`Chaperone,’ `Purple’ in new season

May 16

We’re not getting sleepy, but we are getting Drowsy.

The hit Broadway musical The Drowsy Chaperone (above), winner of five 2006 Tony Awards, is part of SHN’s new Best of Broadway season, which was announced Wednesday.

“This season is for families and the young at heart,” says SHN president and owner Carole Shorenstein Hays, who produces shows at San Francisco’s Curran, Orpheum and Golden Gate theaters.

The season opens in the fall (no exact dates were announced) with the Oprah Winfrey-produced musical version of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The gospel-, jazz- and pop-tinged score is by Grammy-winners Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

A culturally diverse version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens next spring in a production full of actors, dancers, martial arts experts, musicians and street acrobats from India and Sri Lanka. The show has been a hit in South Asia and at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. The San Francisco engagement marks the show’s North American premiere.

Chaperone, a throwback to zany musicals of the 1920s, is slated for summer 2008, as is director Des McAnuff’s reinvention of The Wiz, which already made a splash at the La Jolla Playhouse last year.

“I’m having a love affair with San Francisco,” says McAnuff, who also directed the oft-extended hit Jersey Boys at the Curran Theatre. “We are reinventing `The Wiz’ with a multiracial cast and a wired Web sensibility. This will be theater you enter rather than watch.”

A fifth Best of Broadway show is still to be announced.

Season subscriptions range from $140 to $516. Call (415) 551-2050 or visit www.shnsf.com for information.

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