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Originally published March 4, 2013 at 5:00 AM | Page modified March 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM

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‘Secondhand Lions,’ ‘Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess’ in 5th Avenue Theatre’s next season

The new musical “Secondhand Lions” will have its world premiere in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2013-14 season, in a lineup that also includes a tour of Broadway’s “The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess,” and the new musical “A Room with a View.”

Seattle Times theater critic

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The 5th Avenue Theatre will kick off its seven-show, 2013-14 season with the world premiere of “Secondhand Lions, ” a new musical based on the 2003 movie about a young boy who is enthralled by the exciting tales two uncles (played on screen by Michael Caine and Robert Duvall) spin for him one summer. It will play at the 5th Avenue from Sept. 10-Oct. 6.

The show will have a book by Rupert Holmes (who also wrote the Broadway musicals “Curtains” and the “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”), with a score by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, who previously supplied the music for the 5th Avenue-ACT Theatre world-premiere show “First Date” in 2012.

And there is another new musical on 5th Avenue’s eclectic season slate: “A Room with a View,” based on the famed 1908 novel of the same title by E.M. Forster. Set partly in Florence, Italy, the multifaceted love story also inspired a Merchant-Ivory film.

Scored by Jeffrey Stock, with a book and additional lyrics by Marc Acito, “A Room With a View” received its debut run in 2012, at Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. According to 5th Avenue artistic director David Armstrong, a revised version will come to Seattle. “The show is very much in the spirit of the ‘Downton Abbey’ moment we’re having,” he says. It will run April 8-May 4, 2014.

The theater’s lineup also boasts national touring presentations of two recent Tony Award-honored Broadway revivals, along with three 5th Avenue productions of other well-known musicals.

The controversial show “The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess,” winner of the 2012 Tony Award for best musical revival, will receive its local debut on tour. This new Broadway staging by Diane Paulus makes both modest and significant revisions to the beloved opera, as adapted by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and composer-arranger Diedre L. Murray. (June 11-29, 2014).

“ ‘Porgy and Bess’ actually started out as a Broadway musical before it was taken up by opera houses,” Armstrong points out. “There’s more spoken dialogue and emphasis on the story in this version, and in my opinion it’s more what Gershwin originally intended.”

A touring edition of the madcap 1934 Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes,” featuring Rachel York as a swanky-brassy nightclub singer on a luxury liner, plays at 5th Avenue this fall (Oct. 15-Nov. 3). “It’s such fun show, and we haven’t had a production of it for 20 years,” notes Armstrong. That show also won a best-revival Tony, in 2011.

In addition, the 5th Avenue will mount its own revivals of Lionel Bart’s “Oliver!,” based on Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” (Nov. 29-Dec. 31); and “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” (Jan. 30-March 2, 2014). And the company will again join forces with ACT Theatre, this time to produce “Little Shop of Horrors” at ACT (April 12-June 29, 2014).

Seven-show subscriptions are now on sale: smaller subscription packages become available Monday. (Single tickets will become available in the summer.) Full subscriptions range from $149-$559 per person, based on dates and seating.

Tickets and info: 206-625-1900 or www.5thavenue.org.

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com

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