After 19 months shrouded in darkness, the Emerson Colonial Theatre will turn its lights back on with a robust lineup beginning in September that includes a new speakers series, musicals, concerts, and holiday shows.
September will mark the first time since March 2020 that the Colonial, a centerpiece of the Boston theater scene since it opened in 1900, will open its doors to patrons. Emerson College closed the Boylston Street venue in 2015, but it reopened in 2018 under the management of Ambassador Theatre Group after months of extensive renovations.
“We are so excited to welcome audiences into the Colonial, and we are proud to say, once again, that Boston’s Crown Jewel is back!” Erica Lynn Schwartz, the Colonial’s general manager, said in a press release.
Tickets and details for several performances are available now on the Colonial website.
A new speakers series will launch in October, with tickets going on sale to the public for each event on July 19. Speakers include novelist Anne Lamott (Oct. 28), journalist and “Serial” host Sarah Koenig (Nov. 11), author Fran Lebowitz (Dec. 2), and author Neil Gaiman (April 29, 2022). “After a year of video chats, a live, in-person conversation with these incredible minds will be a welcome experience,” Schwartz said.
Several shows will ring in the holiday season, with Lightwire Theater’s “A Very Electric Christmas” on Nov. 27, holiday-themed concerts by Leslie Odom Jr. (of “Hamilton” fame) on Dec. 9 and Kenny G on Dec. 17, and “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” on New Year’s Day. “Fiddler on the Roof” will play Dec. 21-26.
See the brainchild of Lin-Manuel Miranda and his “Hamilton” collaborators in the hip-hop improv show “Freestyle Love Supreme,” which earned a special Tony Award in June and will play at the theater March 18-April 2, 2022.
Rescheduled dates also dot the fall roster. The play “Jacqueline Novak: Get on Your Knees” (Sept. 7-19), which will be performed at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, a performance by jazz vocalist Gregory Porter (Sept. 17), and the musical “Stomp” (Oct. 8-10) are among the acts that will belatedly take the stage.
Other shows in the months ahead include “MasterChef Live! (Nov. 12), “Dinosaur World Live!” (Jan. 22, 2022), “Trixie and Katya Live” (April 3, 2022), and “A Conversation with Yotam Ottolenghi” (April 30, 2022).
Broadway in Boston will present two previously announced musicals at the Colonial in 2022. “Jesus Christ Superstar” will run Jan. 4-16, and “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” will play Feb. 22-March 6. Ticket sale dates have not yet been announced for those shows.
In April, the Colonial announced it would premiere a Neil Diamond biographical musical, “A Beautiful Noise,” June 21-July 17, 2022, before it is set to head to Broadway. Ticket sale dates have not yet been announced; sign up at the musical’s website to receive updates.
The last major show to take the stage at the Colonial before the pandemic was “Plaza Suite,” starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, which ran Feb. 5-22 in a pre-Broadway tryout.
The Colonial follows nearby venues like the Boch Center and The Wilbur that have already announced their upcoming live shows.
Dana Gerber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org