ASU Gammage Executive Director Colleen Jennings-Rogensack made some tough decisions when she chose the new 2012-2013 season for Gammage Auditorium.
But Jennings-Rogensack felt she has the right mix of shows for the upcoming season.
“We are a landmark theater, so we wanted Broadway productions that are going to stand out in everyone’s minds,” she said. “I know how smart our community is and a lot of our folks are on top of what’s happening on Broadway.”
Jennings-Rogensack said expect some classics and some contemporary shows, but “it’ll also be a place to take the family.” This includes the revival of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” and movie musicals “Sister Act” and “Flashdance: The Musical.”
But she does want to answer one question for theatergoers first.
“No, ‘The Book of Mormon’ isn’t coming this season because they’re booked, but don’t worry because they will be here,” she said with a laugh.
One of the most anticipated productions of the season for Jennings-Rogensack is “War Horse,” which recently had a film adaptation by Steven Spielberg.
“War Horse” is a play based on the children’s novel of the same name and revolves around a young boy who enlists in the army during World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. The Broadway production is still running and won five Tony Awards.
“Last year, we didn’t have a single play on the season because it’s hard to sell plays, so I’m so enthusiastic about this one,” she said. “We really need to get more good plays on the road because they’re just as enjoyable as musicals.”
In addition, the story of “War Horse” uses large, intricate puppets for the horses.
“While it’s not Sesame Street and definitely for older kids, this show is a huge spectacle that’s pleasing to the eyes,” she said. “But most importantly, it’s about love getting you through some of the most horrific things.”
“Peter Pan” will see the return of Cathy Rigby, a former Olympic gymnast who has performed the title role for several times for at least 20 years.
Rigby and her husband own the rights to the show and recently sold out Madison Square Garden with this production of “Peter Pan.”
“It’s such a captivating show, and the fact that Cathy Rigby still has it, is unbelievable,” she said. “The kids are really going to love the musical.”
Jennings-Rogensack is pleased to have “Memphis” in the new season. The musical, which won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical, features a story about a white DJ who falls in love with a black female singer at the height of racism.
“Here’s a ‘little musical that could’ that deals with the issues of today and has a strong cast and fabulous dancing,” said Jennings-Rogensack, the sole Tony voter in Arizona.
She’s also looking forward to seeing audiences’ reaction to “Flashdance: The Musical,” which is touring first then heads to Broadway later in the season.
“I was a skeptic at first, but the show really takes you back to the film and beyond,” she said. “We have a great lineup that I know everyone will love.”