Broadway Returns to the Classic City

By Ashley Crain

*NOTE: This post was originally printed in the 4.5 Medical and Economic Development Issue, which means the events in this post have come to pass. Please visit The Classic Center website for updated information on the 2017-2018 Broadway schedule.

What defines the beginning of the Broadway scene in New York? Was it in 1750 when the first resident theatre company in New York City was established? Was it the premier of the first conceptual musical in the late 1860s? Or was it at the turn of the 20th century when Broadway theatres as we know them today relocated to Times Square?

Regardless of its origin, the lights of Broadway shine much brighter and extend well beyond the streets of New York City. For decades, the hits of the Broadway stage have packed up and taken their shows on the road, touring in hundreds of U.S. cities from coast to coast. And Athens, Georgia is no exception.

For over 20 years, Broadway’s most popular performances have graced The Classic Center Theatre stage, drawing in thousands of Broadway enthusiasts all eager to see New York’s finest productions.

The 2016-17 Broadway Entertainment Series at The Classic Center Theatre is second to none when it comes to variety, star-studded performances, and its fair share of Tony Awards®. This season’s line-up includes Steppin’ Out on Broadway with Ben Vereen; Elf – The Broadway Musical; Elvis Lives; Once; and Pippin.

The curtain will rise for the new Broadway season on November 4 with Steppin’ Out on Broadway with Ben Vereen. Best known for his original roles in Jesus Christ Superstar and Pippin, Ben Vereen is no stranger to the Broadway stage. The Tony Award® winning actor brings the Broadway songbook to life through song, dance, laughter and life stories with Steppin’ Out on Broadway.

Just in time for the holidays, Buddy the Elf will make his way from the North Pole, through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest and the sea of swirly twirly gum drops to The Classic Center Theatre stage on December 13 for a performance of Elf – The Broadway Musical. Based off the 2003 hit film, this modern day Christmas classic will have the entire audience embracing their inner elves.

The King of Rock and Roll will take to the stage for an unforgettable performance in Elvis Lives on January 20. This multi-media and live musical journey across the life of Elvis Presley features champions and finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises’ worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. 250,000 fans “Can’t Help Falling In Love”® with this phenomenal theatrical concert experience.

Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical and the 2013 Grammy Award® for “Best Musical Theatre Album,” the true Broadway musical Once will make a stop at The Classic Center Theatre on February 23. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actors/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, Once is an enchanting tale full of music, beauty, and love.

The 2016-17 season comes to a close on April 9 with the unforgettable new production of Pippin, one young man’s journey to be extraordinary. Winner of four 2013 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical Revival, audiences won’t want to miss what has been hailed as “an eye-popping, jaw-dropping extravaganza” (NY1).

The State Ballet Theatre of Russia will once again be performing The Nutcracker for one show on December 17, and two shows, including a matinee, on December 18. This holiday performance is an optional add-on for the standard Broadway season.

From its first Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sensation Cats, to the final upcoming season showstopper Pippin, and everything in between, the lights and glitz of Broadway have found a permanent home at The Classic Center Theatre for the past two decades. And for the second season in a row, season ticket holders and Classic Center Cultural Foundation members will get an intimate look into Broadway’s history.

Musical Theatre Historian, Kristin Pressley, will return to The Classic Center this season to present Classic Conversations, an educational discussion before each Broadway Entertainment Series show, to better educate and enlighten theatre goers on the show’s history and prominence on Broadway. Become a Classic Center Cultural Foundation member or season ticket holder to take advantage of this exclusive benefit.

Whether you’re young or young at heart, the magic of Broadway has dazzled audiences for decades and the 2016-17 Broadway Entertainment Series at The Classic Center Theatre is no exception. Join us as the curtain rises on another season of musical history in the making.

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