Yesterday, the Kravis Center announced its entire 2021/2022 season, which bears the optimistic slogan “Intermission is Over. Live is Back!” It includes dozens of marquee acts, including singers Audra McDonald and Kristen Chenowith, comedians Jay Leno and Bill Maher, and master musicians Itzhak Perlman and Cameron Carpenter. Cutting-edge dance productions are on the docket—mostly courtesy of the Kravis’ edgy “P.E.A.K.” series—alongside Broadway tours, orchestral series, lectures, film screenings and tribute bands.
You can view the entire season now on the Kravis’ website. We combed through the programs, and selected the five events to which we’re most looking forward.
Spamilton: An American Parody, Dec. 1-5
From its multiple South Florida tours to its ongoing run on Disney+, you’ve had plenty of time to catch up on the biggest theatrical phenomenon of its generation. Which means that if you’ve seen “Hamilton” and, like many young ‘uns, memorized its soundtrack, you’ll be in a better position to get all the jokes in this spoof by Gerard Alessandrini of “Forbidden Broadway” fame. Parody, they say, is the highest form of flattery, and Alessandrini expresses his appreciation of “Hamilton” through humor, and songs such as “In the Hype,” “The Fresh Prince of Big Hair” and “The Film When It Happens.” Lin-Manuel Miranda himself said he “laughed [his] brains out” after attending a performance.
Kravis on Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen, Dec. 15-19, 2021
The acclaimed “Dear Evan Hansen” might be the most poignant American musical since “Next to Normal,” another contemporary story of a modern family dealing with the psychic fallout of a tragic death. Teenage suicide and mental illness are central to the story about the title character, a high schooler who suffers from an unnamed anxiety disorder; the quasi-bully whose life is cut short; and the bully’s sister, for whom Evan pines. When a letter—written by Evan to himself, as part of his therapy—winds up in the wrong hands, it sets in motion a series of fictions and misunderstandings that will leave a lasting impact on the characters, and certainly the audience of this musical. “Dear Evan Hansen” won six Tony Awards in 2017, as praised for its jubilant music as it is the maturity of its themes.
Intersection of Lincoln and Parks, Feb. 24-26, 2022
This full-length play by Donna Carbone, which enjoyed its world premiere this year, reimagines the events leading up to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks boards the Cleveland Avenue Bus No. 2857 as usual, and refuses to give up her seat to a white man. But in Carbone’s telling, she ends up sharing her row with Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the last living descendent of Abraham Lincoln, resulting in a wide-ranging conversation about the issues of the time—and perhaps our time, as well. A cappella songs and protests are integrated into the play, with the audience encouraged to participate.
Steve Martin and Martin Short, March 4, 2022
Each of these “Martins” could fill a room the size of Dreyfoos Hall on their own. But together? It’s a match made in comic heaven where anything goes, a joint appearance predicated on the unpredictable. Favoring an off-the-cuff, friends-shooting-the-shit vibe, the actors’ nightly conversations are expected to take aim at Hollywood and address the “fickle nature of celebrity,” but every night is different—that’s what makes the tour so special. And, as is the norm for any Steve Martin tour, a banjo/bluegrass concert is part of the program too, this time an opening performance by Jeff Babko and the Steep Canyon Rangers.
Fela! The Concert, May 14, 2022
This season-concluding performance is not to be confused with “FELA!,” the full-scale, Tony-winning musical about the life and times of Fela Kuti, the composer, activist and Afrobeat pioneer. But it’s the next best thing: a celebration of Kuti’s music and legacy that honors both his joyous, danceable songwriting and the confrontational politics that undergirded it, complete with a live Afrobeat band, singers and dancers whose rhythms conjure Kuti’s own, and vivid projected images complementing every note.