Broadway Past and Present Can Be Found In The Bay Area by Kevin M. Thomas

Coleman Domingo will be bringing his "Wild With Happy" to Theatre Works in 2013.

TheatreWorks has proven to be the training ground for many a pre-Broadway show. Tony-winning “Memphis” easily comes to mind.

With that being said, TheatreWorks has announced its 2012-13 season and it seems there’s hope for top notch Broadway productions – past and hopefully future. All can be seen the Bay Area without having to go to New York.

For as little as $131, you can see your choice of four of the eight productions, which begin in July (but tickets on sale now). You can also go whole hog and buy tickets for the entire season – or make your own season with 4-8 productions.

The season is a mix of world premieres and award winning Broadway productions making their Bay Area premieres.

Already established shows include “Big River,” a Tony winning Best Musical based upon Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn.” It is as heartwarming as it has poignant, with original songs from Roger Miller.

Tony nominees for Best Play for the past few years will also be at TheatreWorks. “Time Stands Still,” from 2010, is a witty drama about a female photojournalist and her foreign correspondent boyfriend who have to finally deal with their own emotions, after a life of dealing with issues from behind the scenes.

A Tony nominee from 2009, “33 Variations” also makes its Bay Area debut. This drama spans two centuries in a race against time between Beethoven and his modern day acolyte, both flighting the betrayal of their bodies as they pursue the passions of their minds. The Broadway production brought Jane Fonda back to the stage…can someone else this spectacular play it in the Bay?

“The Mounntaintop” just ended its Broadway run and will play TheatreWorks next Spring. It is the story of the last night of Martin Luther King Jr. . It’s

Angela Basset and Samuel L. Jackson in the Broadway production of "The Mountaintop," coming to TheatreWorks next season (cast to be announced). Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

humorous and magical and a daring rumination on life, legacy and conviction that connects each of us in a remembrance of unforgettable things passed.

The season also features two world premiere.

“Upright Grand” is the story of a father and daughter’s attempt to bridge personal, professional and familial hardships through their shared passion, the piano. This already had a successful reading at TheatreWorks and will make its premiere as full staged production this season.

The season’s most exciting entry for me is the world premiere musical of “Being Earnest.” Based upon one of my favorite Oscar Wilde’s plays and already once turned into a musical (“Ernest in Love”), this new productions transports the story of mistaken identity amidst class conflict to the 1960s. The book and lyrics are by Paul Gordon, who has successfully brought “Emma” and “Daddy Long Legs” to TheatreWorks in the past. Both those shows were highlights of their seasons and I suspect “Earnest” will also be the same.

To checkout the entire season and make your own season  package, go to www.theatreworks.org.