RBTL's next season will feature 'Once,' 'War Horse'

08:15 PM, Mar 13, 2013

War Horse will be performed at the Auditorium Theatre from Nov. 5 through 10. (Provided by the Rochester Broadway Theatre League)/

Written By Catherine Roberts | Staff writer

Puppets will again take center stage during one of the Broadway tour shows coming to Rochester.

Next year’s Rochester Broadway Theatre League season will include War Horse, which has gotten as many positive reviews for its puppetry as Disney’s The Lion King.

Also on tap for the 2013-14 season is the 25th anniversary tour production of Phantom of the Opera. The subscription season has increased from five to six shows, with three big extras on the Auditorium Stage.

Rock of Ages, Green Day’s American Idiot and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will fill in between the subscription shows, which are as follows:

Ghost: The Musical, Oct. 8 through 13, based on the movie of the same name about Molly, a woman who must cope after her love dies. Sam is trapped between two worlds, trying to warn Molly that she is in grave danger.

War Horse, Nov. 5 through 10, a World War I tale told through the eyes of Joey, one of the horses. Groundbreaking puppeteering is at the center of this play.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Dec. 10 to 15, the classic about the creature whose heart was two sizes too small transformed to someone full of holiday spirit.

Sister Act, Feb. 11 to 16, this musical, also based on a movie, has an original score by Alan Menken.

Once, March 18 to 23, is the winner of the 2012 best musical Tony about a young Dublin musician down on his luck who meets a young woman who sings haunting love songs. All the cast plays instruments throughout the musical.

The Phantom of the Opera, April 16 to 27, features a new set design, costumes and staging.

Subscriptions are on sale now; individual tickets will be sold at a later date.

Albert Nocciolino, who brings the shows to Rochester and the rest of upstate, said the strong subscription market in Rochester and Buffalo allow for the cities to be included in the first year of touring for Tony Award winners like

We’re very, very thrilled that we have the ability to book the first year of the tour of the hot new Broadway musicals coming out of this past season on Broadway,” Nocciolino said. “The combination, the geographic closeness of both (Rochester and Buffalo) markets makes it very attractive to the producers. … There’s a strong subscription base in both markets and an extraordinary theater audience in each market.”

Buffalo has 13,000 season ticket holders for the Broadway tour season at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, and RBTL has 7,500 for the season at the Auditorium Theatre.

RBTL chairman Arnold Rothschild said the current season has met expectations. There were sold-out shows for Mary Poppins in the fall, the group just came off a sold-out run of The Book of Mormon, and Les Miserables, set for May 7 through 12, is almost sold out.

Rothschild said the predicted economic impact of the 2013-14 season is $24 million, based on a prediction of $8 million in ticket sale revenue. He said the RBTL has sold $200 million in tickets since 1996.