The Oprah Winfrey-backed musical "The Color Purple" will have its Seattle debut next year, as part of the 2008 Broadway Across America series...

The Oprah Winfrey-backed musical “The Color Purple” will have its Seattle debut next year, as part of the 2008 Broadway Across America series of shows at the Paramount Theatre.

Also in the next Paramount series is another Seattle premiere, of Broadway’s “Avenue Q,” a Tony Award-winning musical spoof of “Sesame Street.”

The Paramount is adopting a calendar-year schedule for Broadway touring runs, instead of the usual July-through-June season. In addition to the five-show subscription package, the season will feature three extra “encore” runs of returning shows that can be added on.

The main 2008 Broadway subscription series:

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“My Fair Lady” (April 29-May 4) — A new tour of the classic musical based on G.B. Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” spun off a popular London revival staged by Trevor Nunn for the National Theatre of Great Britain. The cast is headed by Christopher Cazenove (“The Duchess of Duke Street”) and Lisa O’Hare.

“Disney’s High School Musical on Tour” (May 20-25) — This youth-oriented show, based on the wildly popular TV movie “High School Musical,” has already been produced locally by Seattle Children’s Theatre and Broadway Bound. This will be a larger touring production, with additional songs and characters.

“Avenue Q” (June 10-22) — This still-running Broadway hit is late in taking to the road due to its 2005-06 residency in Las Vegas. The show stars humans and puppets, and lampoons TV’s “Sesame Street” with its risqué comedy about a city block populated largely by underemployed young college grads.

“A Chorus Line” (August) — This touring version of the current Broadway revival is a step-for-step facsimile of the original Michael Bennett landmark musical, about a group of dancers pouring their souls out at a tense audition.

“The Color Purple” (Dec. 16-28, 2008) — Based on Alice Walker’s best-selling novel of the same title, this current Broadway hit tells the story of a downtrodden young woman whose life changes due to her love for a charismatic chanteuse. Donald Byrd, head of Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theatre, created the Tony Award-nominated choreography for the show.

Returning as extra add-ons for the 2008 Broadway series are the Irish revue “Riverdance” (Jan. 29-Feb. 3), the ABBA musical “Mamma Mia!” (March 25-30) and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” (Sept. 9-Oct. 5).

For details: 888-451-4042 or

Misha Berson: