The white-shirted missionaries of “The Book of Mormon’’ are headed to Boston next year, hunting for converts to a brand of musical-comedy lunacy that has made the show a smash hit on Broadway, while Joey, the noble steed of “War Horse,’’ will gallop into town this fall.
The slate for the 2012-13 season announced Monday by Broadway in Boston also includes a pre-Broadway world-premiere musical, “Tuck Everlasting,’’ adapted from Natalie Babbitt’s beloved children’s novel; productions of “Memphis’’ and “Sister Act’’; and return engagements by “Wicked,’’ “Jersey Boys,’’ and “Mary Poppins,’’ all of which performed strongly at the box office during previous stints here.
But the big (if not unexpected) news is that Boston will be a stop on the national tour of “The Book of Mormon,’’ a bona fide cultural phenomenon that has been a nearly impossible ticket on Broadway for the past year.
A delirious musical comedy that sends young Mormon missionaries on a quest for converts in Uganda, the show is the fevered result of a collaboration among “South Park’’ creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker and “Avenue Q’’ co-creator Robert Lopez. It won nine Tony Awards in 2011, including best musical. “Mormon’’ will run April 9-28, 2013, at the Boston Opera House, where it is virtually guaranteed to spin a few heads.
A spectacle of a much more somber sort will be on display this fall in “War Horse,’’ at the Opera House Oct. 10-21. Winner of five Tony Awards in 2011, including best play, “War Horse’’ features a remarkable life-size puppet as Joey, a horse forced to endure the horrors of World War I in the British cavalry. Even some hardened theatergoers found themselves moved to tears by Joey’s stoic valor as his young owner, Albert, traverses battlefields in a desperate bid to find him. The play, which premiered in London in 2007, is adapted from the Michael Morpurgo novel that also inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2011 film adaptation.
In June 2013, the Citi Performing Arts Center Colonial Theatre will play host to the world premiere of “Tuck Everlasting,’’ a musical adaptation of Babbitt’s 1975 novel about a 10-year-old girl named Winnie Foster and a family, the Tucks, who have drunk from the spring of eternal life. With a book by Claudia Shear, it will be directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, who codirected and choreographed the Broadway production of “The Book of Mormon.’’
“Tuck Everlasting’’ will be the first Broadway tryout at one of the downtown theaters since the 2006 production of “High Fidelity’’ at the Colonial, according to Broadway in Boston. The musical will be one of three Broadway in Boston shows at the Colonial during the 2012-13 season.
Negotiations on a new lease failed last year between Emerson College, which owns the Colonial, and its longtime tenant, Broadway in Boston, which consequently has not presented any shows there this season. But under the terms of an agreement worked out last fall, the Citi Performing Arts Center will begin on July 1 to lease the Colonial from Emerson, and will program it in partnership with Broadway in Boston.
Another of the productions headed to the Colonial is “Memphis,’’ which won a Tony for best musical in 2010. Revolving around the relationship between a white disc jockey and a black singer in the early days of rock ’n’ roll, “Memphis’’ will be at the Colonial Dec. 11-23.
Following “Memphis’’ into the Colonial’s gilded spaces will be “Jersey Boys,’’ the musical biography of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, slated for Jan. 30-March 9, 2013. “Jersey Boys’’ also played the Colonial in 2010 and the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre in 2009.
Next up will be “Sister Act,’’ a musical adaptation of the Whoopi Goldberg movie about a nightclub singer who hides out in a convent after witnessing a mob killing. It is scheduled for Jan. 22-Feb. 3, 2013, at the Opera House.
From May 28 to June 2, 2013, “Mary Poppins’’ will be ladling out spoonfuls of sugar at the Opera House, where “Wicked’’ will run Aug. 7-Sept. 15, 2013.
Subscription and group sales to all of the shows begin Tuesday, according to Ann Sheehan, spokeswoman for Broadway in Boston, who added that on-sale dates for single tickets will be announced “at a later time.’’