Pioneer Theatre Company's new artistic director, Karen Azenberg, will launch her inaugural season this fall with the Utah premiere of the acclaimed Latin-pop sensation "In the Heights."
The upcoming season also includes the epic musical "Les Miserables," making a return to the theater, as well as the Utah premiere of the provocative "Clybourne Park" -- winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
"For my first season, I wanted to include all the different types of theater I love: musicals both old and new, two very different but wonderful comedies, a fascinating and topical new play and a moving classic," Azenberg said in a press release. "There's something for everyone in this season."
The theater's seven-play season, announced today, May 1, also includes "Of Mice and Men," "A Christmas Carol: The Musical," "The Philadelphia Story" and "The Odd Couple."
* "In the Heights" -- Sept. 14-29
The musical, with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and book by Quiara Alegria, was the winner of the 2008 Tony Award for best musical and best score, and the 2009 Pulitzer for drama. With an energetic and bouncy score, the musical follows three generations of Latino immigrants living in New York's Washington Heights. The characters dream of succeeding in America, while at the same time holding onto their culture and heritage.
* "Of Mice and Men" -- Oct. 19-Nov. 3
In the timeless American classic by John Steinbeck, two Depression-era farmhands travel from ranch to ranch looking for work, dreaming of owning their own place. The characters Lennie and George first stepped onto the stage more than 75 years ago and have since entered into the American consciousness as mythic characters. Steinbeck's tragic story -- taught to generations of American high school students -- is a powerful fable about the human impulse to make, and hold onto, spiritual connections with our fellow men. The play contains some strong language.
* "A Christmas Carol: The Musical" -- Nov. 30-Dec. 15
The musical version of the holiday classic was written by Alan Menken, the eight-time Oscar-winning composer of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid." This singing-and-dancing version of Charles Dickens' Christmas classic provides a fresh look at the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghostly visits he receives one Christmas Eve.
* "The Philadelphia Story" -- Jan. 11-26
This romantic comedy by Philip Barry has charmed generations of theatergoers, according to the press release. Tracy Lord is young, beautiful, sophisticated, fabulously wealthy and about to marry a person she thinks is the man of her dreams. But when her dashing ex-husband and the two reporters assigned to cover her wedding descend on her family's opulent country house outside Philadelphia the day before the ceremony, Tracy has a hard time keeping her nuptials -- not to mention the dictates of her own heart -- on track.
* Clybourne Park -- Feb. 15-March 2
The play by Bruce Norris won the 2011 Pulitzer for drama. Variety described the show as "dangerous and provocative, but pulverizingly funny to boot." The press release describes the play as a fascinating, insightful and often brutally funny look at the way people talk about -- or avoid talking about -- race in America. When a white couple wants to buy a home in the gentrifying, all-black neighborhood of Clybourne Park, Chicago, they unknowingly re-enact the same tense drama, fraught with miscommunications and barely suppressed hostility, that occurred 50 years earlier in the same house. The play contains strong language.
* "The Odd Couple" -- March 22-April 6
The laughs never stop in this iconic comedy by Neil Simon. After their thoroughly fed-up wives throw them out, sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison and uptight neat freak Felix Unger decide to move in together, thinking they'll save on expenses and have a few laughs. It turns out the laughs are on them.
* "Les MisÃ©rables" -- May 3-June 1, 2013
In 2007, Pioneer Theatre Company's production of "Les MisÃ©rables" played for 10 sold-out weeks. The theater will once again close out its season with an extended run of the Tony-winning musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel SchÃ¶nberg, with lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Victor Hugo's story of Jean Valjean -- an escaped prisoner who redeems his life through selfless acts of love -- has thrilled millions of theatergoers all over the world.
To purchase season tickets, which range from $84 to $307, visit www.pioneertheatre.org., call 801-581-6961 or visit the theater's box office, 300 S. 1400 East, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Tickets for individual shows will go on sale at a later date, yet to be announced.