Timely play about Trump Era makes it to UT

A 90-minute drama about America after an envisioned President Donald Trump impeachment opens at the University of Texas on Wednesday. A public conversation follows on Sept. 7.

SEE FULL STORY HERE.

David Sitler plays Rick and Franchelle Stewart Dorn plays Gloria in “Building the Wall.” Contributed by Lawrence Peart

Here’s a peek at my story about Robert Schenkkan‘s “Building the Wall.” —

As timely as the latest political scandal, “Building the Wall” issued like a blaze of lighting from the mind of Robert Schenkkan, the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who grew up in Austin.

The 90-minute, two-person drama about America after an envisioned impeachment of President Donald Trump has its regional premiere at the University of Texas on Thursday and runs through Sept. 10. A public conversation will take place on Sept. 7 at the Brockett Theatre.

Not that long ago, “Building the Wall” was barely a sketch of an idea in Schenkkan’s mental notebook. Yet possessed by the play’s force, he wrote it expeditiously in October, just before the presidential election.

Multiple theaters picked it up immediately, and it reached New York on May 24, which in theatrical terms is like an overnight turnaround. That run was short-lived, but a Los Angeles version was extended several times, and other productions have opened or are in rehearsals around the world.

“I felt the moment was urgent,” Schenkkan says. “It was good to see that as an artist I could respond quickly and that my community would join me. I met so many different artists at different theaters all over the country, institutions I didn’t know, or only knew by reputation, and everybody who participated in this did so with tremendous enthusiasm and excitement because they, too, felt the urgency of the moment and the need to do something, to respond to this extraordinary political crisis.”

Trinity Adams wows as Annie Oakley for Summer Stock Austin

Only two Austin theatrical performances this year have sent me into the streets singing, nay, shouting the praises of a performer. Both are relative newcomers to the scene, but if there’s any justice, they won’t ever become strangers.

The first was Chanel‘s profoundly inspired take on Billie Holiday in Zach Theatre‘s “Lady Day at the Emerson Bar and Grill.” How many times I’ve turned over in my memory her point-on patter, unvarnished vulnerability, ravishing voice and total embrace of the audience.

The second was Trinity Adams as Annie Oakley in Summer Stuck Austin‘s “Annie Get Your Gun,” currently running at the Long Center. Just 17, Adams is an award-winning actor who recently graduated from Dripping Springs High School.

Hey, Dripping, do you know what ya got in this gal?

The minute Adams bounded onto the stage at the Rollins Studio Theatre, the room just expanded exponentially to take in her radiance. Not that everything she did in the Irving Berlin classic was big and grand, no, she electrified the audience with slightest grin or aside.

As my theater companion, Suzie Harriman, pointed out, she’s like Broadway star Sutton Foster. No matter where she is in director Scott Thompson‘s stage-filling production — you won’t believe how well these kids dance! — your eyes are drawn to Adams.

She was capably complemented by Max Corney and a host of other troupers. Almost all of them also appear in “Spamalot,” a wonderfully cute Summer Stock musical directed by Ginger Morris. In that show, I was particularly taken with Lydia Kam, Ben Roberts, Michael Morran, Coy Branscum and Matthew Kennedy.

But why kid? All the the Summer Stock players are talented. Adams, however, at this precious theatrical moment, shines like the brightest stars in the heavens.

The best possible list so far for the Austin arts season

We are assembling the best possible preview list for the coming Austin arts season. This is what we have been able to gather so far.

Austin Opera

Long Center, 512-472-5992, austinopera.org

Nov. 11-19: “Carmen”

Jan. 27-Feb. 4, 2018: “Ariadne auf Naxos”

April 28-May 6, 2018: “La Traviata”

The Austin Symphony will play along with Disney’s ‘Fantasia.’ Contributed

Austin Symphony

Long Center, 512-476-6064, austinsymphony.org

Sept. 8-9: Mozart, Poulenc

Oct. 6-7: Vaughan Williams, Beethoven, Mahler-Britten, Bruckner

Oct 20: Disney’s “Fantasia” in concert

Oct. 29: Halloween Children’s Concert

Dec. 1-2: Prokofiev, “Beyond the Score”

Dec. 12: Handel’s “Messiah”

Dec. 29-30: “I Heart the ’80s”

Jan. 12-13, 2018: Stravinsky, Rossini, Bach, Hovhaness, Haydn

Feb. 9, 2018: “Jurassic Park” in concert

Feb. 23-24, 2018: Schumann, MacDowell

March 23-24, 2018: Saint-Saëns, Jongen

April 12-14, 2018: Bernstein, Torke, Beethoven

May 18-19, 2018: Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff

Jun 1-2, 2018: “The Rat Pack: 100 Years of Frank”

June 16, 2018: Butler Texas Young Composers Concert

Blanton Museum of Art

200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., blantonmuseum.org

Through Oct. 1: “Epic Tales from Ancient India”

Through Oct. 1: “Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler: Giant”

Nov. 25-Jan. 7, 2018: “The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip”

Spring 2018: “Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin”

Ballet Austin

Long Center, 512-476-9151, balletaustin.org

Sept. 15-17: “Romeo and Juliet”

Oct. 21-29: “Not Afraid of the Dark” (Studio Theater)

Dec. 8-23: “The Nutcraker”

Feb. 16-18, 2018: “Masters of the Dance”

April 6-8, 2018: “Exit Wounds”

May 11-13, 2018: “Peter Pan”

Big Medium

916 Springdale Road, 512-939-6665, bigmedium.org

Sept. 23-Dec. 2: Texas Biennial

Oct. 27-Nov. 19: Tito’s Prize Exhibit

Nov. 11-19: East Austin Studio Tour

Broadway in Austin lands ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.’ Contributed

Broadway in Austin

Bass Concert Hall, 800-731-7469, BroadwayInAustin.com

Oct. 13-15: “Rent” (season option)

Dec. 12-17: “The King and I”

Jan. 16-21, 2018: “Finding Neverland”

Feb. 13-18, 2018: “School of Rock”

March 20-25, 2018: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

April 17-22, 2018: “The Book of Mormon” (season option)

May 30-June 3, 2018: “An American in Paris”

Bullock Texas State History Museum

1800 Congress Ave., 512-936-8746, thestoryoftexas.com

Through Feb. 4, 2018: “The Nau Civil War Collection”

Through March 18, 2018: Pong to Pokémon: The Evolution of Electronic”

Sept. 2, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018: “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition”

Feb. 17, 2018-Jan. 15, 2019: “Texas Rodeo”

Chorus Austin

Various locations, 512-719-3300, chorusaustin.org

Nov. 4-5: “Art of the Prophets”

Dec. 2: “On a Winter’s Eve”

Dec. 16: “Sing-It-Yourself Messiah”

City Theatre

3823 Airport Blvd., 512-524-2870, citytheatreaustin.orgtk

July 21-Aug. 13 “August: Osage County”

Aug. 18-Sept 10: “Chicago”

Texas Performing Arts presents the Philip Glass Ensemble playing with ‘Koyannisqatsi.’ Contributed

Texas Performing Arts

Various locations on UT Campus, 512-477-6060, texasperformingarts.org

Sept. 18: Dover Quartet

Sept. 21: Storm Large & Le Bonheur

Sept. 24: Spanish Brass

Sept. 29: Abraham.In.Motion

Oct. 5: Sergei Babayan

Nov. 8: Fifth House Ensemble’s Journey Live

Nov. 16: Seth Rudetsky’s Deconstructing Broadway

Nov. 18: Monty Alexander Harlem-Kingston Express

Dec. 1-2: Kurt Elling with the Swingles

Jan. 20, 2018: Chanticleer

Jan. 25-26, 2018: “Sancho: An Act of Remembrance”

Feb. 1, 2018: Ezralow Dance

Feb. 2, 2018: Ute Lemper

Feb. 16, 2018: Sergio & Odair Assad and Avi Avital

Feb. 23, 2018: Philip Glass Ensemble’s Koyaanisqatsi

March 8, 2018: “Musical Thrones: A Parody”

March 27, 2018: Che Malambo

April 3, 2018: University of Texas Symphony Orchestra

April 11, 2018: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

April 14, 2018: University of Texas Jazz Orchestra with Conrad Herwig

UT Theatre & Dance

Various locations on UT campus, 512-477-6060, texasperformingarts.org

Aug. 30-Sept 10: “Building the Wall”

Oct. 4-15: “Anon(ymous)”

Nov. 7-12: “Fall for Dance”

Nov. 8-19: “The Crucible”

Dec. 6-10: “The Drowsy Chaperone”

Feb. 21-March 4, 2018: “Enron”

March 28-April 8, 2018: “Transcendence”

April 12-22, 2018: “UT New Theatre”

Rob Nash returns with ‘Holy Cross Sucks.’ Contributed by OUTmedia

The Vortex

2307 Manor Road, 512-478-5282, vortexrep.org

Sept. 8-24: “Storm Still”

Sept. 8-9: “Linda Mary Montano’s Birth/Death”

Sept. 22-Oct. 21: “Vampyress”

Oct. 4: “Icons: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol 1”

Nov. 2-5: “P3M5 Plays”

Nov. 9-11: “Somewhere Between”

Nov. 16-Dec. 9: “Wild Horses”

Nov. 17-Dec. 9: “The Member of the Wedding”

Dec. 14-17: “Rob Nash’s Holy Cross Sucks”

Dec. 21-Jan. 7, 2018: “The Muttcracker (Sweet!)”

Jan. 11-20, 2018: “The Way She Spoke”

Jan. 26-Feb. 10, 2018: “893/Ya-ku-za”

Feb. 14-18, 2018: Outsider Fest

Feb 22-25, 2018: “Reveal All Feature Nothing”

March 2, 2018: Cinema Dada

March 3, 2018: Congo Square

March 23-May 12, 2018: Performance Park

May 17-19, 2018: Toni Bravo’s “Home”

May 25-June 9, 2018: “Polly Mermaid”

June 15-30, 2018: “The Claire Play”

July 6-21, 2018: “The Last Witch”

July 27-Aug. 4, 2018: Summer Youth Theatre

Zach Theatre

202 S. Lamar Blvd., 512-476-0541

Through Sept. 3: “Million Dollar Quartet”

Sept. 27-Oct. 29: “Singin’ in the Rain”

Nov. 1-Dec. 31: “A Tuna Christmas”

Nov. 22-Dec. 31: “A Christmas Carol”

May 30-June 24, 2018: “Sunday in the Park with George”

June 20-July 22, 2018: “Heisenberg”

July 11-Sept. 2, 2018: “Beauty and the Beast”

These and more are missing or need direct confirmation:

Austin History Center

Austin Shakespeare

Briscoe Center

Conspirare

The Contemporary Austin

Forklift Danceworks

Hyde Park Theatre

LBJ Library and Museum

Long Center

Mexic-Arte Museum

One World Theatre

Palace Theatre Georgetown

Paramount/Stateside

Pollyana Theatre

Ransom Center

Rude Mechs

Penfold Theatre

Salvage Vanguard Theater

Spectrum Theatre

Tapestry Dance

Teatro Vivo

Texas State University Theatre

Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

Artists and audiences prepare now for the coming Austin arts season

The Austin arts season is upon us.

Wait, you say, it’s just July.

Right.

Jeff Lofton plays the Long Center on Oct. 25.

With some exceptions, arts and other cultural groups — we include major literary and historical outlets — don’t return to full form until September.

Yet now’s the time for all arts groups to confirm their seasonal slates and for all readers to consider purchasing season tickets.

In fact, for some high-demand groups, if you haven’t secured your 2017-2018 subscriptions already, you’re stuck with angling for single slots.

For instance, galvanized by the chance to secure tickets for the matchless musical, “Hamilton,” in the 2018-2019 season, more than 3,000 new subscribers have signed on for Broadway in Austin’s 2017-2018 offerings.

RELATED: Broadway smash “Hamilton” coming to Austin in 2018-2019 season.

Now, some groups don’t operate on the traditional season system, rolling out one show at a time. Others split up their seasons. For instance, the Long Center for the Performing Arts won’t announce its Winter/Spring slate until September.

We respect that. What will follow soon in these pages is a list of shows that we could discover with relative ease in July. We’ll add others to digital extensions on the Austin Arts blog when they arrive.

Time to plan your fall season at the Long Center

A picture of Austin’s fall arts season is falling into place. The latest booking news is from the Long Center for the Performing Aarts. We rearranged, condensed and edited for style their fine descriptions of the following.

Notice that the fall season begins in July. Why not? We only wish the weather would comply.

Also, there’s a lot of other offerings, including Summer Stock Austin, at the center that aren’t part of this season package, so stay alert.

A character from Legend of Zelda. Contributed

“The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses
”


Dell Hall, July 7

Coinciding with the newly released “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and Nintendo’s new Switch, this returns to the Long Center stage on July 7 for one performance only. Now in its fourth season and featuring new music and video, the concert comes to life with a 66-piece orchestra, 24-person choir.

“Fun Home”

Dell Hall, Aug. 11-13

The winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book and Best Direction, this unusual show is based on Alison Bechdel’s 2006 best-selling graphic memoir.

“An Evening with The Piano Guys

Dell Hall, Aug. 23

The Piano Guys have become an internet sensation by way of their immensely successful series of self-made music videos, leading to over 500 million YouTube views.

Carrie Rodriguez. Jay Janner/American-Statesman

“An Evening with Carrie Rodriguez
”

Rollins Studio Theatre, Aug. 30

Austin native Carrie Rodriguez is a fiddle playing singer songwriter who approaches her country-blues sound with an “Ameri-Chicana” attitude.  Her latest release, “Lola,” takes her back to her ranchera musical roots and was hailed as the “perfect bicultural album” by NPR’s Felix Contreras.

Manual Cinema: “Lula Del Ray”

Rollins Studio Theatre,  Sept. 13-14          

This troupe of theatrical artists are not just puppeteers, but creators of otherworldly landscapes through a striking combination of live actors, old-school projectors and silhouette magic.

“Kaki King: The Neck is a Bridge to the Body 
”

Rollins Studio Theatre, Sept. 16

Hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as “a genre unto herself,” composer, guitarist, and recording artist Kaki King performs her latest work — a simultaneous homage and deep exploration of her instrument of choice. In this bold new multi-media performance, Kaki deconstructs the guitar’s boundaries as projection mapping explores texture, nature, and creation.

Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life”

Dell Hall, Sept. 30

Part coming-of-age story and part divine commentary, Terrence Malick’s star-studded and slow-burning art film, “The Tree of Life,” sparked a dialogue within the industry about memory, the meaning of life, and the role that film can play in representing those ideas. Screening with live score performed by Austin Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Austin.

“Star Wars: A New Hope”

Dell Hall, Oct. 11–12

John William’s legendary “Star Wars” score didn’t just enhance a great story, it gave life to an entire galaxy. From “Binary Sunset” to the “Imperial March,” the themes of “A New Hope” ushered in a renaissance of film music, the likes of which Hollywood had never seen before. A special screening with live score performed by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

“Shopkins Live!”

Dell Hall, Oct. 21

This lights up the stage in this premiere live production packed with show-stopping performances featuring the Shoppies and Shopkins characters taking the stage with an all-new storyline, music, and videos. Join Jessicake, Bubbleisha, Peppa-Mint, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, and Polli Polish as they perform the coolest dance moves, sing the latest pop songs, and prepare for Shopville’s annual “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair.”

Jeff Lofton. Contributed by Claire Newman.

“The Jeff Lofton Electric Thang
”

Rollins Studio Theatre, Oct. 25

Jazz artist Jeff Lofton – together with his groups The Jeff Lofton Trio and his Electric Thang – has quickly become a household name around Austin’s low-key bars and jazz lounges.

An evening with Maureen Dowd and Carl Hulse In Conversation

Dell Hall, Saturday Nov. 18

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, Maureen Dowd, and award-winning author and the Times’ Chief Washington Correspondent, Carl Hulse, will examine the state of the nation one year following the most divisive presidential election in American history. Join us for an evening of incisive dialogue as Dowd and Hulse discuss how we got here and what lies ahead.

“Santa on the Terrace”

City Terrace, Nov. 24 

Bring the family and join us on the City Terrace and take some time out of the busiest holiday of the year to celebrate the season. Bring the kids for a free photo with Santa and enjoy holiday treats, activities and entertainment, all overlooking the best view in Austin!

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical”

Dell Hall, Nov. 24-25

The favorite TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage in this beloved adaptation. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and of course, Rudolph brought to life.

Graham Reynolds. Jay Janner/American-Statesman

“Graham Reynolds Ruins the Holidays”

Rollins Studio Theatre, Dec. 20

Composer and bandleader, Graham Reynolds, along with some of Austin’s best musicians wreak musical havoc with an explosive set of holiday favorites. By playing most of them in a minor key, Reynolds and his band bring a new perspective to these season standards.

“A Christmas Story: The Musical”

Dell Hall, Dec. 29–31

After a smash-hit Broadway run garnering three Tony-Award nominations including Best Musical, this Christmas classic returns for another year. Based on the perennial holiday movie favorite, the story takes place in 1940s Indiana, where a bespectacled boy named Ralphie wants only one thing for Christmas: an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot range Model Air Rifle.

 

Which Tony-nominated shows would you like to see in Austin?

By Samantha Reichstein, special to the American-Statesman

While some may think award show season has come and gone, on Tuesday morning Jane Krakowski and Christopher Jackson announced the nominations for every theater lover’s favorite event: the 2017 Tony Awards, airing live on June 11 on CBS with host Kevin Spacey.

Of course, the Broadway hit “Hamilton” is coming to Bass Concert Hall in the 2018-2019 season, but what other productions would Austinites love to see? Here are five Tony-nominated shows that we think would have Austin audiences giving a standing ovation.

A scene from, “Groundhog Day the Musical.” Contributed

“Dear Evan Hansen”

Sharing the same lyricists as the 2016 box-office hit “La La Land,” “Dear Evan Hansen” takes the Tonys by storm with nine nominations, including best musical. Starring Ben Platt, the actor known for his role in “Pitch Perfect,” the show’s plot focuses on an internet-infused story that spins out of control, complete with an emotional soundtrack full of belting ballads. This musical that puts social media (and its consequences) at the forefront would be a must-see for a startup city like Austin.

“Groundhog Day the Musical”

Movies turned musicals don’t always succeed, but “Groundhog Day the Musical,” which earned seven nominations on Tuesday, stands in a rare category along with Broadway favorites “Hairspray,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “Kinky Boots.” Nominated for eight Laurence Oliver Awards, the show won best actor in a musical (Andy Karl) and best new musical at that ceremony last month. Looking for a show you can enjoy again and again (…and again?) — the search is over.

“Come From Away”

In today’s political climate, with immigration and refugee issues being divisive subjects, Canadian-born production “Come From Away” presents the aftermath of 9/11 in both an honorable and sentimental way. The play takes place in Gander, Newfoundland, the week after Sept. 11, 2001, and the characters portrayed on stage are based on real-life locals and tourists stranded in the small town after 38 planes were forced to land unexpectedly. Written by a husband and wife duo, Broadway’s emotional, uplifting and refreshing take on this horrific moment in history picked up seven nominations, including best musical.

RELATED: How you can get tickets to see “Hamilton” in Austin

“Hello, Dolly!”

Stage veteran Bette Midler stars in Broadway’s revival of the classic “Hello Dolly!,” which earned 10 nominations, including best revival of a musical. Aside from its leading lady, the show has many other elements audiences (and Tony voters) admire, including the ensemble, scenic design, orchestration and direction. Based on recent reviews, “Hello, Dolly!” is a shoe-in for a phenomenal national tour.

“Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812”

Sweeping the scene this year is “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812,” which leads the Tonys with 12 nominations, including best actor (Josh Groban,) best actress (Denee Benton), best original score and best musical. The show first gained traction when pre-“Hamilton” actress Phillipa Soo (now starring in “Amelie”) starred in its off-Broadway production in 2012. Set in Moscow in 1812, the musical is based off a small section of Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel “War and Peace.” With the most nominations of any show this season, it just bumped itself to the top of everyone’s “must-see” list.

 

RELATED: Select list of nominees for the 2017 Tony Awards

 

‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is the height of Broadway spectacle

Derrick Davis (The Phantom) and Katie Travis (Christine) star in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Matthew Murphy

“The Phantom of the Opera,” composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Charles Hart’s “rock opera” adaptation of Gaston Leroux’ classic French novel “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra” is officially in the third decade of its original run. Premiering in London in 1986 before transferring to Broadway in 1988, the musical has become an international sensation, and is the longest-running show in the history of Broadway.

Now, it once again comes to Austin, courtesy of Broadway in Austin and Texas Performing Arts and playing through April 30th at Bass Concert Hall. This is a relatively new staging of the show, directed by Laurence Connor and produced by Cameron Mackintosh. It started touring in 2012, while the original Broadway and London runs (directed by Harold Prince) continue unabated.

Though Connor has reimagined the look and design of “Phantom,” adding a few new technical tricks to the show’s repertoire, the music and lyrics, as well as the book by Webber and Richard Stigler, have remained the same. What Connor has achieved most successfully is to reinvigorate the sense of large-scale grandiosity and spectacle in “Phantom.”

“Phantom” is decidedly melodramatic, with one-dimensional characters and a decided lack of subtlety, but that is, after all, part of the charm that has allowed it to last for over thirty years. Connor’s production leans into this, focusing on an epic design scope. Paul Brown’s set is monolithic yet surprisingly mobile and mutable, dwarfing the actors in order to create an immense sense of scale. Maria Björnson’s costumes are sumptuous and plentiful, lending the show much of its sense of pageantry. Paule Constable’s lighting, unusually for such a large show, is largely done from the side, emphasizing the production’s fusion of opera and ballet with musical theater.

The touring cast of “Phantom” is also up to the challenge of reaching the melodramatic heights this kind of design scheme requires. Katie Travis, as tortured ingénue Christina Daaé, is a perfect counterpoint to the good-guy leading man bluster of Jordan Craig’s Raoul. Derrick Davis, as the titular Phantom, provides the strongest performance, thanks in no small part to a script that provides him with much deeper nuance than any of the other stock characters.

The true stars of “Phantom,” though, in both its original form and in this production, are the epic, operatic music and the large-scale spectacle that only money can buy. In this, the production does not disappoint, nor does it spare any expense.

“The Phantom of the Opera” is a bit like a blockbuster movie; it’s quite entertaining and enjoyable, the spectacle is often breathtaking, but ultimately it doesn’t have a larger point other than to provide an evening’s diversion, which it does with great gusto.

‘The Phantom of the Opera”
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday through April 30
Where: Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive
Cost: $34-$154
Information: 512-471-9166, texasperformingarts.org.

 

New “Phantom of the Opera” builds suspense with reimagined staging

Cameron Mackintosh at Prince Edward Theatre, London. 2013 Tribune Media Service

Cameron Mackintosh calls it “the 25-year itch.”

The producer of musicals such as “Les Misérables,” “Cats,” “Miss Saigon,” “Oliver” and “Mary Poppins,” feels the need to refresh some of his past successes about every 25 years as well as some classics. He’s recently redone “Miss Saigon” and “Les Misérables,” but also done classics “My Fair Lady” twice and “Oliver” three times.

“It’s something I love doing just as much” as creating original musicals, he says. “It’s a great challenge.”

One of his reimaginings is coming to Austin this week as part of the Broadway in Austin series. “The Phantom of the Opera,” which Mackintosh created with Andrew Lloyd Webber, first appeared on stage in 1986 in London and then as a fresh take in 2012. It comes to Bass Concert Hall April 19 through April 30.

Mackintosh says he doesn’t redo a musical just to redo it.

“Because I know it inside and out, I’m my own greatest critic,” he says. “Is something as good or just change for change’s sake, which I don’t agree with,” he asks himself.

If that’s the case, then he says he keeps at it until it is just as good, probably better.

Derrick Davis (The Phantom) and Katie Travis (Christine) star in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Matthew Murphy

While the script and music are essentially the same in this “Phantom,” the staging is vastly different in ways that will surprise audiences who saw the original.

“Anyone who has seen it, hasn’t seen it like this,” he says. “The material is exactly the same with a few little tweaks, but just the way the show works is very different.”

Audiences who saw the 1980s “Phantom,” won’t be disappointed by the change, Mackintosh says. “They are seeing something they may know, but as long as it’s good, they love the difference.”

For those who have never seen a “Phantom,” will feel like they are seeing something new, he says.

“The brilliant musicals can be re-examined by a different generation,” he says. “They will have a different viewpoint.”

For this reimagined “Phantom,” Mackintosh went back to the 1910 book by Gaston Leroux and thought about who this phantom was. He was an inventor.

SEE THE PROPS OF THIS “PHANTOM”

This new version takes the hall of mirrors in the book and makes it an essential element. The whole stage opens and closes and becomes things. Mackintosh likens it to a giant Advent calendar. “We can go places that we could never go in the original,” Mackintosh says.

Doors open and the Phantom appears. We see a whole lot more of the backstage of the famous opera house the Phantom occupies. We watch the Phantom stalk Christine as parts of the stage move to show us the Phantom’s movement throughout the theater.

GO BACK STAGE WITH “PHANTOM”

“The approach is more visceral,” he says. “It’s much more real world.” It also feels more dangerous, less high romance, Mackintosh says.

Many of the signature scenes of the original: the falling chandelier, the boat ride descent into the Phantom’s lair, are done completely differently.

“It’s more shocking what it does,” Mackintosh says of the chandelier. Scenes like the boat ride, he says, “are equally striking, but in different ways.”

The way the chandelier works would not have been possible 30 years ago. Advances in computers and lighting technology make it all possible.

“What I love about this show is it’s its own thing,” he says.

SEE HOW THE ORIGINAL COSTUMES INFORMED THE NEW ONES

Mackintosh says he currently has 30 to 40 productions going on around the world at any given time. His newest work is a new version of “Half of Sixpence,” a little-known 1963 musical based on an H.G. Wells book “Kipps” that was turned into a 1968 movie. It’s now in London. He also is bringing “Hamilton” to London. This fall, he’s bringing a new “Les Misérables” to North American stages. His “Miss Saigon,” which is currently on Broadway, will be touring North America 18 months from now. Both, fingers crossed, will make their way to Austin.

WATCH A WIG BEING MADE FOR THE SHOW

“The Phantom of the Opera”

When: 8 p.m. April 19-22, April 25-29, 1 p.m. April 20 and April 22 and April 30, 2 p.m. April 22 and April 29, 7 p.m. April 22 and April 29.

Where: Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive

Tickets:  $30 and up.

Information: BroadwayinAustin.com, Bass Concert Hall box office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, 512-477-6060

How you can get tickets to see ‘Hamilton’ in Austin

Yes, it’s really happening: The smash Broadway hit about our nation’s founders is coming to Austin during the 2018-2019 Broadway in Austin season.

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in "Hamilton: An American Musical." CONTRIBUTED
Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda in “Hamilton: An American Musical.” CONTRIBUTED

You can’t buy those tickets yet — and when they do go on sale, they’re sure to sell out. But there is a way you can act now to get your shot at seats: Subscribe to the 2017-18 season. Subscriptions go on sale at 11 a.m. today, starting at $135, and subscribers get to be first in line for the 2018-19 season.

The 2017-2018 season of Broadway in Austin presented by Texas Performing Arts features “School of Rock,” “The King and I,” “Finding Neverland,” “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” and “An American in Paris,” plus “Rent” and “The Book of Mormon” as special subscriber options.

The national touring show of “Hamilton” will also be making stops in San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. 

giphy