Broadway brings the big apple to the Sun City


Michaela Roman

“Wicked” will take the Plaza stage for two weeks from May 20 through May 31.

Amanda Guillen, Managing Editor

With this year’s lineup recently announced and one of Broadway’s biggest musical blockbusters on its way to the Sun City, Broadway in El Paso brings a bit of “42nd Street” to 125 Pioneer Plaza.

Since 2003, Broadway in El Paso has been providing the El Paso community with shows that have graced the Broadway stage.

JAM Theatricals, a Chicago-based entertainment company that presents and produces Broadway engagements throughout North America, has teamed up with El Paso Live to produce Broadway in El Paso.

“Wicked” will be the last show of the 2014-2015 season and will take the Plaza stage for two weeks from May 20 through May 31.

This is the second time “Wicked” has headlined Broadway in El Paso–the first time was in 2012.

The 2015-2016 lineup has already brought excitement to UTEP students who look forward to attending every year.

Junior theater major Luis Torres has attended productions of both “Beauty and the Beast” and “Wicked” when they toured through El Paso.

“Live theater is so different from television and movies,” Torres said.  “So much work and dedication goes on behind the curtain every night, and one performance is never exactly the same each night. It’s a wonderful, unexplainable sensation that I love to feel when I go see a production.”

Next year’s lineup includes “I Love Lucy-Live on Stage,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical,” “Ragtime: The Musical,” “Riverdance: The 20th Anniversary World Tour,” “Stomp,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Headlining the season is the Tony award-winning musical “The Book of Mormon,” which has seen rave reviews over the years.

Vice president of programming at JAM Theatricals, Scott Sampson, said that shows are selected based on what the team feels will be successful in the region.

“We try to bring the best mix of new and old Broadway productions that would please the local population base,” Sampson said. “We determine this with the help of local people in the market as well as from our knowledge of how these shows have performed in other markets around the country as well as on Broadway.”

Sampson said that these shows, although very similar to the ones you’d see in New York, do have some differences. There are two types of touring shows, equity and non-equity productions, and some of the equity productions are very similar to what one would see on Broadway.

“Good examples of this would be ‘Chicago- The Musical’…another example is ‘Wicked,’ which is coming back for a return visit to El Paso this May, and ‘Jersey Boys,’ which was there last May, were also equity productions,” Sampson said. “There will be a surprise title that will be coming to El Paso next November that hasn’t been announced yet.”

The “Book of Mormon” will play at the Plaza Theater Nov. 10-15.

Sampson also said that the El Paso market does very well in relation to other markets that have Broadway seasons and that the future of Broadway in El Paso looks bright.

“We’ve been doing this for 11 seasons in El Paso and believe we’ll be here for many more seasons to come,” Sampson said. “El Paso really supports our series and loves the shows, and we love being able to bring them to the community.”

Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected]