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Rochester Broadway Theatre League announces 2013-14 season

Line-up includes "Phantom," "War Horse," "Once," and more


Still riding high on last week's blockbuster run of "The Book of Mormon," the Rochester Broadway Theatre League announced its 2013-14 season Wednesday night. The big news is that the subscription series has been increased to six shows from five. The line-up includes a new production of a modern musical classic, several new musicals, a beloved holiday classic for the family, and a critically acclaimed drama featuring some eye-popping puppets. It's a Hollywood-heavy season, including the three special shows that were announced separate from the subscription series.

"Ghost The Musical" will open the new season October 8-13. The show adapts the Oscar-winning 1990 Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore/Whoopi Goldberg film and features music by Dave Stewart (one half of 80's electro-pop duo The Eurythmics) and Glen Ballard (co-writer of Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" album). The clips from the London production included some eye-popping sets.

"War Horse" is the rare non-musical show to appear on an RBTL season, and it will run November 5-10. The award-winning production takes place during World War I, and the main protagonist is a horse named Joey. At the season presentation the actual Joey puppet - manned by three actors - came out for a demonstration. It is an amazing piece of theatrical magic, as the actors believably brought to life a full-sized horse's mannerisms and noises, everything from ear flicking to hoof stomping to tail swishing, and some astonishing man-made noises. If all the puppets in this show are this extraordinary, they will be worth the ticket price alone.

"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical" arrives in time for the holidays, running December 10-15. The show includes the classic songs from the animated film.

"Sister Act" is the musical adaptation of the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg comedy (between this and "Ghost," it's a big season for Whoopi fans). The story of the lounge singer who poses as a nun while on the run from a hitman will feature music by Alan Menken ("Newsies," "The Little Mermaid," "Little Shop of Horrors") and the clips showed costumes with a LOT of sequins. The show runs February 11-16, 2014.

"Once," which will run March 18-23, 2014, is another adaptation of an Oscar-winning film. This one elicited actual squeals of delight from the audience at the season announcement. The emotionally stirring show tells the story of a musician and a girl, and all of the actor/musicians in the cast play their own instruments on stage throughout the show.

Closing the season will be the 25th anniversary production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera," which has an extended engagement April 16-27, 2014. This production will feature new costumes, set design, and choreography for what has become the longest-running show on Broadway.

In addition to the regular season, RBTL also announced several "special" shows, which are not included in subscriptions. They are:

-"Rock of Ages," the musical featuring hit rock songs from the 1980's that was recently adapted into a movie

-"American Idiot," the musical based on the music of political rockers Green Day

-"Disney's Beauty and the Beast," the live musical version of the groundbreaking animated film

Season ticket packages for the 2013-14 line-up are now on sale for renewing and new subscribers. Get more information by call 585-222-5000 or visiting the RBTL website.