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NAPLES — The Philharmonic Center for the Arts will offer the two bookends of the 2010 Tony awards next season: high-wattage musical “Memphis,” about the birthing pains of rock ‘n’ roll; and “Red,” a dissection of artist Mark Rothko’s creative conscience.
The plays won their respective categories in musical and drama, and “Memphis” has the added patina of having a Naples arts patron, Patty Baker, among its producers.
The Phil announced some of its major attractions for the coming season at the community report delivered Monday night to supporters and the media. The only tickets that will be available soon, however, will be the Broadway Series subscriptions. Those can be purchased beginning April 8 only at the box office or online.
Among the major names in that series:
■ “Memphis,” the Tony-winning musical the chronicles the 1950s germination of rock ‘n’ roll set to the meeting of a white radio DJ with big dreams and black club singer who wants her big break.
■ Two new productions of blockbusters: the musical “Les Miserables” and “La Cage Aux Folles.” The first is a 25th anniversary production of the musical, with new sets and staging under producer Cameron Mackintosh, whose credits include the original “Les Miz” and a current Broadway favorite, “Mary Poppins.”
■ “Damn Yankees,” a revival of the famous boys of summer tale with some of Richard Adler’s and Jerry Ross’ best-known tunes: “(You’ve Gotta Have) Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”
■ “Come Fly Away,” the music-and-dance story of four couples falling in and out of love on a sultry summer night, fueled by Frank Sinatra tunes and choreography by Twyla Tharp (“Movin’ Out”).
■ “Million-Dollar Quartet,” the re-creation of a true one-time-only recording session blending the voices of rock’s formidable pioneers: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
Three other plays are not part of the Broadway Series
■ “Red.” This British-produced story follows a commission proposal to the hungry artist Mark Rothko: Put your philosophical paintings aside to make money with a series of superficial murals. The two-character play digs deep into the philosophy of art, the tyranny of changing times and other topics to rivet both artists and art lovers.
■ “Love Letters,” the wrenching A.R. Gurney study of two characters meant for each other but on continually different trajectories. Hollywood veteran Eva Marie Saint and her husband, director and actor Jeffrey Hayden, star.
■ “The Lucie Arnaz Show,” starring the daughter of the late comedian Lucille Ball and bandleader Desi Arnaz.
The entire season isn’t set, but the preview also gave hints of some of the stage talent coming:
■ Jazz artist Diana Krall, a double-threat pianist and smoky-voiced singer with a number of top-selling discs to her credit.
■ Jose Carreras, opera legend and one of the fabled “Three Tenors” with Placido Domingo and the late Luciano Pavarotti. He will perform with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.
■ Fan favorites Johnny Mathis, the crooner (“Twelfth of Never,” “Chances Are”), and Frankie Vallie, falsetto king of the Four Seasons (“Oh, What a Night,” “Sherry”).
Three luminaries for its speaker series next year will be interview-show host Barbara Walters, TV commentator Bill O’Reilly and longtime talk show host Larry King.
Also announced at the Monday evening preview are two of the Sarasota Opera productions for the coming season: Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” and Bizet’s “Carmen.’ Classical music lovers can look forward to the return of Howard Shelley, the British pianist, performing Schumann; Naples Philharmonic Orchestra performances of the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 and a London Royal Philharmonic in a guest concert.