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Zach Theatre's Evita
Zach Theatre's polished revival offers food for thought in this season of campaigns and debates
Arts Review October 22, 2015, by Elizabeth Cobbe
"...The Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical Evita, staged at Zach Theatre under the direction of Nick Demos, focuses less on the politics of her and her husband's (Matthew Redden) rule and more on how they sought, achieved, and handled power. In the title role, Madeline Trumble commands the stage with a convincing passion..."
The X Files' Mitch Pileggi at Zach Theatre
What conspiracy brought X-Files star Mitch Pileggi back to Austin, Zach, and Walter Skinner all at the same time?
Arts Story February 4, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...On Sunday, Jan. 24, while more than 16 million viewers were getting their first look at Walter Skinner in more than seven years, the actor who's played that redoubtable FBI assistant director since The X-Files' first season back in 1994 was languishing in the ninth circle of theatre hell..."
Construction is starting on Zach's third performance space, its biggest yet
Arts Story February 11, 2011, by Robert Faires
"...Last week's winter blast did its best to put a chill on the Groundhog Day groundbreaking ceremony for Zach Theatre's new 420-seat stage. The show folk at this playhouse, however, would not be deterred from marking the momentous occasion..."
Zach selects an architect for its third theatre and starts renovating a fourth space
Arts Story August 7, 2009, by Robert Faires
"...What's the first rule of the stage? No matter what disasters may rain upon the theatre or your own head, the show must go on. And so it goes at Zach Theatre with regard to the company's long a-borning building expansion plans..."
Just in time for Zach's diamond anniversary, a pair of million-dollar donations
Arts Story October 31, 2008, by Robert Faires
"...This weekend, Zach Theatre will be commemorating its 75th year with a gala performance and party, but the venerable Austin arts organization will have more than longevity to celebrate. A pair of new million-dollar donations have arrived to support the theatre's expansion of its current facilities..."
Zach Theatre's Singin' in the Rain
This stage take on the silver-screen musical really comes alive when it breaks free of the familiar film's grip
Arts Review October 19, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...When Luke Hawkins' Don Lockwood sings that line from the title tune of Singin' in the Rain while dreamily splashing his way across the rain-soaked Topfer stage, you know whereof he speaks. The silent-film matinee idol has fallen head-over-sodden-heels for chorine Kathy Selden, and as embodied by Sasha Hutchings in Zach Theatre's staging, she is indeed a radiant figure who immediately takes up residence in your chest and beams warmth and cheer there throughout the show..."
Zach Theatre's One Man, Two Guvnors
In every respect, this production of Richard Bean's updated farce artfully crafts an environment of laughter
Arts Review June 16, 2016, by Shanon Weaver
"...Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors, first produced at the National Theatre in London in 2011, is an English adaptation of Il Servitore di Due Padroni (The Servant of Two Masters) that moves Carlo Goldoni's commedia dell'arte play from 1743 Italy to 1960s Brighton...."
Zach Theatre's A Christmas Carol
This slick and polished musical adaptation of the Dickens classic serves up holiday cheer in abundance
Arts Review December 21, 2017, by Shanon Weaver
"...Rather, let's talk about the pure holiday magic that Zach Theatre has woven into and spun from Charles Dickens' classic...."
Zach Theatre's The Great Society
Robert Schenkkan's smart script and remarkable ensemble work make this a powerful look at LBJ's White House years
Arts Review February 2, 2017, by Elizabeth Cobbe
"...Theatre companies typically plan their seasons out well in advance, making decisions about their choice of plays, casting, and other aspects of production months before the shows actually open. That Zach Theatre's staging of The Great Society feels as timely as it does is a sign of both great foresight on the part of the company and its ability to shift this production in a very specific direction...."
The curtain is raised on the design for the new 420-seat Topfer Theatre
Arts Story October 30, 2009, by Robert Faires
"...So what will the third theatre in Zach Theatre's burgeoning South Lamar and Riverside compound look like? The company gave us a sneak peek last week with the release of two exterior images by Andersson-Wise Architects. The building is oriented to the west, facing the current main stage, the Kleberg, and the image of the front shows a lot of glass encasing the two-story lobby, with the rest of the space sealed in clean, boxlike forms of composite concrete and blue-gray brick identified in the press release as Swiss Pearl..."
Zach Theatre's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
This dazzling production takes us inside the mind of a crime-solving teen on the spectrum
Arts Review February 15, 2018, by T. Lynn Mikeska
"...Imagine a game of Clue in which the victim is a white fluffy dog named Wellington, the scene of the dastardly deed is the neighbor's garden, and the murder weapon is a garden fork. Then, add to that hard-boiled premise a cast of larger-than-life suspects, a plot twist or two, a teen on the autism spectrum turned detective, and a faithful white rat – and you still will not have scratched the surface of Zach Theatre's current offering, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time...."
Zach Theatre's Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
A fierce portrait of Billie Holiday painted in blood and pain
Arts Review June 22, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...If all that Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill had to offer us was the freak-show rush of watching a great talent at the end of a long skid downhill finally hit bottom and self-destruct, it wouldn't be much of a play. And similarly, if all Zach Theatre's production gave us was a sterling imitation of Billie Holiday's voice on some 14 numbers associated with the singer, it wouldn't be more than a flashy jukebox revue..."
A $500,000 challenge grant supports a spot that Juliet would really love
Arts Story May 20, 2011, by Robert Faires
"...So says Juliet to Romeo from her balcony, and her words might be applied fittingly to Zach Theatre's fundraising effort for its own "Juliet" balcony. The second-story perch affixed to the exterior of the Topfer Theatre and designed by Andersson-Wise Architects will serve as not only a site for lovers of theatre to savor the view of this 26,000-square-foot glass-curtained playhouse but also as a site for performances..."
The theatre is giving away a free wedding to some homegrown George and Emily
Arts Story March 26, 2010, by Robert Faires
"...If you recall your Thornton Wilder, you know that Our Town's second act ends with two sweethearts from Grover's Corners tying the knot. Well, that inspired the folks at Zach Theatre, who are mounting Wilder's masterpiece this spring, to provide a matrimonial boost to some homegrown George and Emily..."
Zach Theatre's Buyer and Cellar
A funny and surreal solo show by Jonathan Tolins
Arts Review June 30, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...Tolins milks the humor out of not only that situation but also the lead character's awareness of how bizarre the situation is. His Alex embellishes this outlandish tale with descriptive phrases that highlight its outlandishness, as when he relates an encounter with his sourpuss of a manager at the Streisand compound: "Picture Cloris Leachman right after she found out that Phyllis was canceled." (Tolins is unafraid of mining the deepest veins of Seventies pop culture for many of these, which accounts for part of their hilarity, though for patrons who didn't come of age at that time, Zach Theatre has helpfully provided a program insert for its production that explains the most obscure of these references like they were Elizabethan slang in a Shakespearean comedy.)..."
Zach Theatre's Mary Poppins
Great singing and dancing make Dave Steakley's staging soar, but a spoonful of calm would help the spectacle go down
Arts Review August 4, 2016, by Elizabeth Cobbe
"...Seeing Mary Poppins is one of the more disjointed theatrical experiences of this year. One could be forgiven for going into the theatre expecting a stage version of the classic Disney movie that has now worked its way into the childhood memories of multiple generations..."
Zach Theatre's In the Heights
This production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical brings us the life and pride of an immigrant neighborhood at an important time
Arts Review June 15, 2017, by Elizabeth Cobbe
"...But there aren't. Audiences at the big theatre companies don't often get to see the dignity of people who have grown up in a neighborhood that's about to get hit with a wave of gentrification..."
Charlotte’s Web at Zach Theatre
In this stage adaptation of E.B. White’s classic, music and a sense of family connect to each of us and connect us all to each other
Arts Review January 5, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...Before we ever meet Fern Arable, the farmgirl with a soft spot in her heart for the runt of a pig litter; before we ever see that runt, Wilbur, and he has a chance to win over our hearts, too; before we watch the wise arachnid Charlotte spin the web that saves Wilbur from a grim fate as a side dish to eggs on a breakfast plate, this Zach Theatre staging of E.B. White's enduring story about friendship and sacrifice on a family farm welcomes us with a rousing set of bluegrass-tinged Gospel from the "Zuckerman Family Band." That's Zuckerman as in Zuckerman Farm, the place run by Fern's uncle, Homer, where Wilbur is allowed to live during his temporary reprieve from the dinner table and where he encounters Charlotte, Templeton the rat, a goose and gander, and an old sheep who also become his barnyard compatriots..."
Zach Theatre's Tribes
Nina Raine's award-winning drama explores the different forms of language and how we understand each other
Arts Review February 11, 2016, by Elizabeth Cobbe
"...For Zach Theatre's production of Nina Raine's script, Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley has gathered an experienced ensemble of actors – who surprisingly needed about 20 minutes to settle into their performance and their accents on a recent Friday evening. Once they found their rhythm, the idea of these five people as a family could coalesce..."
Zach Theatre’s Ann
Holland Taylor captures every nuance of Ann Richards in this magnificent production
Arts Review April 28, 2016, by Shanon Weaver
"...Richards showed the world that there are two kinds of Texans, and hers was a Texan with which the world wasn't familiar. I felt like I spent an evening with a woman who made it okay to be the Texan I am, and Taylor's pitch-perfect portrayal left me hopeful that a leader like her will come around again.
AnnZach Theatre, 202 S..."
Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute
Speaking Methodic Lee, David Strasberg brings his father's Method to Zach Theatre
Arts Story January 25, 2013, by Adam Roberts
"...He "was making an artistic revolution and knew it," Elia Kazan said of him. Ellen Burstyn spoke of her (and others') "great good fortune to be fertilized and quickened by his genius," and Harold Clurman called him "one of the few artists among American theatre directors." The man upon whom such fervent praise has been lavished? Lights up on Lee Strasberg, co-founder of the renowned Group Theatre, famed director of the acclaimed Actors Studio, and father of what is possibly the most household of names pertaining to theatrical practice: the Method...."
2017 Payne Theatre Award Nominees
E.A. Poe musical Nevermore leads the way with 11 noms
DAILY Arts September 20, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...Iden Payne Awards Council Monday. When the theatre group announced the nominees for the 2016-17 season, Doctuh Mistuh Productions' staging of Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe received 11 nominations...."
Robert Faires' Top 10 (+1) Theatre Riches of 2016
Works that struck a nerve with the political state of our city and our nation stood out in this year's outstanding theatre productions
Arts Story December 29, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...1) ZELL MILLER III In a year when extraordinary tensions made America's political landscape a battleground, no local theatre artist took to the front lines as often or urgently as Zell Miller III. In show after show, this writer/performer/director gave searing critiques of social injustice in blazing language and a hip-hop beat that matched his impassioned heart's..."
Top 10 (+1) Theatre Riches of 2015
Wild theatrical energy and masterful performances were the hallmarks of outstanding theatre in 2015
Arts Story December 31, 2015, by Robert Faires
"...The biting script was charged with a wild theatrical energy by the rolling wall of Ia Ensterä's set and Yury Urnov's direction, and the performances, kicked off with sublime mime from Robert Matney, were to die for.
2) Refugia (UT Dept. of Theatre & Dance)..."
Merlin Enchantment at Zach
Shana Merlin, that is – making improv magic with Wizards
DAILY Arts January 13, 2013, by Robert Faires
"...Last January saw the debut of the Institution Theater. Now Merlin Works, the improv institute founded by Shana Merlin, blasts over to new home Zach Theatre, marking the move with an improv showcase tonight starring Girls Girls Girls and Merlin Works instructors...."
2017 Payne Theatre Award Winners
Lotta love for Nevermore, Drowning Girls, Agent Andromeda
DAILY Arts October 25, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...The theatre fans who voted for this year's B. Iden Payne Awards seemed to love a number of productions from the 2016-17 season, but as became clear at the 43rd annual awards ceremony, held at the Austin Scottish Rite Theater Monday, those they loved they loved a lot..."
Spectrum Theatre Company
'Illumination Celebration' brings African-American theatre one step closer to the spotlight
Arts Story June 26, 2014, by Robert Faires
"...Austin certainly doesn't lack for African-American theatre artists. African-American theatre companies, though? That's another story..."
The New Topfer Theatre at Zach Scott
October 4, 2012. 11 Photos
PHOTO GALLERY October 4, 2012
"...As twilight falls, the Zach Theatre logo on the front of the Topfer Theatre begins to glow. LED lighting is one of the green aspects of the Andersson-Wise Architects-designed facility, which has received LEED Silver certification from the U.S..."
Top 10 Reasons (+3) I Stayed in Love With Theatre in 2014
Valentines to theatre and comedic craft played a large part in making 2014 a memorable year in theatre
Arts Story December 31, 2014, by Robert Faires
"...1) THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART (National Theatre of Scotland/Texas Performing Arts) On a Bass Concert Hall stage transmuted into a Scottish pub, five exuberant performers spun a lively tall tale of a lovelorn academic getting trapped in Lucifer's B&B. The devilishly clever script and playful theatricality that made motorbikes of audience members and blizzards from shredded bar napkins were as intoxicating as a shot of Scotch – and gave me the warmest glow I felt in the theatre all year...."
Who Wants to Be a Theatre Geek?
A quiz to find out who knows what about theatre in Austin.
Arts Story December 1, 2000, by Robert Faires
"...1. On average, how many productions does the Austin theatre community mount or present in Austin during a year?
Robert Faires' Top 10 (+1) Theatre Riches of 2017
From monsters to mountains, wolves to wild horses, the year came alive with figures boldly created onstage
Arts Story December 28, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...1) LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (National Theatre of Scotland/Texas Performing Arts)/THR3E ZISTERS (Salvage Vanguard Theater) In a year of monstrosities, monsters ruled the stage. Our regular Scots visitors (The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, Black Watch) blew into town with a distinctly Scandinavian chill: that of the 2008 Swedish film about young love and vampirism..."
Top 9 Theatre Productions of 2009 That Did Ascend the Brightest Heaven of Invention
A year of failed romances, Greek myths, and more that were staged so ingeniously
Arts Story January 1, 2010, by Robert Faires
"...1) 'BOBRAUSCHENBERGAMERICA' (MARY MOODY NORTHEN THEATRE) Modern art's master of collage celebrated in a theatrical mash-up of chicken jokes, picnics, pingpong ball cloudbursts, lovers' spats, boot-scootin' Whitmanesque rhapsodies, and more. As offbeat, vibrant, and eager to see wonder in the mundane as Rauschenberg's work, this boisterous joyride was so exhilarating that when it ended, I wanted it to start all over again...."
MerlinWorks Works the Improv Wizardry at ZACH
Teaching that whole yes-and thing at the city's shiny core of theatre
DAILY Arts January 16, 2015, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...The difference, in case it's escaped your notice? The other schools remain with their originating venues, but MerlinWorks, that Shana Merlin-helmed powerhouse of improv training, has been working out of ZACH Theatre for the last couple of years...."
Top 10 Reasons I Stayed in Love With Theatre in 2013
Austin thespians played for keeps, with boundless commitment and imagination, in the year's most memorable theatre
Arts Story January 3, 2014, by Robert Faires
"...1) 'SLIP RIVER' (UT Dept. of Theatre & Dance/Cohen New Works Festival) Spiriting its audience beneath the Payne Theatre, past clotheslines and through butcher-paper forests, feeding it cornbread muffins, and leaving it onstage in a festive dance party, this exhilaratingly theatrical mash-up of 19th century novels and modern pop – its orphan hero chases freedom along an "underground railroad" run by Beyoncé! – packed more imagination, adventure, and wit into half an hour than most plays do in three times that...."
Playback – Antone's New Booker: Zach Ernst
Did Clifford Antone know he was grooming his nightclub's future booker when he mentored Zach Ernst?
Music Column November 19, 2015, by Kevin Curtin
"...Thereafter, Ernst played lead guitar in Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, then with resurrected Dallas psych-funk preachers the Relatives, jive-talking soul man Bobby Patterson, and recently, Irish bard-rockers the Waterboys. Meanwhile, he began booking shows at the Continental Club, bringing in vintage acts like Little Joe Washington and Ironing Board Sam, then was hired as a talent buyer for Austin's oldest Downtown venue, the historic Paramount Theatre...."
UT Department of Theatre & Dance: Gotta sing! Gotta dance!
The new Musical Theatre Pilot Project aims to prepare UT undergrads for belting for Broadway
Arts Story April 11, 2008, by Barry Pineo
"...If you seek entertainment of the musical theatre variety in the Austin area, you probably go to Zach Theatre. Or to the Paramount..."
Top 10 Theatre Duos & Trios of 2014
Remembering a year in theatre in which performers distinguished themselves in twos and threes
Arts Story December 31, 2014, by Adam Roberts
"...Top 10 Theatre Duos and Trios of 2014..."
Top 10 Wonderful Things About Austin Theatre in 2008 (In No Particular Order)
Chronicle Arts writer Avimaan Syam recalls 2008, in the theatre
Arts Story January 2, 2009, by Avimaan Syam
"...1) Ophelia (Tutto Theatre Company) Full of magic moments and dramatic direction, Ophelia wowed this admitted Bardophile from start to finish...."
A Guide to Austin's Musical Theatre Scene
Arts Story August 1, 1997, by Robert Faires and Adrienne Martini
"...In Austin, these are good days for getting that razzle-dazzle rush that stage musicals provide. The theatre scene is bustling with Broadway-brand beltin' and steppin', with revivals of the classics of the American musical theatre and productions of newer shows that serve up the form's classic pizzazz, with companies committed to the works of this cherished form, and with artists who are breathing sweet, imaginative life into them..."
Zachary Scott Theatre Center: Ciccolella's curtain call
After a successful eight-year run as managing director, Ann Ciccolella is making her exit from the Zachary Scott Theatre Center
Arts Story February 2, 2007, by Robert Faires
"...As the Bard notes, we're all players who have our exits and entrances. Over at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, there's a major player who's making her exit after a most successful eight-year run..."
Zachary Scott Theatre Center: Enter stage left, a new managing director
After a national search, the Zachary Scott Theatre Center found its new managing director, Elisbeth Challener, right in its own back yard
Arts Story June 22, 2007, by Robert Faires
"...When the Zachary Scott Theatre Center went hunting for a new managing director to replace Ann Ciccolella, it undertook a search from coast to coast. But wouldn't you know it? The ideal candidate turned out to be right in its own back yard..."
'The Santaland Diaries': Zach's New Home for the Holidays
When it has three popular shows and only two theatres to run them in, what does Zach do? Turn the old bicycle shop next door into Santaland.
Arts Story November 25, 2005, by Barry Pineo
"...Here's a conundrum. You're the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, the most popular producing theatre in Austin, and you have two popular shows that you run every yuletide in your two theatres: Rockin' Christmas Party, which Zach Artistic Director Dave Steakley spun off from Beehive, one of the most successful shows in Zach history when he was still managing director in 1993; and The Santaland Diaries, the stage adaptation of David Sedaris' account of working as a Christmas elf at Macy's..."
Zachary Scott Theatre Center: Home improvements turn Zach black
Zach goes dark this fall to make long-desired theatre renovations
Arts Story September 7, 2007, by Robert Faires
"...The local theatre schedule will be a little less crowded this fall, as the Zachary Scott Theatre Center won't be mounting anything on either its main stage, the Kleberg Theatre, or in its second space, the Whisenhunt Arena Stage, for the next three months. There's no crisis precipitating the lack of performances..."
Zachary Scott Theatre Center: A stage for a diva
The new theatre being built by the Zachary Scott Theatre Center already has a name: the Karen Kuykendall Stage, in honor of the Austin native and award-winning performer
Arts Story April 13, 2007, by Robert Faires
"...The new theatre being built by the Zachary Scott Theatre Center is still a few seasons away from its first opening night, but its stage already has a name: the Karen Kuykendall Stage, in honor of the Austin native who is to many in the city our one true diva. (And so she was named in the Chronicle's 1999 "Best of Austin" Critics Picks.) Kuykendall has a tremendous history as an artist and arts supporter with Ballet Austin, singing cabaret with Sterling Price-McKinney, even performing with the Rude Mechanicals, and her efforts earned her a place in the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2004 but she has a special spot at Zach, where she has performed regularly and always with distinction for decades..."
Zachary Scott Theatre Center
The National Endowment for the Arts is giving the Zachary Scott Theatre Center $40,000 toward a production of 'Porgy and Bess' to be staged in 2007
Arts Story April 14, 2006, by Robert Faires
"...The folks at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center were ready to spring forward last weekend, and it wasn't due to the time change. On Friday, they were notified by the National Endowment for the Arts that Zach will receive $40,000 toward a production of Porgy and Bess to be staged in the fall of 2007..."
Theatre of the First Water
Zach makes a big splash on the national theatre scene as the first resident theatre to get to produce Tony winner 'Urinetown'
Arts Story April 22, 2005, by Robert Faires
"...The latest evidence that the Zachary Scott Theatre Center is making a big splash on the national theatre scene? It's the first resident theatre in the country to be granted the rights to produce Urinetown: The Musical. Zach Artistic Director Dave Steakley snagged the prize last month while he was in Chicago at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre conference..."
Quinton's Back at Zach
'Twisted Onion' star Everett Quinton joins the cast for
Zach's 'House Arrest'
Arts Story July 9, 2004
"...Twisted Olivia is headed to Austin again or rather, the man who was the queen (and everyone else) in last year's theatrical adaptation of Oliver Twist is coming back to Zach this summer. Artistic Director Dave Steakley has corralled Ridiculous Theatre Company veteran Everett Quinton into joining his acting ensemble for House Arrest, set to open Aug..."
Austin Theatre Critics Table 2000-2001 Nominations
The Austin Theatre Critics Table have announced the nominations for their ninth annual awards for achievement in the arts.
Arts Story May 18, 2001
"...The Austin Theatre Critics Table have announced the nominations for their ninth annual awards for achievement in the arts. The group recognized artistry in the theatre and beyond for the period from May 2000 through April 2001..."
Austin Theatre Critics' Table 1999-2000 Nominations
Arts Story May 12, 2000, by Robert Faires
"...The Austin Theatre Critics' Table have announced nominations for their eighth annual awards for achievement in theatre. The participating critics -- Michael Barnes, Jamie Smith Cantara, and Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Austin American-Statesman; and Robert Faires and Sarah Hepola, The Austin Chronicle -- honored work produced on Austin stages during the period May 1999-April 2000..."
Personnel Department: New Hires at Conspirare and the Mary Moody Northen Theatre
Personnel changes at local arts organizations continue, with the arrivals of a new executive director at Conspirare and a new business manager at the Mary Moody Northen Theatre
Arts Story February 16, 2007, by Robert Faires
"...The personnel changes at local arts organizations continue. In addition to the recently announced departures of Ann Ciccolella at Zach and Richard Buckley and Tamara Hale at Austin Lyric Opera, two notable arrivals have taken place at Conspirare and the Mary Moody Northen Theatre..."