion King works much better as a stage show, as the world and creatures come to life in stunning costumes and memorable songs. Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth will bring Simba and company to life in January.

Legally Blonde: The Musical
Jan. 19–21
Winspear Opera House

After years of speculation, Legally Blonde 3 starring Reese Witherspoon is set to debut on Disney+ around next holiday season. If that’s too long to wait for all you Elle Woods fans, check out the delightful musical edition of the show scheduled for the Winspear next month.

Pretty Woman: The Musical

Jan. 24 – Feb. 5
Music Hall at Fair Park

Last year, it seemed like Julia Roberts was finally having a comeback with her roles in the romantic-comedy Ticket to Paradise and the historical drama Gaslit. What better way to celebrate her return to prominence than seeing one of her most most career-defining roles come to life in musical form? With a book by director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J. F. Lawton, the musical has an original score by Bryan Adams and, of course, "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison. The only thing it's missing? The gravitas of actor Hector Elizondo.

Friends: The Musical Parody
Feb. 1
Majestic Theatre

As much as detractors may claim that it’s overrated or hasn’t aged well, Friends continues to be one of the most popular shows ever; Netflix subscribers were heartbroken when the series was dropped and headed over to its new home on HBO Max. Lifelong fans may have binged the entire series multiple times, but this fun musical tribute lets Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey break out into song with a lot of great references to classic episodes.

Moulin Rouge!: The Musical
March 15 – April 2
Music Hall at Fair Park

One of Broadway’s biggest hits is heading to Dallas. Similar to the 2001 film, Moulin Rouge!: The Musical incorporates modern music within a historical setting, and new additions to the musical soundtrack include everything from the Rolling Stones to Lady GaGa.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

March 17 – April 2
1210 E. Main St., No. 300, Allen

Allen’s Contemporary Theatre has a packed schedule next year, but of all its upcoming shows, we have our eye on this peculiar dark comedy. The story for The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time follows a 15-year-old brainiac who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. It's rated R, so it doesn’t sound like this will be The Hardy Boys.

April 6–8
Winspear Opera House

You’ve got Russian history on your mind, right? If you want to skip the perils of modern Russian politics, check out this delightful musical romance based on the 1997 animated film of the same name. Anastasia was originally released by 20th Century Fox, so with the acquisition by Disney, does that make Anastasia a new Disney Princess? That’s someone you may not expect to see walking around the block at Animal Kingdom.

April 18–30
Music Hall at Fair Park

Dustin Hoffman’s performance in Tootsie is one of the all-time greats, but not everything about the original film necessarily holds up to today’s standards. Sexism is a strong theme in a lot of our most beloved comedy films from the 1980s. However, Tootsie the musical does a great job reinventing the story with a more layered perspective, so check out the new edition when it heads to Fair Park in the spring.

Fiddler on the Roof
May 11–13
Winspear Opera House

Fiddler on The Roof is beloved for a reason, and you owe it to yourself to see it at least once in your life. It’s a long show, so plan accordingly and skip the soda during the intermission. There’s no better way to experience the heart-wrenching musical numbers than on the beautiful stage of the Winspear Opera House.

To Kill a Mockingbird
May 16–28
Music Hall at Fair Park

Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most powerful stories ever written, and it’s sadly as relevant today as when it was released and later adapted as a film starring Gregory Peck. See this gripping adapted version of the story when it comes to Fair Park; it’s the perfect environment to watch this important narrative. The new version of the play that debuted on Broadway was written by Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing and The Social Network.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.

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