Arts & Culture

Broadway tour collaboration includes Kauffman shows

Broadway Across America and Theater League have announced a joint 2011-2012 season of touring Broadway shows.

The Kansas City-based Theater League, a nonprofit organization, joined forces with BAA, a national-for profit company, in a unique partnership to bring diverse Broadway tours to two downtown venues -- the Music Hall and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which will open in September. The presenters will offer a season ticket to all five shows at both venues.

The season:

"Blue Man Group," presented by Broadway Across America Dec. 13-18 at the Music Hall. Part rock concert, part circus, part paint-spattered performance art, Blue Man Group grew from an off-Broadway show in the early 1990s to what it is now -- a global, multimedia entertainment concern on its first North American theatrical tour.

"An Evening With Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin," presented by Theater League Jan. 17-22, 2012, at the Kauffman Center. The two Broadway stars have enjoyed long stage careers that overlapped in the original 1979 Broadway production of "Evita," by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. LuPone played the title role, and Patinkin played Che. Each won a Tony Award.

LuPone also claimed a Tony for the 2008 revival of "Gypsy." Her many other Broadway appearances include revivals of "Anything Goes" and "Sweeney Todd" as well as the David Mamet play "The Old Neighborhood." Patinkin appeared on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim’s "Sunday in the Park With George" as well as "The Secret Garden" and "The Wild Party."

"Million Dollar Quartet," presented by Theater League March 20-25 at the Kauffman Center. This show opened last year and is still running on Broadway. The show evokes the only recording session at Sun Records that brought together four rockabilly giants -- Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. The score, naturally, borrows heavily from ’50s rock, including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Great Balls of Fire," "Hound Dog" and "Walk the Line." The show was nominated for best musical at last year’s Tony Awards.

"Jersey Boys," presented by Broadway Across America in May at the Music Hall. Specific dates have yet to be announced. Based on the rise of one of the great vocal groups of the ’60s, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, "Jersey Boys" opened on Broadway in 2005 and is still running. The show claimed the 2006 Tony Award for best musical.

"Next to Normal," presented by Theater League June 5-10 at the Kauffman Center. This rock musical (book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, music by Tom Kitt) depicts a suburban family dealing with a host of issues, including bipolar disorder, suicide and drug abuse. The show won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama and 2009 Tony awards for its score and orchestrations.

Season tickets start at $130. Current Broadway Across America season members can renew their seats by Feb. 28, while new season members can claim a place in line for priority tickets by calling Theater League at 816-421-7500 or by visiting www.