B’way in Indy season includes ‘Once,’ ‘Newsies,’ and the return of ‘Mormon’

With two shows still to come in its 2014/15 season ("Joseph etc." and "Dirty Dancing"), Broadway in Indianapolis has announced its 2015/16 schedule. And it promises to be an improvement.

The highlight: We are finally getting "Once," the outstanding, Tony-winning musical about a Dublin street musician and the woman who takes an interest in his songs. I hosted an IBJ A&E Road Trip to see the tour when it played Chicago and have been hoping since then that Indianapolis audiences would have a chance to see it. I think it would be better suited for the Murat stage, but Clowes Hall will have it Feb, 9-14.

Also coming to Indy for the first time is "Newsies," Disney's surprise hit adaptation of the less-than-successful movie. (It also was the prime competition for "Once" at the 2012 Tony Awards. Here, Clowes Hall better meets the requirements for its tribe of paper-selling dancers. It plays March 15-20.

The season opens with "Cirque Dreams Holidaze," Dec. 15-20 at the Murat. I'll bypass the press release and offer Chicago theater critic Chris Jones' description: "…a way-over-the-top combination of one of those old Osmond Family Christmas specials, a Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated Christmas show, and the kind of Eastern European circus you might find in the center of Kiev…" No, it has never played Broadway.

Jan. 12-17 brings "The Wizard of Oz" to Clowes Hall. Perhaps you know the story. This one's got six new Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice songs plus a rewritten book (including a minor twist at the end).

"The Book of Mormon" returns to the Murat April 12-17 for a non-subscription week.

The season ends with another return. "The Phantom of the Opera" is back at the Murat with new sets, costumes, and choreography May 4-15.

Season tickets go on sale April 16. Single tickets usually go on sale 4-6 weeks before opening.

Audio signing is scheduled for Sunday evening performances, which should be particularly interesting for "The Book of Mormon."

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