The oh-so-hip Broadway musical "Once," the charming fable "Peter and the Starcatcher" and the return of the insanely popular "The Book of Mormon" are the highlights of the appealing 2013-14 SHN Broadway series.

"Once," hailed by critics as the best thing to happen to Broadway in ages, is a valentine to the culture of street buskers in Dublin, Ireland. A bittersweet love story performed by an ensemble of actor/musicians, it's a refreshingly quirky romance that defies expectations. With a book by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, renowned for "The Walworth Farce," this is one movie-to-stage adaptation that stands apart from the crowd.

Gavin Creel and Derrick Williams in the national touring company of "Book of Mormon."Photo; Joan Marcus/SHNSF
Gavin Creel and Derrick Williams in the national touring company of "Book of Mormon." Photo; Joan Marcus/SHNSF ( Joan Marcus )

Of the show's irresistible wistfulness, the New York Times noted: —‰'Once' uses song and dance in a way I've never experienced in an American musical (even if its sound will be familiar to alternative radio listeners): to convey a beautiful shimmer of might-have-been regret."

Directed by the inventive John Tiffany -- also famed for "Black Watch," which is coming to ACT this month -- the show nabbed eight Tony Awards, including best musical. "Once" will pluck your heartstrings June 17-July 13, 2014.


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"Peter and the Starcatcher" is a clever prequel to "Peter Pan" for grown-ups and a trip to Neverland that you may never forget. A small company of actors leaps through more than 100 roles in a thrillingly inventive celebration of the craft of storytelling. Directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, this fairy-tale romp puts the buckle back in the swash. The winner of five Tony Awards, "Peter" flies into San Francisco from Nov. 5 to Dec. 1.

"Mormon," the unstoppable pop culture juggernaut from the makers of "South Park," played a record-breaking five-week run last year. The utterly audacious and unpolitically correct musical journey, which spins around two hapless Mormon missionaries in Uganda, sold out in hours the last time around. So keen was the demand for tickets that some scalpers charged $900 a pop. This return engagement runs Nov. 27-Jan. 19, 2014.

The season also includes "Porgy and Bess" (Nov. 10-Dec. 8), the celebrated and controversial revival of the Gershwin masterpiece by Diane Paulus ("Hair," "Amaluna," the Tony-nominated revival of "Pippin") and Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks ("Topdog/Underdog"); and the world premiere pre-Broadway tryout of the Carole King homage "Beautiful" (Sept. 24-Oct. 20).

One show remains to be announced.

Subscriptions, which range from $167.50 to $542.50, currently are on sale for renewals only. New subscriptions go on sale June 3. Single tickets prices have yet to be announced. For details, call 888-746-1799 or go to www.shnsf.com.

Contact Karen D'Souza at 408-271-3772. Read her at www.mercurynews.com/karen-dsouza, follow her at Twitter.com/KarenDSouza4 and like her at Facebook.com/Dsouzatheaterpage.