"...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..."
"...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..."
"...Zach Theatre's production is a curious case of near-flawless execution, with very little emotional reward. The music of Sunday in the Park is technically difficult, and the cast rises superbly to the challenge (direction by Dave Steakley, musical direction by Allen Robertson)..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...It's unusual, I imagine, for a theatre review to begin with an explanation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle; nevertheless, here we are. In a very dim nutshell, German scientist Werner Heisenberg determined that an act as seemingly innocuous as observation still comes with a tangible force capable of affecting the behavior of quantum particles, though in what way it's impossible to predict..."
"...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...."
"...Rather, let's talk about the pure holiday magic that Zach Theatre has woven into and spun from Charles Dickens' classic...."
"...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...."
"...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..."
"...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...."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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.)..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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...."
"...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...."
"...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..."
"...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)..."
"...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...."
"...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..."
"...Austin certainly doesn't lack for African-American theatre artists. African-American theatre companies, though? That's another story..."
"...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..."
"...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...."
"...1. On average, how many productions does the Austin theatre community mount or present in Austin during a year? a..."
"...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..."
"...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...."
"...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...."
"...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...."
"...Everybody who goes on the internet hears about the so-called Mommy Wars, and to the credit of Theatre en Bloc's production of Cry It Out, the play goes beyond sniping about Baby Bjorns, sleep training methods, and Sophie giraffe toys. (What is the deal with those things, anyway?) Yes, Jessie does almost come to tears when she hears that Adrienne's baby is formula-fed – one of the standard narrative cues that a mother is disengaged – but the conflicts in the play are generally broader and more insightful than women backstabbing over simple parenting choices...."
"...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...."
"...If you seek entertainment of the musical theatre variety in the Austin area, you probably go to Zach Theatre. Or to the Paramount..."
"...Most of them belong to former slaves, African-Americans who lived long enough to be interviewed for a federal Works Progress Administration program in 1937 and have their experiences recorded so future generations could learn what slavery in this country was like directly from those who lived through it. Their voices survive not only in the Library of Congress' Slave Narrative Collection, but also in the play Juneteenth Chronicles, which is being given a staged reading by Spectrum Theatre Company this weekend..."
"...Top 10 Theatre Duos and Trios of 2014..."
"...1) Ophelia (Tutto Theatre Company) Full of magic moments and dramatic direction, Ophelia wowed this admitted Bardophile from start to finish...."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."
"...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..."