"The Band's Visit" and "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" dominated Sunday's Tony Awards.
But when will we see these shows -- and the other Tony winners -- in Chicago?
Very little has been officially announced -- Broadway in Chicago is busy selling the shows from the previous Broadway seasons -- but I've been calling around. And here's what I hear.
Let's start with the bad news. If you are waiting to buy tickets in New York or London to "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" on the assumption that it soon will be in Chicago, don't wait. Industry sources say that the next U.S. production likely will be San Francisco, probably early in 2020 (although those dates are tentative).
There are no current plans for a U.S. tour. "Harry Potter" is a global brand and the London-based producers now have their sights on Australia and Asia. The U.S. touring market is a lot further down their list of priorities, and, frankly, I doubt that the original creative team will be fully involved at that point -- and anyone who has been backstage at "Harry Potter" will tell you that touring that particular extravaganza will mean a lot of modification. That's a serious issue. The creative team -- led by J.K. Rowling herself -- is going to think long and hard before it delivers anything less than the full monty to audiences.
Chicago's best chance probably would be to snag the show after San Francisco, but you have to wonder whether demand will ever sag enough for the producers to want to move that show to another city. I was surrounded by Potter-loving Asian tourists in both London and New York: San Francisco is a lot closer. They will be running charter flights from Tokyo and Beijing to see the show.
So. Years away, I fear. Unless some high-powered Muggles at City Hall get involved.
The better news: "The Band's Visit" will be here reasonably soon. It's going out on the road next spring and I'll wager it will be in Chicago in the fall of 2019, although nothing has been announced. Don't expect a long run, though. Even though it's directed by our hometown favorite, David Cromer, "The Band's Visit" is still regarded as an arty show -- not some populist hit like "Hamilton."
That said, the Tony Awards did the show a lot of good. Its tour is looking very solid.
"Mean Girls" fans? You're fine. The show is going out in fall 2019 and will be here during that season. I'd imagine a three- or four-week run. Missed the Chicago tryout of "SpongeBob SquarePants"? It will be back, probably that same 2019-2020 season.
And "Frozen" is hitting the road in the fall of next year, opening in Los Angeles. I wouldn't anticipate a multi-month Chicago sitdown, but "Frozen" will be here within the first few months, probably in 2020, for a good few weeks. And it will do very well.
And although the Tony Awards showed no love to "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical," the jukebox show based on the life and work of the queen of disco also is planing to hit the road.
Critics hated the piece: audiences in New York are flocking to the party. I've had "On the Radio" on repeat for weeks.
In terms of the Tony-winning revivals, the success of "Once on This Island" has made a tour a distinct possibility. So look for that one in 2019 or 2020. And the show's producer, Ken Davenport, is Broadway's most savvy marketeer. You'll also see the first national tour of the Lincoln Center revival of "My Fair Lady" in Chicago,. although it's impossible to replicate the scale of the original New York production. I'm told that no touring decision has been made about "Carousel," my favorite of those three revivals.
My fervent wish would be that we saw "Three Tall Women," which I consider one of the best shows I have ever seen. Alas, I don't anticipate the 82-year-old Glenda Jackson and the Tony-winning Laurie Metcalf hitting the road. Maybe a deal can be made with the Steppenwolf Theatre to at least bring us Metcalf, and the awe-inspiring Joe Mantello production as a whole.
We can only hope.
Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.