MSUToday
Published: May 19, 2020

Wharton Center announces 2020-21 season

Contact(s): Bob Hoffman Wharton Center office: (517) 884-3115 bob.hoffman@whartoncenter.com, Beth Brauer University Communications Beth.Brauer-Delaney@cabs.msu.edu

The last few months have been unprecedented in the performing arts and entertainment industry. While COVID-19 has changed the world, Wharton Center Executive Director Mike Brand says, "Wharton Center is ready to move forward and do what we do best: present the finest of the performing arts. We are as excited as ever to announce a new Wharton season. The 2020-2021 season offers opportunities for our patrons to relax, have fun and enjoy experiences that we are confident will make lifelong memories."

Wharton Center’s 2020-2021 season includes five Broadway hits: "Mean Girls;" "Jesus Christ Superstar;" "Pretty Woman: The Musical;" "Cats" and Disney's "Frozen."

Direct from Broadway, "Mean Girls" is the hilarious hit musical from an award-winning creative team, including book writer Tina Fey, composer Jeff Richmond, lyricist Nell Benjamin  and director Casey Nicholaw. The Chicago Tribune says "Mean Girls" is "by far the funniest musical of the year!"

The Broadway phenomenon "Jesus Christ Superstar" is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a mesmerizing production coming to Wharton Center January 26–31, 2021. This new production by the acclaimed director Timothy Sheader and award-winning choreographer Drew McOnie won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, garnering unprecedented reviews and accolades. Featuring award-winning music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, "Jesus Christ Superstar" is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final week in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas.

After an incredible record-breaking run on Broadway, Audience Choice Award-winner "Pretty Woman: The Musical" promises to "lift your spirits and lighten your heart.” BuzzFeed News says, "If you love the movie, you will love the musical." "Pretty Woman: The Musical" is brought to life by a powerhouse creative team representing the best of music, Hollywood and Broadway. Featuring direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell, an original score by Grammy® winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, a book by the movie’s legendary director, Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton.

"Cats" is the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber, brought back to complement Wharton’s season. Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater: ”Memory.” Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including Best Musical, "Cats" tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, original scenic and costume design by John Napier, all-new lighting design by Natasha Katz, all new sound design by Mick Potter, new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and direction by Trevor Nunn makes this production a new "Cats" for a new generation!

Disney's "Frozen" is the Tony® nominated Best Musical that the L.A. Daily News calls "simply magical." From the producers of "The Lion King" and "Aladdin", "Frozen" is an unforgettable theatrical experience filled with sensational special effects, stunning sets and costumes and powerhouse performances.

Wharton Center’s extraordinary lineup of performances continues with the Performing Arts Series hosting the world’s greatest performing artists including: world-renowned brass quartet Canadian Brass, celebrating their 50th anniversary this year; multi-platinum recording ensemble, Celtic Woman, who fuse traditional Irish music with contemporary songcraft, bringing a stellar holiday spectacular; "EVIDENCE," a dance ensemble led by legendary choreographer Ronald K. Brown, which integrates African dance with contemporary choreography and spoken word.

An Evening with Itzhak Perlman featuring the reigning virtuoso of the violin performing beloved musical selections and telling his remarkable story; and performing the music of Gershwin in a big, bold way will be conductor Teddy Abrams and vocal wonder Morgan James. Beloved ballet ensemble, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has established itself as one of the country’s premier ballet companies since its founding in 1969; they perform Beauty and the Beast in our 20-21 season. Finally, following her Tony Award® winning run as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, Michigan native Renée Elise Goldsberry arrives to perform a mix of soulful standards and Broadway classics.

Wharton Center's 2020-2021 season also includes Sensory-Friendly Performances. These events provide supportive and welcoming environments for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other sensory sensitivities and their families. A complete list of all SFP events and engagement activities is available online at www.whartoncenter.com or by phoning the Auto-Owner Insurance Ticket Office at Wharton Center.

Below is a complete list of Broadway shows in the 2020-21 season:

  • "Mean Girls" December 8-13, 2020
  • "Jesus Christ Superstar" January 26-31, 2021
  • "Pretty Woman: The Musical" February 16-21, 2021
  • "Cats" May 11-16, 2021
  • Disney’s "Frozen" July 7-18, 2021

For the full lineup of events at the Wharton Center, visit www.whartoncenter.com