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Near West Theatre's 2017-18 Season Announcement Celebrating Our 40th Anniversary!

Posted May 26, 2017 in Press Releases


Fall Youth Production
Cast: Ages 9-15
September 22-October 1, 2017Book by Douglas Carter Beane

Music & Lyrics by Jeff Lynne & John Farrar
Based on the Universal Pictures film
Screenplay by Richard Danus & Marc Rubel

You have to believe we are magic

Slap on your roller skates, get hip to the muses, and prepare for the glitter explosion of Xanadu, the laugh-out-loud musical adaptation of the 1980 film

Kira, a magical and beautiful Greek muse, descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, California on a quest to inspire a struggling artist to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time: the first ROLLER DISCO! (Hey, it's 1980!) But when Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny – a chalk artist with half a brain and a heart of gold – her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and chaos abounds.

Roller-skating along to the cult classic film’s legendary, chart-topping score, Xanadu reminds us to follow our dreams despite limitations set by others. This moving, electrifying tale of endless fun is hilarity on wheels for adults, children and anyone who has ever wanted to feel inspired – a musical with a big heart, an even bigger funny bone, and its tongue stuck firmly in its cheek.

  • Nominated for two Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book
  • Based on the Universal Pictures film starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly
  • Showcases the film’s hit songs by pop-rock legends Jeff Lynne and John Farrar


Beauty and the Beast

Fall Intergenerational Production
Cast: Ages 7 and up
November 17-December 10, 2017

Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Book by Linda Woolverton

Bittersweet and Strange, Finding You Can Change

Step into the enchanted world of a brilliant Beauty and a Beastly prince as their centuries-old tale proves it’s never too late to be Human Again

Belle, a vibrant, intelligent young Beauty, feels out of place in her provincial French village and longs for adventure. When her father is imprisoned by a terrible Beast in a mysterious castle, her brave attempt to rescue him leads instead to her own capture by the grisly, fearsome monster. In truth, the Beast is the forgotten prince of the castle, condemned long ago to his gruesome form by the curse of an enchantress as punishment for his foolish pride and lack of compassion.

The only way for the Beast to become human again is if he learns to love and be loved in return by the time the last petal has fallen from an enchanted rose. Hot-tempered and commanding, it seems unlikely that he will succeed. The Beast’s enchanted household – populated by such beloved characters as Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Chip – watch anxiously as Belle and the Beast grow to understand and befriend one another, their feelings growing deeper as the clock ticks and the petals fall. With time running out and a fearful, angry mob at the castle door, will Belle’s kindness and acceptance of the Beast’s rough exterior spark his warm and loving heart before he and his castle are doomed for all eternity?

  • Nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical
  • Based on Disney’s Academy Award-winning animated feature and the late 18th-century classic French fairy tale La Belle et le Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
  • Showcases the film’s memorable songs by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, as well as new songs by Menken and Tim Rice
  • An international sensation that has played to over 35 million people worldwide in 13 countries



Winter Youth Production
Cast: Ages 9-15
February 16-25, 2018

Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Book by Linda Woolverton and
Robert Falls & David Henry Hwang

Destiny Ignited by an Act of War

The star-crossed love affair of a slave and an Egyptian prince from warring nations

At the Nile’s edge, Nubian princess Aida, stolen from her country and enslaved by the Egyptians, finds herself romantically entangled with Egyptian Captain Radames. Though Radames is betrothed to Amneris, the Pharaoh’s daughter, he returns Aida’s affection, and their forbidden love blossoms and grows deeper. With love and responsibility at odds, Aida and Radames must decide to follow their hearts or lead their people. Their love ultimately rises above the vast cultural differences between their warring nations, heralding a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity… though not without heartbreaking sacrifice.

With an unforgettable, Tony Award-winning score featuring soaring ballads and rousing choral numbers, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida is a modern crowd-pleaser in a timeless tale of loyalty, pride, betrayal, and a love that transcends them all.

  • Winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Original Score
  • Winner of a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
  • Based on the story of Verdi’s 1871 opera Aida


The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Spring Older Teen & Adult Production
Cast: Ages 16 and up
May 11-27, 2018

Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Peter Parnell

Now here is a riddle to guess if you can... What makes a monster, and what makes a man?

A lushly scored retelling of Victor Hugo’s epic story of love, acceptance, and what it means to be a hero

The Bells of Notre Dame sound throughout the renowned gothic cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Tortured hunchback bell-ringer Quasimodo, held captive by devious archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. He escapes his confines to join the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but the enchanting gypsy, Esmeralda. Quasimodo is captivated by her free spirit – and Frollo, along with the handsome Captain Phoebus, are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies, and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.

Based on Victor Hugo’s famous gothic novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s sweeping score and powerful story mesmerize as they boldly beg the question, “What makes a monster, and what makes a man?”

  • Showcases the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs by Menken and Schwartz
  • Peter Parnell’s new book features verbatim passages from Hugo’s gothic novel


Spring Awakening

Summer Teen/Young Adult Production
Cast: Ages 16-25
July 27-August 12, 2018

Book & Lyrics by Steven Sater
Music by Duncan Sheik
Based on the play by Frank Wedekind

Locked out of peace with no keys to my soul

An angsty rock musical adaptation of the seminal play about the trials and tribulations of growing up

In 1890’s Germany, grown-ups hold all the cards – and rarely show or explain them to their children. With only each other for guidance, a group of young students travel the tumultuous and confusing path of adolescence. Headstrong Melchior and naive Wendla stumble into each other’s arms, passionate and curious, while anxious Moritz struggles to live up to the stringent expectations of society. Join them as they navigate coming-of-age anxiety, discovering their bodies, their minds, and themselves along the way.

Based on Frank Wedekind’s groundbreaking and controversial play (once banned in Germany), the evocative Spring Awakening fuses issues of morality and sexuality with driving rock n’ roll to create a musical that packs a powerful emotional punch. Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s brilliant rock score and searingly emotional book bring this story of sexual awakening, youth revolt, and self-discovery to vibrant life with illuminating poignancy and passion.

  • Winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical
  • Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 play Spring Awakening
  • Featuring a driving, powerful rock score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater

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