Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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20 years of THE LION KING

On November 13, 1997, THE LION KING opened on Broadway.  It would go on to win six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical.  Today it celebrates its 20th Birthday!  It has played 8,325 performances on Broadway.

This coming April the entire Serengeti will come to life inside the newly renovated Robinson Performance Hall when Celebrity Attractions brings this Disney production to Little Rock!

More than 90 million people around the world have experienced the awe-inspiring visual artistry, the unforgettable music, and the uniquely theatrical storytelling of this Broadway spectacular “one of the most breathtaking and beloved productions ever to grace the stage.

THE LION KING brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway.  Tony Award®-winning director Julie Taymor brings to life a story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals.  THE LION KING also features the extraordinary work of Tony Award®-winning choreographer Garth Fagan and some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award®-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice.

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Four other musicals join THE LION KING in 2017-2018 Celebrity Attractions lineup

lion-king-ca-logoIn 2016, it was announced that Celebrity Attractions would bring The Lion King to Little Rock’s Robinson Center Performance Hall during the 2017-2018 season.

Now the dates for that show have been announced, as have the names and dates for four other musicals.

The Lion King, winner of the 1998 Tony Award for Best Musical, will play in Little Rock from April 18 through May 6, 2018.

The season will kick off with Kinky Boots, which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical (playing October 13-15, 2017).  The 1987 Tony winning Best Musical Les Miserables returns to Little Rock from November 29 through December 3, 2017.

The stage version of Dirty Dancing will not be put in a corner, but it will be put on Robinson’s stage from March 16 to 18, 2018.  The season will conclude with Tony winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.  It will play from May 29 through June 3, 2018.

The remaining shows of the 2016-2017 are The Phantom of the OperaRiverdance, and Motown-The Musical.  Phantom, the 1988 Tony winner for Best Musical, plays March 8 through 19.  Riverdance‘s 20th anniversary tour plays in Little Rock from April 14 through 16.  Motown will rock Little Rock from June 21 through 25.


Happy Birthday to PHANTOM – 6 weeks until it arrives in Little Rock

The-Phantom-of-the-Opera-North-American-Tour (1)29 years ago today, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA opened on Broadway.  It is still going strong at the Majestic Theatre.

Of course, Little Rock theatregoers will not have to wait much longer to see PHANTOM at the new Robinson Center Performance Hall.  It will be here from March 8-19. Producer Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, will come to Little Rock as part of a brand new North American Tour.

The production will be the largest musical to play in the building ever.  It will eclipse Beauty and the Beast and Wicked, which both have played at Robinson twice.

The musical, based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book & lyrics by Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe and Mr. Lloyd Webber.  The production was produced by Cameron Mackintosh and directed by Harold Prince.

After opening in London in 1986, The Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway in January 1988. It is still running over 27 years later. Phantom is the longest running show in Broadway history.  Nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 1988, it won seven: Best Musical, Actor in a Musical (Michael Crawford), Featured Actress in a Musical (Judy Kaye), Director of a Musical (Harold Prince), Scenic Design (Maria Bjornson), Costume Design (Bjornson) and Lighting Design (Andrew Bridge).

Hailed by critics as “bigger and better than ever before,” this production boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier, new scenic and lighting designs, new staging and choreography. The beloved story and thrilling score will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this PHANTOM one of the largest productions now on tour.

Celebrity Attractions is bringing PHANTOM to Little Rock.  Ticket information can be found here.


Phantom Turns 12,000

The-Phantom-of-the-Opera-North-American-Tour (1)Yesterday in New York City, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA gave its 12,000 performance.  It has run nearly 29 years, and is still going.

Of course, Little Rock theatregoers will not have to wait much longer to see PHANTOM at the new Robinson Center Performance Hall.  It will be here from March 8-19. Producer Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, will come to Little Rock as part of a brand new North American Tour.

Hailed by critics as “bigger and better than ever before,” this production boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier, new scenic and lighting designs, new staging and choreography. The beloved story and thrilling score will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this PHANTOM one of the largest productions now on tour.

Celebrity Attractions is bringing PHANTOM to Little Rock.  Ticket information can be found here.


RobinsoNovember: The Ten Tenors in concert tonight

ten-tenors-rcmhTonight is the first vocal event at the new Robinson Center.  And what better way to test the new acoustics than the vocal stylings of ten tenors?

Home for the Holidays is a magical experience for the whole family that will dazzle, delight and captivate audiences. Join Australia’s rockstars of the opera as they amaze and enthrall with their unique selection of traditional and contemporary seasonal favorites. With soaring versions of Joy to the World, Sleigh Ride, White Christmas, Amazing Grace, Winter Wonderland, Feliz Navidad and many more, Home for the Holidays is the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of the season.

The TEN Tenors are undoubtedly one of Australia’s most successful touring entertainment groups of all time, with more than 90 million people worldwide witnessing their unmistakable charm, camaraderie and vocal power.  Following 17 years of sell-out performances across the globe, including more than 2000 of their own headline concerts, THE TEN TENORS have cemented their place as one of the world’s most loved classically based contemporary music groups.

Tickets are available at Celebrity Attractions’ website.


Arf – Celebrity Attractions brings ANNIE here this weekend

AnnieCelebrity Attractions is proud to present the new U.S. National Tour of ANNIE February 19-21 at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.   Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 19th time, this production of ANNIE is a brand new physical incarnation of the iconic Tony Award®-winning original.

ANNIE has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards® for their work.   Choreography is by Liza Gennaro, who will incorporate selections from her father Peter Gennaro’s 1977 Tony Award®-winning choreography.

The production features a 25 member company: in the title role of Annie is Heidi Gray, an 11-year-old actress from the Augusta, GA area, making her tour debut. Gilgamesh Taggett stars as Oliver Warbucks.  In the role of Miss Hannigan is Lynn Andrews.  Also starring in the tour are Chloe Tiso as Grace, Garrett Deagon as Rooster, Lucy Werner as Lily and Jeffrey B. Duncan as FDR.  Macy and Sunny, rescue terriers, star as Sandy.

The orphans are Sage Bentley as Tessie, Bridget Carly Marsh as July, Molly Rose Meredith as Pepper, Emily Moreland as Kate, Annabelle Wachtel as Molly and Casey Watkins as Duffy.

The original production of ANNIE opened April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin).  The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever.  It ran for 2,377 performances after it first opened, and has been performed in 28 languages and has been running somewhere around the world for 37 years.

The beloved score for ANNIE includes “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

Welcomed by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, ANNIE takes the stage February 19-21 at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of Maumelle High School.  The performance schedule is Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets are now on sale and are priced $32, $52, and $67.  Tickets are available by phone at (501) 244-8800 or (800) 982-ARTS (2787) or online at www.ticketmaster.com.  Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more by calling (501) 492-3312.

Get social with Celebrity Attractions by becoming a fan on Facebook.com/BWayLR.  Follow the Little Rock engagement of ANNIE on Twitter.com/BwayLittleRock or join the conversation using #AnnieLRANNIE is a part of the 2015-2016 Broadway Season which concludes with RAGTIME.   Celebrity Attractions is proud to have KATV and the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce as sponsors for this spectacular season.  For more information, visit www.CelebrityAttractions.com.


15 Highlights of 2015 – Robinson Center Renovation Tops Out

LRCV 1The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB), members of the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission (LRA&P), local officials, and members of the design and construction teams hosted a topping out ceremony July 1, 2015 at 10:00 AM for the Robinson Center’s new conference facility, signifying a one–‐year milestone in the 28–‐month, $70 million renovation and expansion project.

Following a press conference and ceremonial beam signing held on the western side of the Robinson Center, local media and special guests were given tours of the magnificent ballroom platform and conference center located on Robinson’s north side. This new addition not only provides some of the most dramatic enhancements of the project, but will also provide groups with spectacular views of the Arkansas River and the city’s illuminated bridges.

Along with additional meeting and pre–‐function space situated above its ballroom, the new conference center will also provide a new connection to the DoubleTree Hotel, with an adjoining lobby and additional pre–‐function space.

Robinson Center will reopen in November 2016.  The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will return its Masterworks and Pops series to Robinson. Ballet Arkansas will perform The Nutcracker there in December 2016.  Celebrity Attractions will bring Broadway back to Robinson (on Broadway, no less) next season as well.  They have already announced The Phantom of the Opera for March 2017.

LRCV 5For more information on the Robinson Center Second Act renovation and expansion project, visit http://www.RobinsonCenterSecondAct.com.

Robinson Construction Facts to Date:

  • Nearly 10,000 tons of material have been recycled, representing 91% of the waste material diverted 1,216 tons of steel has been erected
  • 2,300 cubic yards of concrete has been placed
  • 470 individuals have gone through CDI/Hunt Safety Orientation
  • 73% of the project subcontractors are local