Drury Lane Oakbrook Announces 2014-2015 Season

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How do you celebrate a 30th anniversary? If you are the Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre you put together a subscription series comprised of four high-profile musicals — “Les Miserables,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” “Camelot,” and “West Side Story” — and then, just for a bit of variety, you toss a new whodunit (“The Game’s Afoot”) into the mix.

Here is the complete lineup for Drury Lane’s 2014-2015 season:

± “Les Miserables” (March 29-June 8, 2014): Rachel Rockwell (“The Sound of Music,” “Ragtime,” “Oliver!” and a slew of others) will direct this sweeping musical with a score by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg (with English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer). Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, and covering three turbulent decades in 19th century France, it is the story of Jean Valjean, the convict who remakes his life, and his nemesis, the policeman Javert, who pursues him relentlessly. Seen by more than 65 million people in more than 42 countries (not counting the recent film version), this show is considered the world’s longest-running musical.

± “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (June 19-Aug. 17, 2014): Scott Calcagno will direct this ingenious, playfully interactive musical comedy about six quirky, overachieving adolescents pitted against each other in the spelling challenge of a lifetime. The witty score is the work of William Finn, and the show has an exceptionally clever, Tony Award-winning book by Rachel Sheinkin.

± “The Game’s Afoot” (Aug. 28-Oct. 19, 2014): Directed by William Osetek (who stage the Drury Lane “Spamalot”), this “drawing-room mystery” by Ken Ludwig (of “Lend Me a Tenor” fame), was named Best Play at the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Awards. Set in December, 1936, it finds Broadway star William Gillette, renowned for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, hosting a weekend party for his fellow cast-members at his lavish Connecticut castle. When one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in the isolated house quickly turn dangerous. It is up to Gillette to assume the persona of his beloved Holmes and track down the killer before the next victim appears.

± “Camelot” (Oct. 30-Jan. 4, 2014): New York-based director Alan Souza will stage this revival of the 1960 Lerner and Loewe classic inspired by the T.H. White novel about King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable. Featuring such songs as “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “Camelot” and “How to Handle a Woman,” the show tells of the triangular love affair among King Arthur, Queen Guenevere and Sir Lancelot.

± “West Side Story” (Jan. 15-March 15, 2015): Director Rachel Rockwell returns to direct this Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim classic that spins the Romeo and Juliet story by way of the rivalry between the white and Puerto Rican gangs of New York’s Upper West Side in the late 1950s. Its score, infused with a Latin and jazz beat, includes such gems as “Somewhere,” “Tonight,” “I Feel Pretty,” and “America.” Its use of dance as a means of telling a story remains iconic.

For tickets (subscriptions start at $135) call (630) 530-0111 or visit www.drurylane.com.

EMAIL: hweiss@suntimes.com

TWITTER: @HedyWeissCritic

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