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‘Hamilton,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Hadestown’ top Smith Center Broadway lineup

Updated January 30, 2020 - 4:35 pm

“Hamilton” is coming back.

The Tony Award-winning musical will make its second run in Las Vegas as part of The Smith Center’s 2020-21 Broadway lineup.

And for Myron Martin, president and CEO of The Smith Center, the return is not just a testament to “Hamilton’s” staying power, but to Las Vegas’ growing importance as a stop on a Broadway tour.

In a lineup boasting shows returning and new — including one that nabbed The Smith Center a Tony statue of its own — Martin says the upcoming season reflects the performing arts center’s reputation.

“I take it as a suggestion that Broadway has really embraced The Smith Center as one of the go-to venues on the road,” Martin said.

Much of the credit for that reputation goes to audience members, who customarily are not shy about jumping to their feet when they see something they like.

“Actors talk about how loving and appreciative audiences are,” Martin said. “And how nice it is to come to The Smith Center and be treated so nicely. We have great audiences. With this season upon us, I expect to see many standing ovations.”

In addition to “Hamilton,” Disney’s “Frozen” is anticipated to ignite an excitement all its own — although a decidedly younger one.

The Tony-nominated Best Musical features songs such as “Let It Go” from the original Oscar-winning animated film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters.

“I can’t say enough about ‘Frozen,’ “ Martin said. “And it’s such an iconic work, I’m not sure I need to say anything at all.”

“Frozen” is one of three film-to-stage productions in this year’s lineup, including “Tootsie” and “A Christmas Story: The Musical.”

In its first season touring, the winner of eight Tony Awards, “Hadestown,” will come to Las Vegas.

Through the Independent Presenters Network, The Smith Center financially invested in the musical that intertwines the mythology of Hades and Persephone with that of Orpheus and Eurydice. That investment entitled them to their own Best Musical Tony statue.

“We don’t want to appear boastful or suggest that we deserve credit for that piece of art; all credit goes to the creative team,” Martin said. “But we’re thrilled to have been given an opportunity to go on this ride, even in a teeny tiny way.”

The new musical is a tragedy about trying. It follows Orpheus on his journey to the underworld and back again in a Great Depression-era setting amid a driving blues-inspired score.

“We invest in a few shows a year. You never know which will be big hits,” Martin said. “I did know that ‘Hadestown’ had absolute integrity, that the work was extraordinary and the music is compelling.”

The only nonmusical of the lineup is a story that should be familiar to most audiences, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter behind “The West Wing” and “The Social Network,” adapts Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel into a timely stage production.

Sorkin’s writing re-examines the story, framing the narrative of Scout and Atticus Finch in a way that will still surprise those who remember reading it in high school.

“Every once in a while, something happens that knocks you out,” Martin said about the play. “It doesn’t happen often that a really great play finds its way on the road. We’re fortunate to be one of the cities to bring it to our performing arts center.”

Two productions this season take inspiration from real people who have previously graced Las Vegas theaters.

“The Cher Show” is 35 songs, six decades and an unquantifiable number of sequins in one musical about the pop megastar, while “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations” follows the Motown singing group’s journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“I have conversations in the lobby with ticket-holders and they tell me what they want to see,” Martin said. “Some go to New York, some see one performance on the ‘Today’ show. Patrons have brought up all nine of these. I think this will be a season to judge other seasons by.”

This story was updated to correct the number of film-to-stage productions.

Contact Janna Karel at jkarel@reviewjournal.ocm. Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

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