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'War Horse,' 'Once,' 'Mormon' highlight 2013-2014 Broadway series at Smith Center

Albert and Joey the Horse from the Broadway version of "War Horse" (COURTESY PHOTO)
Albert and Joey the Horse from the Broadway version of "War Horse" (COURTESY PHOTO)

The Smith Center will expand upon its first full Broadway Las Vegas Series by two productions for the 2013-2014 season, climaxing with a four-week run of the previously announced big-get, The Book of Mormon

The venue's CEO and president, Myron Martin, announced its slate of musicals this evening at the Troesch Studio Theater, and the program runs the gamut, with several revivals, returns and rehashes, heavy on the movie-inspired adaptations. It also boasts three huge gets for both The Smith Center and Las Vegas theater fans. 

Unlike the current Broadway season, which kicked off with the biggest draw of the bunch (Wicked), the next series saves the big crowd pleaser for last. South Park creators Trey Stone and Matt Parker's box-office juggernaut and Tony-winning The Book of Mormon has easily been the most sought-after musical on- or off-Strip in the past year. It will end the season with a June 10-July 6 stand in 2014.

And just three weeks before that run starts, stage junkies, film nuts and music fans alike will get to experience the Vegas debut of Once (May 20-25), the Oscar-winning movie-turned-Tony-winning musical about a busker and a pianist who unite in music and love. Its contemporary soundtrack is provided by alt-folk act The Swell Season.

And perhaps equally remarkable to the booking of Mormon or Once is another Vegas-first, War Horse (Oct. 2-6), which, unlike any other production in this or the current Broadway series, is a non-musical play. At the program announce this evening, not only did the reveal of the War Horse run garner some of the loudest cheers among the donor and media audience, but Smith Center CEO Myron Martin mentioned the continuous clamor he heard for a "straight play," and brought out principals affiliated with the Tony winner — including the star of the play, Joey, a 90-pound horse puppet operated by three men. 

The 2013-14 series begins with Les Miserables (Aug. 7-11), nine months after the release of the motion picture adaptation, which has made over $140 million in the U.S. and is nominated for eight Oscars. Andrew Lloyd Webber's interpretation of The Wizard of Oz (Sept. 10-15) comes next — another musical following a related theatrical release (Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful, out March 8), and perhaps a gift to those Wicked fans crazing more from the Emerald City. After War Horse, there's Sister Act, co-produced by Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the 1992 film. The Smith Center then obliges Webber enthusiasts again with Evita (Nov. 26-Dec. 1), the Broadway chestnut about Argentinian first lady Eva Peron. Things get rolling again after the new year with a weeklong run of the musical that may have permanently ruined ABBA for this particular writer, Mamma Mia (Jan. 7-12), returning to Las Vegas exactly five years after its final show at Mandalay Bay. Flashdance: The Musical (Jan. 28-Feb. 2), complete with both the 1983 film's original soundtrack and brand new songs, follows, with critically lauded The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (April 15-20) rounding out the program. 

Renewals for current Broadway Las Vegas Series subscribers starts Feb. 19, with the sale of new subscriptions beginning in May and indivisual tickets sometime thereafter. For details, visit here.