SEEN AT THE SCENE – MAMMA MIA!

At the Thrasher-Horne Center, the only thing more beautiful than our shows is our audiences. Our crowd last Tuesday night dusted off their white platform boots and boogied on down to catch MAMMA MIA! live on our Main Stage. It was a two and a half hour ABBA explosion which saw our sell-out crowd dancing and singing along to all their favorite hits. Pick up your tickets today for our upcoming shows at THcenter.org (especially our newly announced 2017-2018 Broadway Orange Park season) and who knows… you may be the next beautiful person to grace our blog!

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Your Definitive Guide To The 2017 Tony Awards

The American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Tony and Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, will air live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS Television Network this Sunday, June 11, 2017 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT).

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The Tony Awards, which honors theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

We are huge fans of Broadway here at the Thrasher-Horne Center and are thrilled to be able to announce our brand new 2017-2018 Broadway Season before MAMMA MIA! later this month. But in the meantime, we want to make sure you’re ready for the Tonys! Below is a list of this year’s nominees, along with a link to the official Tony Ballot so you can play along at home. Or if you’d rather watch with a crowd, head down to Sun-Ray Cinema in Riverside this Sunday night and join our friends at The 5 & Dime as they host their annual watch party! The party is free, but purchasing a drink voucher through the theater’s website ensures you’ll have a guaranteed seat at the show (along with a tasty beverage).

The New York Times has revealed the first details on this year’s Tony Awards broadcast performances including scoops that Josh Groban will lead the cast of NATASHA, PIERRE in a mash-up, DEAR EVAN HANSEN will perform ‘Waving Through a Window’ led by Ben Platt, and the FALSETTOS cast will reunite along with other (as of yet unrevealed and unannounced) performances.

What might we not see? HELLO, DOLLY’s Bette Midler. The paper reports that the production wants to perform the show’s famous title number, by remote from its theatre … an idea that’s happened in the past. But CBS has turned down, not wanting to start a new precedent. Click here for the full story, including what we might see David Hyde Pierce perform instead.

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Best Play
A Doll’s House, Part 2
Indecent
Oslo
Sweat

Best Musical
Come From Away
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day The Musical
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

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Best Book of a Musical
Come From Away – Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dear Evan Hansen – Steven Levenson
Groundhog Day The Musical – Danny Rubin
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 – Dave Malloy

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Come From Away – Music & Lyrics: Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dear Evan Hansen – Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Groundhog Day The Musical – Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 – Music & Lyrics: Dave Malloy

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Best Revival of a Play
August Wilson’s Jitney
John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Present Laughter

Best Revival of a Musical
Falsettos
Hello, Dolly!
Miss Saigon

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
Chris Cooper, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Corey Hawkins, John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
Jefferson Mays, Oslo

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Cate Blanchett, The Present
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo
Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller’s The Price
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Richard Thomas, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson’s Jitney

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Johanna Day, Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Condola Rashad, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Michelle Wilson, Sweat

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
Jenn Colella, Come From Away
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia

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Best Scenic Design of a Play
David Gallo, August Wilson’s Jitney
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
Michael Yeargan, Oslo

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Korins, War Paint
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

 

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Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson’s Jitney
David Zinn, A Doll’s House, Part 2

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, Anastasia
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Catherine Zuber, War Paint

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Best Lighting Design of a Play
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
Jane Cox, August Wilson’s Jitney
Donald Holder, Oslo
Jennifer Tipton, A Doll’s House, Part 2

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Howell Binkley, Come From Away
Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen

comefromawaycomefromaway2Best Direction of a Play
Sam Gold, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s Jitney
Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

 

 

Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!

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Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day The Musical
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Best Orchestrations
Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

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 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
James Earl Jones

Special Tony Award
Gareth Fry & Pete Malkin, Sound Designers for The Encounter

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Dallas Theater Center
Dallas, TX

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
Baayork Lee

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Nina Lannan
Alan Wasser

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Tony Nominations by Production
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 181212
Hello, Dolly!10
Dear Evan Hansen9
A Doll’s House, Part 28
Come From Away7
Groundhog Day The Musical7
Oslo7
August Wilson’s Jitney6
Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes6
Falsettos5
War Paint4
Indecent3
Present Laughter3
Sweat3
Anastasia2
Bandstand 2
The Front Page2
John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation 2
Miss Saigon2
Arthur Miller’s The Price1
The Glass Menagerie1
Heisenberg1
Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical 1
The Play That Goes Wrong1
The Present1

OFFICIAL TONY AWARDS BALLOT:
http://www.tonyawards.com/pdf/2017_Tony_Awards_Printable_Ballot.pdf

A Look Inside MAMMA MIA’s Suitcases

When Mamma Mia arrives on the doorstep of the Thrasher-Horne Center this June, they’ll be traveling with quite a large suitcase.

The hugely popular ABBA jukebox musical tours with a cast of over 30 performers, and they cycle through a TON of costumes throughout the course of the two act show. Below are some of our favorite facts about what it’s like to dress the ladies and gentlemen of Mamma Mia!

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Over 400m of Lycra is used to make the Super Trouper costumes shown above. One company in London has been contracted to supply all this fabric to every International production of MAMMA MIA! The MAMMA MIA! orders alone saved the Italian mill that creates the special fabric from closing.

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There are 45 Super Troupers (principal ladies and men including understudies) in the show!

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There are 72 principal costumes in the show – each of the principals has 3 understudies, making a total of 288 principal and understudy costumes!

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There are 390 ensemble and swing costumes!

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There are approximately 3,120 items of clothing for MAMMA MIA! in the theatre at any given time!

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Donna’s Super Trouper costume (shown above) is comprised of 24 different elements:

  1. main fabric
  2. sleeve & leg frills (which are meticulously cut and then sent to a pleating specialist)
  3. silver piping trim
  4. rhinestone strip
  5. eyelets
  6. heavyweight zipper
  7. belt beads (from Australia)
  8. belt backing and lining
  9. Perspex buckle (custom cut for the show)
  10. shoulder pads
  11. lining
  12. inner lining to support fronts
  13. sheer flesh soufflé for front panel
  14. silver Cord elastic for facing
  15. thin Lycra to edge sleeve and leg frills
  16. small star shaped rhinestone stones
  17. large star shaped rhinestone stones
  18. triangular iridescent stones
  19. round iridescent stones
  20. lozenge shaped glass stones
  21. star shaped earrings
  22. silver boots
  23. bra
  24. rhinestone hair clips

 

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There are approximately 33,000 rhinestones on the Super Troupers costumes, all sewn on by hand!

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The principal actresses, understudies, female ensemble and swings have 121 bras between them!

 

The costumes in the show seriously have to be seen to be believed. If you haven’t picked up your tickets yet, there are still great seats available at all price levels. Visit our Box Office inside the theatre, call us at (904) 276-6815, or boogie on over to THcenter.org to secure your seats for the farewell dance party of the year… Mamma Mia!

THRASHER-HORNE LONG READS: The story of how MAMMA MIA! became MAMMA MIA!

MAMMA MIA!’s creator Judy Craymer tells how this magnificent record-breaking musical first triumphed in London and then conquered the world…

As Creative Producer of MAMMA MIA!, my job started long before any script had been written. The story begins more than 25 years ago when I first met Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the songwriting geniuses behind ABBA. I was working for Sir Tim Rice at the time, who was collaborating with Benny and Björn on his musical Chess, and I was immediately smitten – after all, these were the men who had written ‘Dancing Queen’, one of the greatest pop songs of all time – but it was another of their songs, ‘The Winner Takes It All’, that first suggested to me the potential of an original musical using Benny and Björn’s classic compositions. The lyrics revealed a roller coaster story of love and loss that struck me as extraordinarily theatrical, but how was I to bring this to life?

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First I had to approach Benny and Björn, who were understandably a little unsure of my intentions. I explained that the project I had in mind would focus on a new and exciting story; it wouldn’t be a tribute show, or the ‘ABBA Story’, but a truly original ‘book’ musical. They weren’t 100% convinced at the time, but they didn’t absolutely close the door so I took hope.

So I sat on the floor of my apartment listening to ABBA late into the night. I may have driven my neighbors to despair but as time passed I became more and more certain of my idea. In 1995 my tenacity finally paid off. Björn said, “If you can find the right writer and story, well… let’s see what happens”…

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A year later I was on location with a film I was producing when the director mentioned Catherine Johnson. I was aware of her work as a playwright and, even better, I knew her agent. We met in January 1997 and soon I was confidently telling Björn that we had found our writer and that my co-producer Richard East and I had commissioned her to write the story.

My brief to Catherine was that no lyrics could change, the story should be a contemporary, ironic, romantic comedy and that if she listened carefully to ABBA’s songs, she’d notice how they fell into two different generations: the slightly younger, playful songs like ‘Honey, Honey’ and ‘Dancing Queen’, and the more mature, emotional songs such as ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’…and so the idea of a cross-generational love story was devised.

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By the end of that year Catherine had finished the first draft of MAMMA MIA!’s script and I persuaded Phyllida Lloyd to come on board as our director. Her background was serious, legit theatre and opera and her secret weapon was her ‘Dry Martini wit’. We discovered we all shared the same birth-year and soon firmly bonded.

It was unusual, if not unheard of, for three women to be the collaborative creative force behind what was to become such a commercial success. From a personal point of view, I think it readdressed the balance and had a great nurturing effect on the production. We were all happy to jump in and make the tea. Appropriately, MAMMA MIA! features three strong women in the story. Their characters are completely different – slightly bossy, a bit chaotic, extremely practical, and very high maintenance! We have a lot of laughs about who is who in real life, and, as time goes by, it’s a little worrying that we have become even more like those characters on stage.

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Suddenly it was time to give up my day job as a television and film producer and prepare for the white-knuckle ride of making the dream a reality: money to raise, a theatre to find, artwork to create, ticket agents to seduce, deadlines to meet. It was the summer of 1998 and we had to open by April 7th 1999 or we’d lose Phyllida, who’d been booked years in advance to direct an opera at The Coliseum in London. The suggested opening dates were April 6th or April 9th. April 6th happened to be the anniversary, to the day, of ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’ 25 years before. It seemed a good omen.

Although Björn was enthusiastic and shared the vision for the musical, Benny was a little more cautious and at any time both could have put an end to the whole project. It was a tense time, as their emotional backing as well as their creative input was very important to me. If they were going to trust me with their fabulous songs I didn’t want to let them down. Benny and I agreed that on our First Night one of us would be able to tell the other “I told you so”.

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By now we had a date for opening but we had no theatre. We’d been looking at smaller venues when suddenly the rather large and prestigious Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End became available, the very same theatre at which Chess had opened ten years earlier – another omen perhaps? But its sheer size meant that the scale of the production had to expand dramatically too, with cast, crew, set and budget all having to be reworked. A lot of fingers were crossed for the big night.

And so… April 6th 1999, a night I will never forget – the World Premiere of MAMMA MIA! The audience were charmed and one British critic wrote, “MAMMA MIA! could put Prozac out of business”.

Benny heartily accepted his defeat: with the entire theatre dancing in the aisles, he turned to me and said, “You can say it now”. I flashed back, “I told you so!”. We still joke about it.

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On the Road with MAMMA MIA!

The idea of MAMMA MIA!’s international appeal had never been seriously considered when the show was in its infancy, but with a certifiable hit in London came the chance to recreate the show in other countries, and over the past 17 years we have certainly done that. The statistics are mind-boggling and defy comparison with any other musical production in history.

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Our very first North American premiere was in Canada at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, where we were booked in for six months. The production ran for five years. The first US Tour ventured into the United States, opening at the Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco also in 2000. We were warned that America wasn’t as familiar with ABBA’s music as their European counterparts, so we should consider Broadway a cautious dream. Not for long. Having celebrated over 12 years and 5000 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre, MAMMA MIA! transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway in late 2013. As of its final performance in September 2015, MAMMA MIA! was the 8th longest-running show in Broadway history.

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It’s been a similar story wherever we’ve been: in Las Vegas the show ran for six solid years at the Mandalay Bay Theatre. Across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore it ran for four years.

And then we began translating MAMMA MIA! into other languages, beginning with the German-language production at the Operettenhaus in Hamburg in 2002, where 2.5 million people saw the show over the following five years. Similarly, audiences have flocked to hear their favorite songs sung in their own language in Utrecht, Antwerp, Moscow, Gothenburg, Oslo, Mexico City, Copenhagen, Sao Paolo, Aarhus, Rome, Milan and Buenos Aires, as well as throughout Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Japan, Korea and France. Benny and Björn certainly had their work cut out in the build up to the Stockholm production, which ran for over two years. We were delighted to launch the English-language International Tour, which premiered in Dublin in 2004 and has been enjoyed by over 5 million people.

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And then there’s China, Shanghai to be precise, where MAMMA MIA! opened in July 2011 and what an extraordinary achievement by the whole organisation that represents. It took literally years of planning and negotiating as well as actual political change within the People’s Republic to reach this goal…to reach the point at which MAMMA MIA!’s technical complexity and artistic excellence – leaving aside the challenges of translation and casting – can be staged and performed to the highest professional standards by an entirely Chinese company yet still under the direction of the British associate creative team who work on MAMMA MIA! around the world. With a Chinese language version of the show flourishing, the potential is astronomical: in effect, another 1.3 billion people or one-fifth of the world’s population now have their very own version of MAMMA MIA! to enjoy.

On the Big Screen with MAMMA MIA!

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And let’s not forget MAMMA MIA! – The Movie. What a thrill to work with Universal Pictures and the same brilliant team of Catherine and Phyllida, augmented for some glorious weeks in 2007-2008 by movie stars of the caliber of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper. The film had its worldwide premiere in London on 30th June 2008, in the city where the stage play had celebrated its premiere nine years before, and rapidly made history as the highest grossing movie of all time at the UK and Irish box offices.

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One thing I’ve learnt from seventeen fun and frantic years of overseeing and coordinating the many productions of MAMMA MIA! is that the potential and possibilities are continuously exciting and seem to be limitless. The way our film was received and taken to heart by so many people throughout the world seems to confirm that.

For me, the whole experience of MAMMA MIA! has been totally life-changing and would simply not have been possible without an amazing creative team and the trust and co-operation of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. My special thanks must also go to the wonderful actors, musicians, stage management, crew and theatre staff who make MAMMA MIA! happen on stages around the globe, night after night after magical night…

Enjoy the show!

 

JudyCraymer

SEEN AT THE SCENE – Todrick Hall presents Straight Outta Oz

At the Thrasher-Horne Center, the only thing more beautiful than our shows is our audiences. Just witness our crowd last Friday night as we welcomed Todrick Hall and his troupe of sensational singers and dancers of Straight Outta Oz to our Main Stage for a high energy musical spectacular that included laughter, tears, singalongs… and even a surprise on-stage marriage proposal (SPOILER ALERT: She Said Yes)! Pick up your tickets today for our upcoming shows at THcenter.org and who knows… you may be the next beautiful person to grace our blog!

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Todrick invited a few people on stage at the end of the show, including his “most energetic fan”, a fan celebrating his birthday, and a third fan who had her life changed with a surprise engagement from her fiancee.

How do you know Todrick Hall?

Chances are you’ve seen Todrick Hall sometime in the past eight years and may not have even realized it. From season nine of American Idol, to the Virgin America pre-flight video, to over 403.5 million views of videos on his YouTube channel, you’ve probably seen Todrick around.

Todrick Candy

At the Thrasher-Horne, we’ve known about Todrick for a while. Executive Director Denton Yockey remembers hiring him for one of his first stage gigs, long before his meteoric rise to fame had begun. When he was still a relative newcomer to show business, Denton cast a young Toddy as the Doormat in a Ft. Worth, Texas production of Beauty & the Beast. Now a full-fledged star, he owes much of his fame to people like Denton who took a chance on him early in life. As a result, Denton was able to reach out to Todrick’s people and arrange a performance of his brand new, fully updated version of Straight Outta Oz especially for all the Toddlerz in Northeast Florida.

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Todrick has an infectious sort of personality that seeps out into everything he involves himself with, whether it be music, movies, television, or stage. This personal brand is all over Straight Outta Oz. His YouTube signature style involves re-imagining fairy tales into modern mini-Broadway extravaganzas, replacing their tried and true musical standards with arrangements that speak more directly to today’s pop charts. So it’s no surprise that his first large scale musical outing takes the classic story of The Wizard Of Oz – one of the most well known and revered Broadway creations of all time – and spins it into a tale of Todrick’s journey from Plainview, Texas to the bright lights of Los Angeles, California (cast in Straight Outta Oz as Oz Angeles).

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Todrick Hall is one of those names that isn’t going away any time soon. Since landing in Los Angeles, he’s found representation with Scooter Braun at UTA (aka Justin Bieber’s agent), co-starred in videos with Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, and can count folks like Beyonce among his growing roster of Hollywood friends and collaborators (the Queen Bey herself recorded a video segment featured in Straight Outta Oz).

Todrick Lola

This tour represents a turning point for Todrick. His star is headed to the stratosphere, catapulting him to fame at a level equal to the very musicians and stars he’s spent the first part of his career both parodying and idolizing. And with his recent stint as the lead in Kinky Boots on Broadway, this should be the last time Northeast Florida is asking itself, “How do I know Todrick Hall?”

Tickets for Todrick Hall presents: Straight Outta Oz are available to the general public TODAY. Prices range from $29 to $39 with all fees included. Tickets and more information are available at (904) 276-6815 or online at THcenter.org.

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The Thrasher-Horne Center is a not-for profit performing arts venue and conference center owned and operated by St. Johns River State College.  It is located on the Orange Park campus at 283 College Drive in Orange Park, Florida.