713 Congress, Austin, 78701, 512/472-5470
photo by John Anderson
The grande dame of Austin theatres celebrated her centennial in 2015 with the replacement and illumination of a re-creation of the original light blade, a fitting beacon for this opulent but unpretentious soul of Austin arts. Somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 artists have performed here, including Harry Houdini spitting needles in 1916, and the stage now hosts some 250 performances annually. The palatial décor encases a surprisingly intimate 1,300-seat venue where top hats long ago gave way to jeans as appropriate attire. Fancy film premieres, musical concerts that include annual traditions like the Kelly Willis/Bruce Robison Christmas concert, comics, literary giants, theatre for youth, and the beloved summer classic film series comprise the programming that sooner or later welcomes all of Austin into this gilded and groovy treasure.