My wife, Savannah, and I will be celebrating our third anniversary by spending three days in Seattle. The first night is the highlight. We will be seeing “Wicked,” the musical based on the alternative history of the Wicked Witch of the West. Savannah has wanted to see this for years. We’ve had our tickets for months.

Now you might be wondering if I am as excited as she is for this show. The answer is yes and no. No, because I’m not as familiar with the songs from “Wicked.” I couldn’t belt one out for you on the spot if my life depended on it. I have the cast recording and a couple days to catch up. As for the yes …

It may come as a surprise, but I love musicals (and not just for their subtext). I was a drama club kid back in high school and even after high school was in a musical. (Grant Bushman’s “I Love You… For Now”) Look it up if you are interested in a fun show. The production is written for four actors to play 11 characters).

So I like musicals. While we will be venturing out of town for our anniversary dose of Broadway, last year we caught “Spamalot” here at the Capitol Theatre. That’s a show I think I enjoyed more than Savannah, so it’s her turn this year. If we’re lucky (and sometime we are) we’ll get to go back to the big city to see “The Book of Mormon” when it comes through. I have a lot of reasons to love that show, not the least of which is that fact that I grew up in Utah. If leaving town isn’t your style, there are four great shows coming up for this season’s Best of Broadway that you should check out.

For tickets and information, head to the Capitol Theatre website.


Dec. 31, 2012- Jan. 1, 2013

A show about 1960s Motown-style girl groups such as the Supremes. The original production was up for 13 Tony Awards and won six of them. The 2006 film adaptation won Best Supporting Actress gold for Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy was also nominated for an Oscar. The songs reflect the style of the time, so if you dig rhythm and blues, and that Motown sound, “Dreamgirls” is for you.

“Rock of Ages”

Feb. 5-6, 2013

I sense a theme here. “Rock of Ages” is about 1980s music, especially hair metal and classic rock. Hello? Somebody wrote a musical for me. They even end the show with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” which is not my favorite song but I would have a hard time not singing along. There’s a movie adaptation that came out this past summer starring Tom Cruise (gag) but something like this should be more of an experience than you could get from watching it on DVD.

“All Hands on Deck”

March 19-20, 2013

Definitely a theme going on. “All Hands on Deck” is a newer show that celebrates the music of the 1940s. So if ‘60s girl groups or ‘80s butt rock aren’t your style, this might be. I don’t know a lot about this show, but from what I’m reading it sounds like a fun time. The basis of the musical is the old Bob Hope USO shows, so it has a good pedigree. Plus, I’m a fan of World War II-era pin up girls, so if there are a couple of those in the show, I’m there. My wife understands.

Ed Asner as FDR

April 19-20, 2013

A one-man show starring Ed Asner as America’s longest serving president. Asner’s Lou Grant was before my time, but he might be more familiar to younger audiences as Santa Claus in “Elf.” I picture his portrayal of Roosevelt falling somewhere in between. I’m getting chills imagining his rendition of the “Day That Will Live in Infamy” speech. And while this production doesn’t follow the musical tribute them, it is a great follow-up to “All Hands on Deck.”

Give us a visit at Backstage Pass later in the week and we’ll tell you all about “Wicked” and maybe even more about our weekend in Seattle. Until then, enjoy the clips. Watch them all and there’s a bonus video at the end.

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• Backstage Pass is a new blog on covering pop culture from Hollywood to your backyard. T.J. Tranchell, a freelance journalist and Herald-Republic customer service clerk, can be reached at You can visit his horror-themed blog at