Walton Arts Center pulls up curtain on 2017-18 Broadway Series

“An American in Paris” / Courtesy

The busy stage at the Walton Arts Center will be a bit busier during the 2017-18 season at the performing arts venue in Fayetteville. Even as one of the current season’s productions, a musical version of “Dirty Dancing,” prepares to start its run tonight (March 8), the center announced the next round of shows during a invitational preview event Monday evening.

2017-18 Broadway Series

“The King and I” – Oct. 3-8
“Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” – Nov. 7-12
“Finding Neverland” – Dec. 19-23
“Cabaret” – Jan. 19-21
“An American in Paris” – Feb. 6-11
“Rent” – March 2-4
“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” – April 24-29
“The Sound of Music” – May 15-20

For information and ticket purchasing, call the Walton Arts Center box office at 479-443-5600 or visit waltonartscenter.org.

Last year’s Broadway season featured six shows on a timeline condensed by the $23 million remodeling project that was unveiled in November 2016. This coming year, there are eight shows to choose from, which aligns more closely with the number of touring productions that were on stage for the 2015-16 season. A few of those touring productions were contained in different series, like the Family Fun grouping of shows. This year, the touring shows are all packaged together.

“For this season we chose to put all of the Broadway shows under the Proctor & Gamble Broadway Series to allow our patrons to build a season package that matched their needs,” said Jennifer Ross, the center’s director of programming.

The Broadway season begins with “The King and I” on Oct. 3 of this year and concluding with “The Sound of Music” in May 2018. The center’s other arts offerings, including concerts, kid-friendly programming and dance programming will be announced later.

“The King and I” earned a Tony Award for Best Revival in 2015 when it came back to Broadway. Originally on Broadway in 1951 and featuring the work of beloved creators Rodgers and Hammerstein, “The King and I” examines the relationship that develops between Anna, a British schoolteacher, and the King of Siam, who has hired Anna to teach his children.

To kick off the holiday season, the next show to visit is Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” based off the beloved 1954 holiday movie of the same name. It visits Fayetteville from Nov. 7-12.

Next up is “Finding Neverland,” with a production that runs Dec. 19-23. It too is based on a movie. “Finding Neverland” looks at the life of Scottish author J.M. Barrie, who created the iconic Peter Pan character.

A new version of the classic Broadway show “Cabaret” comes to the Walton Arts Center beginning Jan. 19. It is one of the two shows on in the Broadway series coming in for a condensed five-show, Friday to Sunday run. The other, “Rent,” a tale of Bohemian life in the shadow of the mid-1990s AIDS crisis in New York City. “Rent” visits March 2-4.

“Finding Neverland” / Courtesy

Walton Arts Center Vice President of Programming and Executive Producer Scott Galbraith said the shorter runs are what’s referred to in the industry as “split week” shows. Because both shows contain more adult content than a production like “White Christmas,” they are a more limited engagement.

Sandwiched in the middle of those two shows is “An American in Paris,” which run Feb. 6-11. “An American in Paris” features the songs of Ira and George Gershwin and earned a series of awards upon its return to Broadway in 2015.

“Beautiful,” on stage from April 24-29, 2018, is the Grammy- and Tony-Award-winning music based on the life of songwriter Carole King.

The season closes with a production of “The Sound of Music” from May 15-20, 2018. Maria and the von Trapp family sing their way through all kinds of trouble in the musical, which is just as well known for the 1965 film version starring Julie Andrews.

“The King and I” / Photo: Matthew Murphy

Single-event tickets will not be sold for several months, but six-, seven- and eight-show ticket packages are available now.

Every 2017-18 Broadway Subscription includes Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” “Finding Neverland,” “An American in Paris,” “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” and “The Sound of Music.” Patrons can choose between “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” “Cabaret” and “Rent” to complete their Broadway subscription package. Among the new choices this year are Thursday matinee shows. Current package prices begin at $271 and top out at $571.