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Arts and Entertainment

The Broadway Series Is Back At Hammons Hall

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(Poster design courtesy Juanita K. Hammons Hall)
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Josh Inmon, who just started his new job as Assistant Director of the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts last month, visited KSMU’s “Arts News” this morning to talk about the revival of HHPA’s “Broadway Series”, which got sidelined for about a year and a half by COVID.                                    

“It's been 18 months since we have had a Broadway show on our stage, so we are excited. Seems like an understatement to say that we're just so glad to be back,” Inmon said. “(It’s the) 30th year at Juanita K. Hammons Hall, entering our 30th year of bringing Broadway to Springfield.”

Inmon noted that as the past 18 months have gone by they repeatedly have made plans, cancelled plans, rescheduled shows. It was with a palpable sense of relief that Inmon was able to announce the Hall’s Broadway Series for 2021-22. During the pandemic, Inmon said, “the arts, of course, were the first things to go away, and the last things to come back. So to be even having this discussion and be able to have our season tickets on sale and know that a season is coming is just a great place to be.”

The Broadway Series consists of five subscription shows this season, along with a bonus production. “We open our season with ‘Beautiful, the Carole King Musical,’ that plays December 3rd through the 5th, and that is a Springfield premiere. It has not been to our market before. But of course, it doesn't matter your age, everybody loves Carole King's music—whether you know it or not, everybody will recognize those songs.

“And then coming in February (2022),” Josh Inmon continued, “we have ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ a beloved title, but one that's not been to our stage yet.”

March 1st through 3rd, “Hairspray” will come to Hammons Hall. Inmon said that show “is one of the most requested titles that we’ve ever had.” The last “Hairspray” national tour played Hammons Hall fifteen years ago, in 2007. “And if you've seen that show, it's just nothing but joy and fun, so we can't wait.” Another much-requested touring production arrives at the Hall on March 25th and 26th: “Fiddler on the Roof,” which, Inmon said, last played at Hammons Hall about a decade ago. “This is an all-new production based on the recent revival directed by Bart Sher.”

The “Broadway Bonus” production this season is “Cats,” which will finally arrive at Hammons Hall in May 2022 after a nearly two-year delay. It was originally scheduled to close the 2019-2020 Broadway season at the Hall, but, Inmon said, “the pandemic had other ideas.”

The subscription Broadway Series season closes in June 2022 with another Springfield premiere, the musical “Anastasia.”  “Everybody knows and loves that film,” Inmon said, “so we're really excited to bring that title to our stage.”

Season subscriptions are now on sale, which provide tickets for all five of the main stage show, and the option to purchase tickets for the Bonus production of “Cats” before they are  general public. John Inmon mentioned the other perks season subscribers can expect. “You're not only first in line for those tickets, you also get a parking pass, which you know we have adjacent parking right there at the garage. So you get free parking, get to go see a show and then of course, you're in line for lots of other great shows that come to our venue.” Any patrons who were season subscribers for 2019-2020 have been held over for this season, he added.

Speaking of the “other great shows” coming to Hammons Hall, Inmon mentioned the return of the “Long Island Medium,” Theresa Caputo, on September 24. “Audiences really loved having her, so she's coming back.” Another non-Broadway performance that was postponed due to the pandemic will be the rock band Chicago, scheduled for November. Of course, the Springfield Symphony’s 2021-22 season opens at the Hall on September 18. “We're so lucky not only to have those incredible arts organizations that produce that great art, but also the patrons. Whether it's your symphony patron, a (Springfield Little Theatre) patron or one of our Broadway patrons, we're just so lucky for their support and for their willingness to go along with our altered seasons and stay in with us. It's been quite a year, and we could not do what we do without our ticket buyers and our donors. So let us say thank you to them.”

Juanita K. Hammons Hall will follow current Greene County and CDC guidelines regarding masking, social distancing, and other COVID protocols—whatever they may be as the season progresses. “We will communicate that information to ticket buyers, of course,” said Josh Inmon. “But we will follow their guidelines and do what we have to do to put on a great show.”

Both season and individual tickets to all Hammons Hall presentations are available by phone at 836-7678 or at https://www.hammonshall.com.