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Theater & art

  

‘Kinky Boots,’ ‘Motown’ highlight Broadway in Boston’s new season

Clockwise (from top): The casts of “Kinky Boots, “Newsies,” and “Motown,” three of the productions that will visit Boston theaters as part of Broadway in Boston’s 2014-15 season.

Matthew Murphy

The cast of “Kinky Boots,” one of the productions that will visit Boston theaters as part of Broadway in Boston’s 2014-15 season.

“Kinky Boots,’’ “Motown: The Musical,’’ and “Disney’s Newsies’’ are among the productions slated to arrive in Boston during the 2014-15 season under the auspices of Broadway in Boston, the presenting and producing organization announced on Monday evening.

Next season will also be marked by the return to Boston of “Disney's The Lion King,’’ “Mamma Mia!,’’ and “Dirty Dancing — the Classic Story on Stage.’’

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In a statement, Rich Jaffe, president of Broadway in Boston, noted that during the past 30 years the organization has presented more than 250 productions to audiences totaling 7 million. Jaffe touted next season as consisting of “some of Broadway’s hottest and most eagerly awaited shows,’’ adding that “we’re thrilled that Boston will experience these productions firsthand.’’

Kicking off the season will be “Disney’s The Lion King,’’ the innovative, visually arresting stage adaptation of the animated film about a young lion’s turbulent journey to maturity. The musical is still packing them in 17 years after it opened on Broadway and went on to win half a dozen Tony Awards, including best musical and best director for Newton native Julie Taymor, who later endured a turbulent journey of her own with “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.’’

The cast of “Motown,” one of the productions that will visit Boston theaters as part of Broadway in Boston’s 2014-15 season.

The cast of “Motown,” one of the productions that will visit Boston theaters as part of Broadway in Boston’s 2014-15 season.

Known for its colorful masks, costumes, and puppets, with a cast of more than 40 performers, “Disney’s The Lion King’’ will play from Sept. 9 to Oct. 12 at the Boston Opera House — an apt venue, given that “The Lion King’’ was the first production at the Opera House when it reopened a decade ago after an extensive renovation. The circle of life, indeed.

Next up will be the apparently inexhaustible “Mamma Mia!,’’ a jukebox musical returning for its fifth engagement in Boston. Flush with hook-heavy Abba songs like “Dancing Queen,’’ “The Winner Takes It All,’’ and “Knowing Me, Knowing You,’’ “Mamma Mia!’’ is a determinedly bouncy confection about second chances. The plot: A young woman, determined to figure out who her father is before she gets married, invites three likely prospects to her wedding on a Greek island, unbeknownst to her mother. It will run at the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2.

The new year will start with another jukebox musical, “Motown,’’ which is scheduled for Jan. 27-Feb. 15, 2015, at the Boston Opera House.

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A chronicle of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, “Motown’’ premiered last year on Broadway. Based on Gordy’s autobiography, the musical covers Gordy’s discovery of the Supremes, his relationship with Diana Ross, and his role in the early careers of Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. “Motown’’ includes performances of hits like “Dancing in the Street,’’ “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,’’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,’’ “My Girl,’’ and “The Tears of a Clown.’’

From April 28 to May 10, 2015, “Dirty Dancing — The Classic Story on Stage’’ will play at the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre. Previously in Boston in 2009, it’s a stage adaptation of the hit film about a torrid summer romance at a Catskills resort between teenage Frances, better known as Baby (as in “Nobody puts Baby in a corner’’) and her dance instructor, Johnny. The show includes songs like “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.’’

Another musical based on a movie, the high-kicking “Disney’s Newsies,’’ will be at the Boston Opera House June 23-July 5, 2015.

Inspired by the 1899 newsboys strike in New York City, “Newsies’’ became known for its acrobatic dance routines, including plenty of backflips. Christopher Gattelli won a 2012 Tony Award for best choreography. The show also won a Tony for best score, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman (Harvey Fierstein wrote the book). The Broadway production substantially elevated the profile of Jeremy Jordan, who played Jack, the leader of the strikers, and appeared on NBC’s “Smash’’ as a composer with a troubled history.

Closing out the season for Broadway in Boston will be “Kinky Boots,’’ the Tony Award winner last year for best musical, which is scheduled to run Aug. 11-23, 2015, at the Boston Opera House.

The musical, also inspired by a movie, is about the unlikely partnership between staid Charlie, who inherits a money-losing shoe factory in Britain, and glamorous Lola, a drag performer who comes up with the idea of converting the business to a specialty line: customized high-heeled footwear for drag artists. (Lola was played on Broadway by Billy Porter, who won a Tony Award for best actor in a musical. Porter is slated to direct George C. Wolfe’s “The Colored Museum’’ at the Huntington Theatre Company next March.)

The busy and versatile Fierstein wrote the book for “Kinky Boots,’’ and Cyndi Lauper, making her debut as a composer on Broadway, wrote the music and lyrics, which includes songs like “Sex Is in the Heel,’’ “The History of Wrong Guys,’’ and “Raise You Up/Just Be.’’ Lauper won a Tony Award for best score, making her the first woman to win solo in that category.

Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com.

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