How's this for major musical theater names in one season: Jule Styne, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Stephen Sondheim, Charles Strouse, Stephen Schwartz, Joseph Stein and Arthur Laurents? And that's just three of the four shows on Lyric Stage's 2011-'12 season, its 19th.
Lyric, which began with a mission to dig up lost treasures of musical theater and find new gems, has lately been sticking to its preservation mission, doing the warhorses with original orchestrations and full orchestras. The '11/'12 season will be bookended by two of the most important 20th century musicals—Gypsy and Oklahoma!—with two other treasures in the middle: Charles Strouse's Rags and a concert version of the 1953 classic Kismet, which isn't revived so often these days.
All of them will have a full orchestra, and will be presented in the larger Carpenter Performance Hall in the Irving Arts Center.
Here's the scoop:
- Gypsy, based on story of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Arthur Laurents. Local star Julie Johnson will play one of the most famous and demanding roles in musicaldom: Mama Rose. This will be only the second title in Lyric's history that it will have repeated (the other was Jones/Schmidt's 110 in the Shade). Lyric first did Gypsy in 1999. Sept. 9-18, 2011
- Rags is the 1986 musical with lyrics by Charles Strouse (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie), lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Wicked) and book by Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof), that had a very short run on Broadway. It began previews on Aug. 4 that year, opened on Aug. 21 and closed two days later. The show, about a Russian immigrant who arrives at Ellis Island and the life she makes for herself in New York, received indifferent reviews for its Broadway premiere. Strouse wanted Lyric to produce a revival after he saw the group's 2010 full-orchestra production of Bye Bye Birdie, which fortuitously coincided with Dallas Theater Center's revival of It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman! Oct. 28-Nov. 6
- Kismet in Concert, the 1953 Tony-winning musical about a poet and his daughter in Baghdad, around the time of the Arabian Nights story. With music by Alexander Borodin, musical adaptation and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest, book by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis. It won Tony Awards in 1954 for Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical (Alfred Drake), and there was a film in 1955. Its best-known song is "Stranger in Paradise." Jan. 26-29, 2012
- Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1943 groundbreaking Oklahoma!, widely considered the most important work of musical theater. June 14-24, 2012
Season tickets are on sale now. Call 972-252-2787 or visit www.LyricStage.org.