At the very moment its newest production, a bravura “re-imagining” of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” is burning up the Drury Lane Theatre’s stage in Oakbrook Terrace, the company has announced its 2017-2018 season.
It will include: The dance-and-crime-filled “‘Chicago”; the Pulitzer-winning drama “The Gin Game,” starring John Reeger and Paula Scrofano (the veteran Chicago actors who are real-life husband-and-wife); “Rock of Ages,” the jukebox musical full of glam-rock standards of the 1980s; that old-fashioned tap dance spectacle “42nd Street,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” the early Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber show based on Bible stories.
Here are the details:
• “Chicago” (March 30 – June 11): Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse (based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins), music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The tale of gangland Chicago vixens Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, the show features such hits as “Cell Block Tango,” “When You’re Good to Mama” and “We Both Reached for the Gun.” It will be directed by Drury Lane Theatre’s artistic director, William Osetek, with choreography by Jane Lanier, the Tony-nominated student of Bob Fosse. (Recommended for ages 13 and up.)
• “The Gin Game” (June 22 – Aug. 22): Winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, D.L. Coburn’s two-act, two-character drama in the form of a card game is about Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, who strike up an acquaintance and begin to play gin rummy. As the game progresses, intimate secrets of their lives are revealed and they begin to search for each other’s weaknesses in both the game and life itself. Veteran Chicago actor Robbie Lehman will direct. (Recommended for ages 13 and up.)
• “Rock of Ages” (Aug. 24 – Oct. 15, 2917): Book by Chris D’Arienzo, arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp. The musical, receiving its regional theater premiere at Drury Lane, features 28 classic 1980s hits from Bon Jovi, Journey, Styx, Pat Benatar, Poison, REO Speedwagon and more. It follows aspiring rock star Drew and small-town girl Sherri as they fight to save Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. Scott Weinstein, the 2015 Joseph Jefferson Award winner for his superb Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre staging of “Rent,” will direct. (Recommended for ages 13 and up.)
• “42nd Street” (Oct. 26 – Dec. 21, 2017): Music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble (based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and the Hollywood film). Originally staged on Broadway by Gower Champion, this tap dance-infused classic charts the “overnight success” of aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer, who gets the chance of a lifetime in a Depression-era Broadway musical. The score includes such songs as “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.” The creative team and cast will be announced at a later date. (For all audiences.)
• “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (Jan. 18 – March 25, 2018): Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The saga of Israel’s favorite son, Joseph, and his coat of many colors features an exuberant score spanning multiple styles from calypso to rock ‘n’ roll, including such hits as “Go, Go, Go Joseph,” “Jacob and Sons,” “Close Every Door” and “Any Dream Will Do.” It will be directed by Alan Souza, who reimagined “Camelot” for Drury Lane in 2014. (Recommended for audiences ages 5 and up.)
Subscriptions for the 2017 – 2018 Season ($145 to $175) will go on sale beginning in January 2017. Subscribers receive special offers on dining, flexible ticket exchanges and early notification and priority seating for added events and concerts. For more information, visit DruryLaneTheatre.com. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and senior citizens start at $37 for matinees. Dinner and show packages are also available. For individual ticket on-sale dates and ticket reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at (630) 530-0111 or Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.