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ORANGE COUNTY CALENDAR: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LEISURE

OCPAC to Feature New and Familiar

'Blast!' and 'Swing!' join 'South Pacific,' 'Kiss Me, Kate' and 'Music Man' on 2001-02 Broadway season slate.

April 11, 2001|MIKE BOEHM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Swing dancing, Riverdancing, Ann-Margret's dancing and marching bands both old-fashioned and newfangled are among the stuff to be strutted in the Orange County Performing Arts Center's 2001-02 Broadway season.

The eight-show season announced today features six shows not previously seen at the Costa Mesa center.

Two new musicals arrive with exclamation points but no story lines. "Swing!" (Nov. 27-Dec. 2) is a celebration of swing music classics made famous by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and others; it has been nominated for six Tony awards, including best musical. "Blast!" (Dec. 27-Jan. 6, 2002) brings to the stage the brass and pageantry of modern marching bands, which play classical pieces and pop songs while leaping through athletic choreography.

A more traditional sort of marching band--and a more traditional brand of musical--will take the stage in "The Music Man," (April 30-May 5, 2002) the story of bandleader and flimflam artist Harold Hill that features "Seventy-Six Trombones" as a showstopper. Meredith Willson's 1957 show is an oldie never seen at the center.

"The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (Feb. 5-10), stars Ann-Margret as Mona Stangley, madame of a house of ill repute that becomes the object of moralists' ire. After nearly 40 years starring in films and song-and-dance stage revues, it's the first theatrical role for the 60-year-old, Swedish-born star.

The 1978-vintage "Whorehouse" and "Kiss Me, Kate" (March 19-24), Cole Porter's 1948 musical about a warring husband and wife acting in a musical version of "The Taming of the Shrew," have not previously been staged at the center.

Returning standards are Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" (June 4-9, 2002) and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera," which will have a four-week run July 31 to Aug. 24, 2002. "Riverdance," the extravaganza of Irish step dancing, also returns for a nonsubscription engagement, March 26-31.

Seven-show subscriptions (including all but "Riverdance") cost $188 to $422.50. That represents an 11.1% increase per ticket for the cheapest seats, up from the current $24.17 to $26.86, and a 2.6% hike for the best seats, up from $58.83 to $60.36. Subscribers also receive preference for "Riverdance" tickets.

The center is sending renewal offers this week to its 14,000 Broadway subscribers. New subscribers may sign up starting June 11. (714) 556-2787 or http://www.ocpac.org.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Broadway Season

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Show Date "Swing!" Nov. 27-Dec. 2 "Blast!" Dec. 27-Jan. 6 "Whorehouse" Feb. 5-10 "Kiss Me, Kate" March 19-24 "Riverdance" March 26-31 "The Music Man" April 30-May 5, 2002 "South Pacific" June 4-9, 2002 "Phantom" July 31-Aug. 24, 2002

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