Four shows now on Broadway and two that had runs last year are coming to Shea's Buffalo Theatre for the 2019-20 season.
Buffalo will launch the touring production of "Mean Girls," inspired by Tina Fey's movie of the same name. It's the fourth time a show has started its tour in Buffalo. The show opens the Broadway Series on Sept. 21.
"There's wonderful diversity in the programming — contemporary, classic favorites, shows fresh from Broadway — that will challenge, excite and inspire," said Michael Murphy, Shea's president.
The lineup follows what has been a banner season for Shea's. The theater reached 18,632 season subscriptions, shattering the previous mark, and featured "Hamilton," the theater's best three-week engagement ever.
With demand for tickets high, and a plethora of Broadway traveling shows available, Shea's has expanded its subscription series from six to seven shows. Four shows were offered when the Broadway Series began.
Murphy is most excited about "Come from Away," which tells the story of 7,000 stranded passengers the day after Sept. 11 and how a small town welcomed them.
"I am just so moved by that show," Murphy said. "It reflects on the actions of residents from a small town in Newfoundland who showed the world their kindness and humanity during one of America's darkest days."
Murphy is also excited about "The Band's Visit, " which won 10 Tony Awards in 2018, including best musical.
The story concerns what happens when the Egyptian Police Band is sent to a remote village in the middle of the Israeli desert, and their lives and those of the Israelis become entwined.
"The band's visit is a quiet understated show that beautifully reveals how strangers - even under the cloud of cultural conflict - can connect in a deep, meaningful way," Murphy said.
The 2019-20 Broadway Series
Sept. 21-27: "Mean Girls"
Oct. 15-20: "Come from Away"
Feb. 11-16, 2020: "Jesus Christ Superstar"
March 10-15, 2020: "Hello, Dolly!"
April 14-19, 2020: "The Band's Visit"
May 5-10, 2020: "Anastasia"
June 2-7, 2020: "Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville"
Nov. 14-17: "Jersey Boys"
Dec. 10-15: "Les Miserables"
Dec. 19-22: "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical"
Murphy has high hopes for the 50th anniversary production of "Jesus Christ Superstar," now touring for the first time in years with a new production.
He said the "Hello, Dolly" show coming to Shea's is "a lush, beautiful full-out production."
"Every once in awhile there will be a production everyone thinks they know, and then you go see it and it's, 'Oh, yeah, I haven't seen it in years, and now I know why it's still a classic,' " he said.
The family musical "Anastasia" features orchestration and lyrics by acclaimed composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who did the music for the movie as well.
"It's another production I would use the word 'lush' for, with costumes and computer-generated graphics and video projections that are just gorgeous," Murphy said.
The romantic musical "Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville" features a local connection: The producer is Rich Entertainment.
"All the parrotheads are going to go nuts for this, and the fact that it's got that local tie is kind of cool," Murphy said. "It's a fun show that has had audiences coming out loving it."
Also coming to Shea's as Special Engagements, separate from the Broadway Series, are the return of "Les Miserables" and of "Jersey Boys," plus "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical," based on the 1964 stop-motion animated televised classic.
Shea's planned an extravaganza to announce the new season Tuesday.
A singer and two musicians from "The Band's Visit" were flown in to sing "Omar Sharif." A performer from "Mean Girls" was on hand, and there were video shout-outs from Tina Fey and Jimmy Buffett.
Fifty-one Lancaster High School students were also on hand to sing "Welcome to the Rock," from "Come from Away," and the Second Generation Theatre Company was to perform.
The producers of "Margaritaville" sent some 400 beach balls to Shea's to drop during the announcement.
Season subscriptions range from $274 to $650 for the Broadway Series.