By Olivia Richardson, Student Reporter, University of Akron.
October 17th was a truly night to remember as E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron welcomed back audiences for another sensational season of shows. Broadway in Akron is back with a bang for a 2023-2024 run with a show-stopping Broadway lineup, and I was one of the lucky ticket holders for the first show of the season - PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL!
For those of you not familiar with the series, Broadway in Akron is a four show Broadway season presented by Playhouse Square at E.J. Thomas Hall on the University of Akron campus. For students of the University like myself, the opportunity to see Broadway productions and world class talent right on our doorstep is incredible! Broadway in Akron is a guaranteed fun-filled night out and a chance for us students to escape the stress of our studies. With productions ranging from rom-com musicals like PRETTY WOMAN to the dramatic rock operas of last year's JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, there really is something for everyone in the series.
Not only are the shows a form of entertainment but productions like these act an inspiration for the many students preparing to enter the working world. From the professional actors on stage, to the orchestra players, the technical team, front of house staff and all those working tirelessly behind the scenes, there is an entire industry of work on showcase here which is extremely motivating to all students, especially those with an interest to work in this field.
In addition to PRETTY WOMAN, the full 2023-2024 Broadway in Akron season brings two more cult classic movies to the stage as well as a 'bio-musical' to E.J. Thomas Hall. November welcomes MEAN GIRLS THE MUSICAL to Akron, a musical reimagining of Tina Fey’s 2004 hit movie. Then THE CHER SHOW comes to town to wow audiences with a musical journey through the star's illustrious career. Finally, the comedic murder mystery CLUE based on the well known boardgame and the 1985 movie will have us guessing in April. Comedy, nostalgia, murder, mystery, and musical icon...this year's Broadway in Akron boasts an impressive lineup for sure!
And PRETTY WOMAN was the perfect start to this stellar lineup. This musical retelling of the hit 1990 rom-com was funny, sweet, and charming. As the audience filtered out of the theater after the final rendition of “Oh, Pretty Woman,” I could see the joy and fun of this show reflected on everyone’s faces. I heard several people express their love for the original movie and the care with which it was reimagined for the stage. While I had not seen the original movie before experiencing the stage version, it was an excellent introduction to a story so clearly loved by many and I will be sitting down to watch Julie Roberts in all her thigh high booted glory very soon!
Thank you to Playhouse Square for inviting me to the launch of a fabulous Broadway season here in Akron. Next up...Mean Girls. So Fetch!
For more information on the full 2023-2024 Broadway in Akron Series visit: playhousesquare.org/broadwayinakron