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Ahmanson announces its 2009-10 season*

February 12, 2009 |  2:00 pm

Patti_lupone_2Michael Ritchie, artistic director of Center Theatre Group, sounded just a little like Minsky -- the scrappy burlesque show impresario of the Ahmanson Theatre's Broadway-bound musical "Minsky's" -- on Thursday when he described the 2009-10 Ahmanson season as "a hit a minute."

The Ahmanson's  43rd season includes four Tony Award-winning musicals, the 2008 Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning play and a "season bonus" -- a limited summer engagement of "An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin," June 23-28.

"What's not to love?"  Ritchie said. "You look at that season and there isn't anyone who doesn't say: 'I want to see those five shows.' "

Do you want to see these five shows? Following LuPone and Patinkin will be  "Monty Python's Spamalot" (July 8-Sept. 6); Steppenwolf Theatre Company's production of  Tracy Letts'  "August: Osage County," which last year won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for best play (Sept.  9-Oct. 18); "Mary Poppins" (Nov. 15-Jan.10, 2010); a new production of "Dreamgirls" (Feb. 26-April 4) and Rodgers & Hammerstein's "South Pacific"  (June 30-Aug.22, 2010). Update: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said "August: Osage County" would run Sept 9-18

Estelle_parsonsBroadway and movie veteran Estelle Parsons will star as Violet, family matriarch of a dysfunctional Oklahoma family in "August Osage County." Ashley Brown, who originated the "Mary Poppins' role on Broadway, and Gavin Lee, who originated the role of Bert in the Broadway and London productions, will appear at the Ahmanson.

Ritchie said the fact that there are no new plays or musicals being introduced in 2009-10 has "nothing to do with the economy -- this season was put together a year ago, so that wasn't even a factor in our thinking. There wasn't a new musical out there that we thought fit with what we wanted to do, and was ready for us."

-- Diane Haithman

Photos: Patti LuPone, credit Ari Mintz; Estelle Parsons, credit Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times