The Straz Center for the Performing Arts’ 2017-2018 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay season is filled with Tony Award-winners, audience favorites and the hottest hits.

The Broadway series features the 2015 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fun Home and the 2016 Tony Award-winning Best Revival of a Musical The Color Purple. Also on the 2017-2018 slate are productions of the Tony Award-nominated musicals On Your Feet!, School of Rock and Waitress, as well as the West End hits Love Never Dies and The Bodyguard. The series also includes a yet-to-be-determined production in the Straz Center’s intimate Jaeb Theater.

In addition to the eight-show Broadway series and back by popular demand following its 2013 and 2014 engagements, the multi-Tony Award-winning musical from the creators of South Park, The Book of Mormon, will return for a limited engagement.

The season will also include encore engagements of Riverdance The 20th Anniversary World Tour, the spectacular new production of The Phantom of the Opera, and Beautiful –  The Carole King Musical.

“This Broadway season is bold, exciting, fresh, and full of high energy,” said Judith Lisi, president and CEO of the Straz Center. “I don’t know who is more excited about this line up — us or our audiences. We can’t wait to see these blockbuster hits, and we are happy that we’ve been able to bring back a few audience favorites, as well. What an extraordinary season we have ahead.”

The 2017-2018 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay season is presented in the Straz Center’s acoustically perfect Morsani Hall, the largest on the west coast of Florida, with more than 2,600 seats. The season features:

On Your Feet!

Oct. 24-29, 2017

From their humble beginnings in Cuba, Emilio and Gloria Estefan came to America and broke through all barriers to become a crossover sensation at the very top of the pop music world. But just when they thought they had it all, they almost lost everything. From international superstardom to life-threatening tragedy, On Your Feet! takes you behind the music and inside the real story of this record-making and groundbreaking couple who, in the face of adversity, found a way to end up on their feet.

Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and an original book by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), On Your Feet! features some of the most iconic songs of the past quarter-century — and one of the most inspiring stories in music history.

Fun Home

Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2017

Every once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can.  The “groundbreaking,”1 “exquisite”2 and “unforgettable”3 new musical Fun Home was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical and making history along the way. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, “Fun Home is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway.”  (The New York Times)

Love Never Dies

Dec. 12-17, 2017

The ultimate love story continues in Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York. In this new, electrically charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love.

Love Never Dies is a dazzling new production, which takes audiences on a thrilling rollercoaster ride of intrigue, obsession and romance. Be seduced by the beautiful, sometimes magical and poetic, sometimes joyful, and occasionally melancholic score. Don’t miss this magnificent continuation of one of the world’s greatest love stories as it makes its premiere in Tampa.

School of Rock

Jan. 2-7, 2018

School of Rock is a New York Times Critics’ Pick and “an inspiring jolt of energy, joy and mad skillz!” (Entertainment Weekly). Based on the hit film, this hilarious new musical follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. This high-octane smash features 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, all the original songs from the movie and musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band playing their instruments live on stage. Vanity Fair raves, “fists of all ages shall be pumping!”

The Color Purple

March 6-11, 2018

The Color Purple is the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival! Hailed as “a direct hit to the heart” (The Hollywood Reporter), this joyous American classic conquered Broadway in an all-new “ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold” (The New York Times) directed by Tony winner John Doyle.

With a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, The Color Purple gives an exhilarating new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize-winning story.

Don’t miss this stunning re-imagining of an epic story about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South. It’s the musical sensation that New York Magazine calls “one of the greatest revivals ever.” Experience the exhilarating power of this Tony-winning triumph!

The Bodyguard

March 20-25, 2018

Based on the smash hit film, the award-winning musical will star Grammy Award nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox!

Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from and unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. A breathtakingly romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a host of irresistible classics including “Queen of the Night,” “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – “I Will Always Love You.”

Waitress

April 24-29, 2018

Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by five-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland). “It’s an empowering musical of the highest order!” raves the Chicago Tribune.

Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, Waitress tells the story of Jenna – a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

Waitress is a little slice of heaven!” says Entertainment Weekly and “a monumental contribution to Broadway!” according to Marie Claire. Don’t miss this uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood and the magic of a well-made pie.

Broadway encore’s

The Book of Mormon

Dec. 5-10, 2017

The New York Times calls it “the best musical of this century.” The Washington Post says, “It is the          kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.” And Entertainment Weekly says, “Grade A: the   funniest musical of all time.” Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show calls it “Genius. Brilliant. Phenomenal.” It’s The Book of Mormon, the nine-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical.

This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Now with standing room only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, The Book of Mormon has truly become an international sensation.

Contains explicit language.

Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour

Jan. 19-21, 2018

The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand in Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song.  Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland – in rock, music, theatre and film – nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance. Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour is composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, and comes directly to North America from a sold out run across Europe and Asia

The Phantom of the Opera

Feb. 14-25, 2018

Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera will return to Tampa as part of a brand new North American Tour. Critics are raving that this breathtaking production is “bigger and better than ever before” and features a brilliant new scenic design by Paul Brown, Tony Award-winning original costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Tony Award-winner Paule Constable, new choreography by Scott Ambler, and new staging by director Laurence Connor. The production, overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh, boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score – with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask Of You,” and “Masquerade” – will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

March 27-April 1, 2018

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the Tony and Grammy Award-winning inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

The 2017-2018 Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay series is presented by the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Straz Center Annual Members are given first priority for new season tickets. New season ticket orders will be handled in the order they are received. For more information, email the Straz Center at tickets@strazcenter.org or call the Straz Center Ticket Sales Office at 813.229.STAR (7827) or outside the Tampa Bay area at 800.955.1045 or visit www.strazcenter.org. Group tickets are also on sale now and individual show tickets will go on sale at a later date to be announced.