The Austin Chronicle


By Robert Faires, July 5, 2002, Arts

More Cooks to the Bakery

You can add another name to the list of arts organizations taking up residence in the former Mrs. Baird's Bakery at 701 Tillery. In the June 28 edition of this column, we reported on the Austin Circle of Theatres moving to the Eastside building, where Second Youth Family Theatre, ALLGO (Austin Latino/Latina Lesbian/Gay Organization), and Star Costumes have already set down roots. Now, the visual arts company IDEA is set to move into the space as well. If the name doesn't ring a bell, don't be concerned. IDEA is a new organization being formed from two existing groups: the Artists Coalition of Austin, founded in 1992, and Opening Closed Doors, founded in 1998. The two nonprofits hope to find new strength in unity, sharing membership and resources in order to provide greater support for artists "to explore and present fresh and challenging expressions in the arts." Looks like the bakery might make an ideal venue, what with the growing colony of diverse arts groups out there. Here's to the creative yeast that will lead more artistic expression and cultural breakthroughs to rise on Tillery. For more info, call 474-7799.

A Director for AMT

And while you have that calculator out, go ahead and add another name to the ever-growing list of new administrative directors at local arts organizations: David Jenkins has just joined the staff of Austin Musical Theatre as the company's first-ever executive director. He comes to Austin from Kansas, where he was executive director of the Fox Theatre in Salina and president of the Kansas Historic Theatres Association, a trade association he helped found in 1998 and now claims 31 members. Jenkins has experience as the executive director of three other historic theatres, has served as a consultant to 23 others across the nation, and has served on the board of the League of Historic American Theatres. Given the challenging nature of the season just past -- what with AMT's Man of La Mancha opening just after September 11 and Sweet Charity not drawing the crowds that its powerhouse production deserved -- AMT founders Richard Byron and Scott Thompson are, needless to say, very excited to have an experienced money man on board. Call 428-9696 for info.

Zach Alumni Report

Every year, artists who made their mark on the local scene leave our fair city, and we like to hear where they're making their mark now. Here's word of a few actors who made distinctive impressions on the Zachary Scott Theatre Center stage a few seasons back. Out west, the city's premier Janis Joplin channeler, Andra Mitrovich, is starring in another production of Love, Janis; this one is at San Diego Rep, and it reunites her with her co-star from Zach's staging: Aimee McCormick. Meanwhile, back east, on Broadway itself, Kenny Williams -- who got his start at Zach in Once On This Island in 1994, then went on to glory in the theatre's productions of Rockin' Christmas Party, Five Guys Named Moe, Dreamgirls, Gospel at Colonus, and more -- is joining the cast of The Lion King as part of the ensemble.

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