TPAC Broadway 2013-14: ‘Jersey Boys’ Back, ‘War Horse’ Gallops In

Musical City

From old favorites like the phenomenal Jersey Boys to brilliant new experiences like War Horse, Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s 2013-14 HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC Series promises something for everyone as it has for the past three decades.

The slate was announced Tuesday at a Season Announcement Party.

“Everywhere you look Nashville is turning heads and making headlines, and we’re proud of the role TPAC plays in the thriving and vibrant creative community that is receiving such well-deserved attention,” says TPAC President and Chief Executive Officer Kathleen O’Brien. “Each season, our goal is to provide audiences with the best of Broadway’s cutting-edge storytelling, family-friendly entertainment, and pop culture-filled blockbusters. We begin and end next season with two of the most awarded Broadway productions in recent memory, one of which is returning to Nashville and a debut show we’ve been pursuing for some time. It’s a season packed with new musicals, long-awaited returns, and some of the most jaw-dropping artistry being presented on stage. We can’t wait to share it with you.”

Jersey BoysJersey Boys 1JERSEY BOYS
October 29 to November 3

In 2009 I wrote after seeing this show, “I like films and TV but Jersey Boys reminds me why I’ll always love theater.” I still feel the same way about this affectionate and honest look at Frankie Valli, Nashville resident Bob Gaudio and their Four Seasons bandmates Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito. The songs (“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Working My Way Back to You” and “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” ) and the story by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise make this an incredible experience. If you’ve seen it, go again; if not, go in October! (


We Will Rock YouWe Will Rock You 1WE WILL ROCK YOU
November 12 to November 17

This music of Queen and a book by comedic genius/writer Ben Elton (“Black Adder” among so many other projects) opened at London’s Dominion Theatre in 2002 and is still going strong in the West End. It should make for an interesting experience both for those who grew up hearing the late Freddie Mercury and his bandmates as well as those who want to know what it will be like, to borrow from the creators of this production, to see a story set to that music where “Everywhere, the kids watch the same movies, wear the same fashions and think the same thoughts. It’s a safe, happy, Ga Ga world. Unless you’re a rebel. Unless you want to Rock. On Planet Mall all the musical instruments are banned. The Company Computers generate tunes and everybody downloads them. It is an age of Boy Bands and of Girl Bands. Of Boy and Girl Bands. Of Girl Bands with a couple of boys in them that look like girls anyway. Nothing is left to chance, hits are scheduled years in advance.” Hmmmm… (


GhostGhost the MusicalGHOST
February 25 to March 2

The 1990 film with the late Patrick Swazye, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg is now a musical about the power of love adapted for stage by Bruce Joel Rubin. They loved it in London, now it comes touring in America. (


Sister ActSister Act 1SISTER ACT
March 11 to March 16

More Whoopi Goldberg film-to-theater fun is on the way with the Cheri Steinkellner-Bill Steinkellner-Douglas Carter Beane-Alan Menken-Glenn Slater 2006 musical based on the 1992 film comedy of the same name. Reviews on Broadway were pretty good and audiences there enjoyed it, so this might be a pleasing night out not only for those who liked the movie but others who just want some rollicking fun. (


Million Dollar QuartetMillion Dollar Quartet 1MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
May 6 to May 11

Tuesday December 4, 1956 in the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tenn.: Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash in a impromptu jam session. Can you imagine? Well, it was a historical event that Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott made into what’s called a “jukebox musical.” Between the music and imagined goings-on no one will be lonesome tonight when this tour hits town. (


War HorseWar Horse 1WAR HORSE
June 3 to June 8

Believe me, even if you saw Stephen Speilberg’s film version you are in for a real treat when this stage show based on the 1982 novel by  Michael Morpurgo hits town. Look at the picture above and you’ll see a reason why: puppeted horses actually ridden by actors! And the story first presented by the National Theatre of Great Britain in London is a powerful reminder not only of the bond between humans and the animals they love but how live theater can still electrify us in this age of technology. (


2013-14 Broadway Specials

Beauty and the BeastDisney's Beauty and the BeastDISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
September 24 to September 29

“Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast.” Families love this show, and if I need to tell you about this tale and Disney magic you’ve apparently been living under a rock. Kids of all ages can enjoy this one. (


WickedWicked 1WICKED

March 26 to April 20

A long run for the reappearance of Wicked in Nashville – fine with me and a lot of folks who have enjoyed this Stephen Schwartz treatment of the “Wizard of Oz” prequel since its 2003 premiere in New York. Inventive, great music and wonderful effects – enough said. And through Kristin Chenoweth isn’t in this tour let’s watch a clip of her from the “Popular” number anyway to get you in the mood: (


Special Add-ons

Studio Tenn's A Christmas CarolChristmas Carol 7STUDIO TENN’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL

December 12 to December 22

Okay, for anyone who’s told me, “I’ve heard great things about Studio Tenn; I wish they were doing shows in Nashville” now’s your chance to put up or shut up. This fine company has been wowing audiences down in Franklin since 2009 with shows at Franklin Theatre and elsewhere; Matt Logan and Jake Speck head north a short distance on I-65 and promise even more new twists on a show they’ve made more and more their own each year.

From last year’s production: (



January 14 to January 26

While I don’t know much about this presentation I do love the shows done by the late Lucille Ball so this one intrigues me. It’s a musical  that was playing in Chicago just recently; here’s what was said about the set-up: “Imagine stepping back in time and into the Desilu Playhouse soundstage! It’s 1952 and you are a member of the studio audience awaiting the filming of two hilarious and oh so familiar “I Love Lucy” episodes. A charming host entertains and enlightens you to the behind-the-scenes filming process, the1950’s hi-fidelity technology, and this brand new thing called ‘television’. The episodes begin and you witness, firsthand, the side-splitting antics of that crazy redhead in the Ricardo’s New York apartment and thrill to the Cuban sounds of “The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra” at the famed Tropicana Nightclub. In between scenes? The Crystaltone Singers perform live advertising jingles of the show’s newest sponsors in perfect 50s style harmony. Can you say ‘Brylcreem’?! ” (


In addition:

ALTON BROWN In the late 1990s, Alton Brown reinvented the food show with his award-winning Good Eats. Now with this live, traveling, foodie, comedy, quiz, lecture, puppet, talk, science, storytelling, and music show, he’s reinventing the live, traveling, foodie, comedy… well, you get the point. Audiences are sure to be amazed, amused, edified and perhaps a little bit terrified. (Be sure to request a seat in the “poncho zone”.) (

MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller. Don’t miss this ultimate holiday tradition from the #1 Christmas music artist in history! (

Season tickets and group sales are now available. The cost of a six-show season package for the HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series ranges from $100 to $395, depending on seat location and day of performance. Single tickets for individual shows will go on sale approximately six to eight weeks prior to the performance.

Season ticket holders receive exclusive benefits and services not available to the general public, including free ticket exchange privileges if they have a change of schedule, locked-in prices, no ticket processing fees, additional pre-sale offers to TPAC shows, flexible payment plans, a free one-year subscription to Center Stage magazine, and discount parking.

Current season ticket holders will be mailed information on how to renew their season tickets for the next season. TPAC Subscriber Services is accepting new orders, processed on a “first come-first served” basis after seating assignments are made for renewing season ticket holders.

For more information on the HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series, visit us at, where season tickets may be purchased, or call TPAC Subscriber Services at (615) 782-6560 or (800) 410-4216 if you live outside the Nashville area. You may also visit the TPAC Box Office at 505 Deaderick Street in downtown Nashville. For information on group tickets, call the TPAC Group Sales Office at (615) 782-4060.

The HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series is supported by The HCA Foundation on behalf of HCA and the TriStar Family of Hospitals. Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America, American Airlines, and Coca-Cola.


*Photos and artwork courtesy Tennessee Performing Arts Center and ArtsNash archives.

(L to R) Jason Kappus, Colby Foytik, Brad Weinstock and Brandon Andrus
Photo by Joan Marcus.

Photo courtesy of We Will Rock You.

From London production by Sean Ebsworth Barnes courtesy Ghost the Musical.

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Photo by Phil Natkin.

Grayson DeJesus on Topthorn and Michael Wyatt Cox on Joey.
Photos © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
Darick Pead as Beast and Hilary Maiberger as Belle.
Photo by Joan Marcus.

Photo by Joan Marcus.


Photo by ANTHONYMATULA courtesy Studio Tenn and ArtsNash archives.

Sirena Irwin as Lucy and Bill Mendieta as Ricky in the Chicago production.
Photo by Justin Barbin.

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About Evans Donnell

Evans Donnell is the chief theater, film and opera critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He wrote reviews and features about theater, opera and classical music for The Tennessean from 2002 to 2011. He was the theater, film and opera critic for from 2011 to 2012. Donnell has also contributed to The Sondheim Review, Back Stage, The City Paper (Nashville), the Nashville Banner, The (Bowling Green, Ky.) Daily News and several other publications since beginning his professional journalism career in 1985 with The Lebanon (Tenn.) Democrat. He was selected as a fellow for the 2004 National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and for National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) arts journalism institutes for theater and musical theater at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 2006 and classical music and opera at the Columbia University School of Journalism in 2009. He has also been an actor (member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA), founding and running AthensSouth Theatre from 1996 to 2001 and appearing in Milos Forman's "The People vs Larry Flynt" among other credits. Donnell is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (