Bring the Zilker Summer Musical Home This Year

You can dance, you can jive to Mamma Mia! even if you can't get to the Zilker Hillside

Ooh, see that girl, watch that scene (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

As of May 26, you could still plan on seeing the 62nd annual Zilker Summer Musical starting July 10. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it's that it's good to have a backup plan (well, that and a survivalist-level stockpile of Charmin). So, if you're like us and the prospect of summer without the Summer Musical just isn't summer in Austin, here's your Plan B – or, given this year's show, your Plan A-B-B-A. Oh yes, it's the year "Waterloo" rocks Waterloo, the season of the "Dancing Queen," the time the winner takes it all: The show is Mamma Mia! And knowing me, knowing you, you're pumped, but what do you do?

Step 1. Start as you would for any Summer Musical trip: Pack the pic-a-nic. Fill a basket to the brim with brie, a baguette (Triscuits in a pinch), Greek pasta salad (a must, given the show's setting), grapes, and a discreetly stashed adult beverage (though you won't be defying park rules here). Or, what the hell, Nacho Cheese Doritos, bean dip, Twizzlers – whatever you wanna nosh during the show.

Step 2. Grab the grub and a quilt, and head for the Hillside – actually just your bed, but you can simulate the Zilker experience of lugging all your gear from your parking spot in the field by walking around the house seven or eight times before going into the bedroom. For the full experience, turn off the AC beforehand, and stand in the bedroom doorway for five minutes "looking for a good spot."

Step 3. Spread your quilt on the bed, which should have enough pillows piled on one end to create the Hillside slope. Then gingerly climb onto the pile and set up your spot.

Step 4. After waiting 30 minutes to 2 hours (depending on how early you typically arrive before showtime), dim the lights and turn on a lamp aimed at the "stage" – maybe a cutting board on the floor or a low coffee table so you have to look down at it.

Step 5. Start the show. With a laptop on the stage, you can stream the movie of Mamma Mia! (available on Hulu or for rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, and Vudu). Or make more of a production by fashioning your own Donna & the Dynamos from dolls (brunette Barbie! blonde Barbie! platinum blonde Barbie!) or action figures (Princess Leia! Princess Leia! Princess Leia!) and listening to a Spotify playlist of ABBA hits. Whichever way you go, stop halfway through for intermission, and PayPal a donation to Zilker Theatre Productions. That'll make you really feel like you're at the show.

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More Zilker Summer Musical
Zilker Theatre Productions' <i>All Shook Up</i>
Zilker Theatre Productions' All Shook Up
Take Elvis at his silliest, mix in Twelfth Night, stir playfully, and you have the latest Zilker Summer Musical

Robert Faires, Aug. 3, 2018

Zilker Theatre Productions’ <i>The Wizard of Oz</i>
Zilker Theatre Productions’ The Wizard of Oz
The 59th Zilker Summer Musical embraces all the joy in the familiar tale, making for a family-friendly show

Elizabeth Cobbe, July 28, 2017

More by Robert Faires
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
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Sept. 24, 2021

"Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams" Tells the Story of an Artist
The first-ever museum exhibition of Daniel Johnston's work digs deep into the man, the myths

Sept. 17, 2021


Zilker Summer Musical, Zilker Theatre Productions, Mamma Mia!, ABBA, Summer Fun 2020

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