Hairspray will open the 2021-22 season at McCallum Theatre, Dec. 3-5, in Palm Desert.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS BENNION AND JEREMY DANIEL
By the time McCallum Theatre raises the curtain on its 2021-22 season, more than 600 days will have gone by since the stage went dark in March 202 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new season includes an assortment of McCallum “greatest hits,” including iconic superstars, long-awaited return visits from show business royalty, plus a robust music and variety lineup and an impressive array of Broadway’s most cherished, long-running shows. Tickets are available by phone or online at McCallumTheatre.com beginning at 6 p.m. May 13. There are no walk-up orders. The box office located at the McCallum Theatre is open solely for ticket information and order support. The only way to purchase tickets is through the theatre’s official website.
“It is also important for the community to know that the McCallum leadership team has spent months and months working closely with public health officials, as well as our friends at Eisenhower Health to ensure that not only will you be safe when you return to the McCallum, but you will feel safe,” says McCallum Theatre President & CEO Jamie Grant. “Safety of audiences, artists, staff and volunteers is our top priority. All appropriate safety protocols will be well in place (and adjusted as necessary) by the time audiences return including new air filtration systems, touchless technology throughout the facility and state-of-the-art cleaning and protection procedures.”
“Additionally, ticket-buyers need not be concerned about receiving a refund should performances get canceled,” said Grant. “The McCallum was one of few theaters in the nation to refund every penny for all of the canceled shows in the 2020-21 season, and we are committed to continuing that policy should events preclude a show to be presented.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MCCALLUM THEATRE
Jersey Boys returns to McCallum, Feb. 25-27, 2022.
The official start of the 2021-2022 McCallum Theatre season will be from Dec. 3-5 when the hit musical, Hairspray comes to town with the joyous story of 16-year-old Tracy Turnblad’s goal to dance her way onto TV in the 1960s. The new touring production reunites the original creative team of director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell to prove to a new generation that “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” A special returning December highlight will be Barry Manilow’s A Gift of Love V, the hottest holiday show in the valley, with all proceeds going to support 25 local charities. Tickets for Manilow’s performances are not available through the McCallum Theatre website. They must be purchased online only at AGOL5.com.
The McCallum Theatre Broadway season continues with one of the most beloved shows in musical theater history, Fiddler on the Roof (Jan. 28-30, 2022 for five performances). This masterpiece, which beautifully depicts the story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and lives threatened by unthinkable turmoil, features an unforgettable score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. From Feb. 25-27, 2022, for five performances, the most successful musical theater show in McCallum history returns as Jersey Boys retells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their successes and struggles onstage and off as they attained international stardom. Finally, desert audiences will have another chance to enjoy the sellout sensation, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, when this exuberant tribute to the soundtrack of a generation returns to the McCallum for five performances from April 1-3, 2022.
An additional theater event is the zaniness of longtime McCallum friend Steve Solomon, who returns to the desert with an all-new version of his show, My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m Still in Therapy for three performances, Jan. 25 and 26, 2022. And two of the most delicious divas of the Great White Way will delight McCallum audiences when Patti LuPone (Don’t Monkey with Broadway) and Kristin Chenoweth (For the Girls) take to the McCallum stage on Jan. 18, 2022 and Feb. 18-19, respectively. For good measure, add in two other leading ladies who have won legions of fans from their appearances on Broadway and television: Vanessa Williams (Jan. 22, 2022) and Linda Eder (March 18, 2022).
The glory of the female voice is celebrated several more times this season with an extraordinary lineup of some of the most talented ladies of song including LeAnn Rimes (Jan. 8, 2022); the McCallum debut of Rosanne Cash, along with her husband John Leventhal (Feb. 17, 2022); the deliciously playful Storm Large, with her band Le Bonheur (Feb. 21, 2022); Jackie Evancho (March 4, 2022); and the legendary Judy Collins (March 11, 2022).
The new McCallum season is a big year for major tribute shows including two first timers at the theatre and two blockbuster favorites. Presented by the City of Rancho Mirage, Ray on My Mind is a concert/theater piece that brings the story of the great Ray Charles to vivid life. With an 11-piece orchestra and three sultry singers (a la The Raylettes), the show depicts Ray’s struggles and successes through interweaving his memorable songs with monologues (Jan. 20, 2022). McCallum royalty are honored in A Tribute to Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé, a loving look at two legends who considered the McCallum their home away from home.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOAN MARCUS
Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, runs April 1-3, 2022.
The show is created by and stars their son, composer David Lawrence and Tony Award-winner Debbie Gravitte, along with a 32-piece orchestra, original orchestrations and classic, exclusive video (Jan. 21, 2022). The greatest supergroup in country music history is saluted with The Highwaymen LIVE, a musical tribute to Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings on Feb. 2, 2022. And One Night of Queen brings back Gary Mullen & The Works (March 1, 2022) in a spectacular live concert recreating the look, sound, pomp and showmanship of arguably the greatest rock band of all time.
Two of the finest and funniest practitioners of the comic arts return to the McCallum to help us get our silly on this season. The fun gets underway Jan. 7, 2022 with the 6-foot-2 charmer and humorist, Jeanne Robertson, a YouTube sensation whose videos include “Don’t Bungee Jump Naked” and “Don’t Send a Man to the Grocery Store.” Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, who gave a shout out to the McCallum in its free Ghostlight virtual series earlier this year, brings his unique charm, comedy and charisma back to the McCallum for two shows Feb. 20, 2022.
The enormously successful National Geographic Live series returns for another season in 2021-2022 with a fourth program added to the roster. This engaging series brings to the McCallum thought-provoking presentations by today’s leading explorers, scientists and photographers. The new season includes: Secret Lives of Bears, featuring Carnivore Ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant who works in the expansive American Prairie Reserve to protect and restore iconic wildlife populations (Jan. 24, 2022); A View from Above, with former International Space Station Commander Terry Virts, who took hours of video and hundreds of thousands of still images from the station’s 360-degree viewing module (Feb. 28, 2022); Nature Roars Back, with wildlife filmmaker Bob Poole, who documents the rebirth of a lost Eden: Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, a jewel of Africa’s parks system until civil war almost destroyed it (March 14, 2022); and Skiing the Dream Line, with mountaineer Hilaree Nelson, National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurer of the Year, one of the first people to complete the epic descent of the “Dream Line,” considered to be one of the boldest ski runs of all time (April 4, 2022).
Now in his 19th McCallum season, Jeffrey Siegel’s Keyboard Conversations continues to delight audiences with its insider look at classical composers and compositions and their intriguing history. For 2021-2022, Siegel is back with two programs including: Celebrating Beethoven (Feb. 7, 2022) and The Glorious Music of Chopin (March 7, 2022). Additionally, McCallum favorite Hershey Felder will bring his one-man show, Monsieur Chopin to the McCallum for two performances Feb. 15-16, 2022.
The New Year brings An Intimate Evening with David Foster Hitman Tour back to the McCallum for three performances. On his last visit to the Theatre, the 16-time Grammy Award winner sold out quickly and he is expected to do the same this season as he is joined by special guest artists singing songs from his unparalleled catalogue of popular hits (Jan. 14-15, 2022). For pure, joyful nostalgia, nothing beats The Lettermen whose harmonies have garnered 18 Gold albums worldwide and a popularity that has endured generations. Their performance on Jan. 16, 2022 is made possible through the City of Rancho Mirage.
For the first time since 2013, the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis returns to the McCallum on Jan. 23, 2022. Comprised of 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today, this remarkably versatile orchestra performs a vast repertoire ranging from original compositions to commissioned works to masterworks. Keeping in the jazz realm, McCallum perennials Steve Tyrell and Chris Botti will return on Feb. 24 and April 9, respectively. The latest edition of Palm Springs Legends (Jan. 27, 2022) will feature some of the best tribute artists honoring the desert’s most famous stars including Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Keely Smith, Jack Benny, Elvis Presley, and more. Closing out January is the long-awaited return of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (Jan. 31, 2022).
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE TEN TENORS
The Ten Tenors sing their greatest hits from the past 25 years, Feb. 9-14.
In February, McCallum audiences can look forward to their favorite Aussies when The Ten Tenors come “home” to Palm Desert just in time for Valentine’s Day with a show featuring their greatest hits from the past 25 years, from “Waltzing Matilda” to “Nessun Dorma and much, much more.” (Seven performances beginning from Feb. 9-14, 2022). With one less singer, but no less talent, the amazing a cappella group, Straight No Chaser visits the McCallum on Feb. 23, 2022. The group has a massive international fanbase, numerous national TV appearances and proven success with CD releases. One other a cappella phenom hits the McCallum stage on March 10, 2022 when Voctave, an 11-member group hailing from Central Florida, brings their extraordinary harmonies to the desert. The group has over 150 million views on YouTube and has toured with some of the top stars in the business.
Early March also brings the return of opera to the McCallum Theatre as Teatro Lirico d’ Europa brings its celebrated production of The Barber of Seville to the desert. Gioachino Rossini’s comic masterpiece will fill the stage (and the orchestra pit) with beautiful sets, costumes and superb internationally-acclaimed voices (March 3, 2022). The legendary Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. bring their Up, Up & Away show to the McCallum on March 5, 2022. The undisputed “First Couple of Pop and Soul” will sing all of the songs they made popular with The Fifth Dimension in the 1960s and 1970s including “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In,” “One Less Bell to Answer,” “Sweet Blindness,” and “Stone Soul Picnic,” along with their own top selling hit, “You Don’t Have to be a Star (to be in my Show).”
They will be followed by another McCallum superstar paying tribute to one of the most iconic performers in history when Get Happy: Michael Feinstein Celebrates the Judy Garland Centennial comes to town in a memorable pairing of one exceptional artist sharing the legacy of another (March 12, 2022).
Variety is definitely the buzzword for the remaining performances in March which include: the smoldering international dance sensation, Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango (March 13, 2022); one of the most innovative vocal groups of all time, The Manhattan Transfer, celebrating their 50th anniversary (March 19, 2022); the 64th edition of It’s Magic!, presented by the City of Rancho Mirage (March 20, 2022); and a McCallum sellout in 2019, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain returns with an eclectic virtuosic repertoire that ranges from Lady Gaga to “The Ride of Valkyries” (March 21, 2022).
Producer Neil Berg has entertained McCallum audiences over the years with his fast-paced, entertaining salutes to both Broadway and rock-n-roll. In the 2021-2022 season, he’ll offer tributes to both with Neil Berg’s 102 Years of Broadway (March 22 and 23, 2022) and Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock-N-Roll, Part 2 (March 23 and 24, 2022). Finally, McCallum audiences can look forward to return visits by favorites Pink Martini with singers China Forbes and Storm Large (five performances from March 25-28, 2022). And the indescribably, irresistibly, incandescent Meow Meow makes her triumphant diva return to the McCallum on April 5, 2022 with her show, Pandemonium, an evening of pure chaos, with crowd surfing, gloriously subversive and exquisite music, and much mayhem, as seen on the stages of Lincoln Center, London’s West End, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Sydney Opera House.