Fans of traditional musicals: get out your calendars now, because the upcoming stage season brings a large number of song-and-dance shows — and many of them are New York hits making their New Orleans debut, starting this week with the Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS) production of The Drowsy Chaperone (Sept. 30-Oct. 16), starring several local favorites (Ricky Graham, Janet Shea, Brian Peterson). Also on JPAS's schedule: Fiddler on the Roof (Oct. 22-30); the latest Nunsense variant, the gruesomely-titled Nunset Boulevard (Jan. 6-22, 2012); the 1960s-set good-time shows Hairspray (Jan. 28-Feb. 5, 2012) and The Bikinis (Feb. 24-Mar. 11, 2012); the Tony Award-winning The Light in the Piazza (Mar. 16-18, 2012) and the roller-boogietastic Xanadu (May 11-27, 2012). For kids, JPAS is offering adaptations of the Disney films The Jungle Book (Dec. 2-11) and Cinderalla (Mar. 23-Apr. 1, 2012). Many of these shows will also travel to the Northshore and to Mississippi performing arts centers in addition to these dates. For locations and exact times of all shows, check the JPAS website at www.jpas.org.
While the Saenger Theater renovation continues (target date for opening is now late 2012), the Mahalia Jackson Theater once again hosts the Broadway Across America series. The Addams Family has come and gone (snap, snap), but next up is Rock of Ages (pictured), the latest jukebox musical featuring mainstream 1980s rock (Whitesnake! Foreigner! Twisted Sister! RAAHR!) spun into a simulacrum of a plot (Nov. 1-6). The season also brings a revival of South Pacific (Nov. 29-Dec. 4); the no-relation-to-Cirque-du-Soleil Cirque Dreams: Holidaze (Dec. 20-24); Blue Man Group (Jan. 31-Feb. 5, 2012) — and, at long last, New Orleans' first look at The Lion King, which arrives for a month-long engagement (Mar. 14-Apr. 15, 2012). Those hoping for The Book of Mormon or (shudder) Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark well, there's always JetBlue's nonstop flights to the Big Apple, or you can hold out hope for next year.