Five Things to Relish About the Stage Over Thanksgiving

Plan your theatrical December


Marc Pouhé (l) as Scrooge and Roderick Sanford as the Ghost of Christmas Past in Zach Theatre's A Christmas Carol (Photo by Kirk Tuck)

Lousy-ass pandemic's been borking our theatre and dance scene for long enough. It's finally time – at least postvaccination, and masked if necessary – for audiencing what's onstage in the meatspace world of local performance. Yes, the annual FronteraFest has been officially canceled for next year; yes, Rubber Repertory's Cooks a Wolf may never see the light of stage; and we're sure enough mourning right along with you, citizen. But, with the ghost of Shakespeare as our witness, these Austin boards will never go untrodden again! Herewith, five shows ready to reveal themselves right in front of you: two of them already up and running, three debuting the weekend after Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving Play

Good intentions collide with absurd assumptions in Larissa Fasthorse's satire as a troupe of terminally "woke" teaching artists trip all over themselves to create a politically correct, yet historically accurate, yet dramatically revolutionary, yet accurately represented and responsibly cast Thanksgiving play for elementary schools. Never mind any troglodyte-level conservatives, baby, these libs are owning themselves. Directed by Melissa Vogt for Different Stages, featuring Luke Wallens, Chiara McCarty, Greg Ginther, and Cassandra DeFreitas. Through Dec. 11. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 6pm. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282. $15-35. differentstagestheatre.org.

A Christmas Carol

The Dickens classic returns to the Topfer stage at the Zach for the seventh year, with exciting new songs and new cast members in addition to expected favorites, and all of it under the direction of that hardworking Dave Steakley. (Most importantly, Marc Pouhé is back as Scrooge!) Musical direction by Allen Robertson puts some rockin' wheels under this holiday vehicle, and the whole joyous spectacle will bring the traditional sin and redemption, the ghosts and the glories, the tiny and the Tim, until the much-awaited new year gets here. Through Jan. 2. Wed.-Fri., 7:30pm; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 & 7:30pm. Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar. $25 and up. zachtheatre.org.

Strange, but Perfect

In Carlo Lorenzo Garcia's new play, the year 2020 was a never-ending river of bad news in which marketing assistant Charlie from NYC decided to quarantine at his grandma's house in rural America. But, WTF, someone else was already there? Yes: a townie who's been acting as ... Charlie's grandma's caretaker? Weirdness, hilarity, and complex humanity ensue. Directed by A. Skola Summers for Street Corner Arts, featuring Natalie D. Garcia and the playwright himself. Dec. 2-18. Thu.-Sat., 8pm. Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd,512/479-7529. $25. streetcornerarts.org.

Unexpected Joy

Here's the regional premiere of Bill Russell and Janet Hood's musical about three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions, and a week together where ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are in the air. Directed by Lisa Scheps for Ground Floor Theatre, with in-person performances and streaming options, this is a show that "weaves folk-rock, pop, and blues in bringing together a family that hasn't experienced true joy in decades." Starring Michelle Alexander, Caroline Mullins, Amber Quick, and Cathie Sheridan. Dec. 3-19. Thu.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 5pm. Ground Floor Theatre, 979 Springdale #122, 512/840-1084. $25. grooundfloortheatre.org.


Kathy Dunn Hamrick: In Situ (Courtesy of Kathy Dunn Hammrick)

Kathy Dunn Hamrick: In Situ

After two years of having them perform on water and in the middle of a big field, what has acclaimed choreographer Kathy Dunn Hamrick conjured for her troupe back at Cafe Dance? What sort of kinetic visions will be visited upon those attending? "I'm into movement invention," says Hamrick. "If you want, look closely for detailed, complex, sometimes hidden movements and a high contrast between dynamics – like super-fast and super-slow. You might also notice that I break things up and then regroup." Modern dance, then, as this innovative company rocks it. And it's, um, what's it like? Says the maestra: "It's up to you to decide if my work is funny, poignant, moving, odd, eerie, disturbing, beautiful, or all of the above." Dec. 3-5. Fri., 7pm; Sat., 5 & 7pm; Sun., 3 & 5pm. Cafe Dance, 3307-B Hancock, 512/474-2639. $15-20. kdhdance.com.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Five Things ..., The Thanksgiving Play, A Christmas Carol, Unexpected Joy, Strange But Perfect, Dave Steakley, Marc Pouhé, Kathy Dunn Hammrick, In Situ, Ground Floor Theatre, Cafe Dance, Different Stages, Hyde Park Theatre, Street Corner Arts, Zach Theatre

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