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Musicals Return to Thalia Mara Hall

The 2024 season includes ‘My Fair Lady’ and the 50th anniversary tour of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’

The popular Broadway in Jackson theater series, which brings national touring productions of classic and contemporary musicals to Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, is returning for 2024 with a slate of blockbusters.

The season kicks off Jan. 17 with “My Fair Lady” and wraps May 6 with “Pretty Woman: The Musical,” with a staging of “Little Women: The Broadway Musical” on Feb. 6 and a 50th anniversary performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” on Feb. 28.

After taking a Covid-era pause, the Broadway in Jackson series rebounded and in 2023 posted quick sellouts for “The Book of Mormon” and “Annie,” says Angie Galle Ladner, auditorium director at Thalia Mara Hall.

“This year we are seeing the season ticket holders coming back and purchasing season tickets well in advance,” she says. “I think this is a good sign of ticket sales coming back bigger and better than ever.”

Here is an at-a-glance look at the 2024 season.

‘My Fair Lady’

The 2024 season of Broadway in Jackson begins with a performance of the Lincoln Center Theater Production of “My Fair Lady,” which was named Best Broadway Musical of 2018 by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and The New Yorker. The production stars Anette Barrios-Torres as Eliza Doolittle and Jonathan Grunert as her foil, Professor Henry Higgins, with Michael Hegarty, who appeared in the 2020 CBS series “Tommy” alongside Edie Falco, as Eliza’s father, Alfred P. Doolittle.

“My Fair Lady” tells the story of Eliza, a young Cockney flower seller in Edwardian-era England, and Professor Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” The production is faithful to Lerner and Loewe’s original staging, but with some subtle creative licensing.

“Everybody has their impression of who Eliza is when they walk into the theater, and my goal is to show them the same person, but how she might live through me,” Barrios-Torres told BroadwayWorld.  “For me, Eliza at the beginning and Eliza at the end are very much the same person, but by the end [she] has learned how to harness her anger and emotion and passion and channel it into words.”

‘Little Women: The Broadway Musical’

Based on the 1868 novel of the same name—which author Louisa May Alcott loosely structured on her own childhood—”Little Women” follows the adventures of four sisters who are each determined to live life on her own terms. Alcott’s upbringing included lessons from transcendentalist writers Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and her family’s poverty pushed her to work from an early age. The stories she began to publish, first under a pen name and eventually as her true identity, helped her family and led to a life in letters for Alcott.

The national touring production of “Little Women: The Broadway Musical,” which stops at Thalia Mara Hall on Feb. 6, reflects the adventure, heartache and joy of Alcott’s life in an abolitionist family and as an early supporter of women’s suffrage, with a dramatic musical score to match.

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

The 50th anniversary production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” helmed by director Timothy Sheader and choreographed by Drew McOnie, visits Thalia Mara Hall on Feb. 28.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” is a retelling of the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Judas beginning with his time in Jerusalem until his crucifixion, and features Jack Hopewell in the lead role accompanied by Elvie Ellis as Judas, Jaden Dominique as Mary and Alex Stone as Pontius Pilate. The original concept record for the musical was the No. 1 album of the year on Billboard’s year-end 1971 Top 200 chart.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, this Olivier Award-winning production “has the explosive feel of barely contained ecstasy, filled with flailing movements that evoke old time tent revivals where snake handlers spoke in tongues and miraculously cured the sick,” backed with “a lush, glorious sound the likes of which you’ve never heard before.”

Pretty Woman: The Musical

The successful 1990 theatrical release of “Pretty Woman,” which starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, grossed nearly half a billion dollars worldwide by the time the dust settled. And the ambitious “Pretty Woman: The Musical” aims for a similarly rarefied position, with its score by rock musician Bryan Adams—the man behind the hits “Summer of ‘69” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” in the 1980s and early ‘90s—and songwriter Jim Vallance, who has collaborated with Aerosmith, Heart, Rick Springfield, Ozzy Osbourne, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner and Michael Bublé. 

Actors Ellie Baker and Chase Wolfe star in the lead roles in this musical rendition, which arrives on May 6.

Other musical events at Thalia Mara Hall this spring include “Heroes and Heroines,” “Heart Beats,” “Alluvial Soundscapes” and “Ultimate Fusion,” all produced by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, as well as the “Celtic Women 30th Anniversary Tour” and “Dancing with the Stars Live.”

“Thalia Mara had a dream when she started on her artistic endeavor with the auditorium in the 1970s with a vision of incorporating her dance school to eventually coincide with art and musicals,” Ladner says. “Broadway in Jackson has given us a chance to see her dreams come true and very much alive on stage.”

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