Hurricane Harvey inspires a Broadway response in Houston

Just returned from Houston. My large family’s experience with Hurricane Harvey mirrored the wide range felt by other Houstonians. Some weathered heavy damage; others helped out those in need.

Contributed by UPI

You probably have already seen this video, but at least two of my siblings’ neighborhoods looked a lot like this. Or worse. But how clever of someone to see piles of debris and think of the barricades in “Les Miserables.” This sync is rough, touching, big-hearted and a little fun.

After Harvey, who preserves our culture?

The organized arts and humanities generally don’t save lives directly during emergency situations. Yet they save our culture — our shared memory — over the long run. Here are some ways the state and national communities are responding to Harvey and where the help will be most needed.

The Rockport Center for the Arts after Hurricane Harvey. Contributed by Rockport Center for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Humanities has pledged $1 million to cultural groups hurt by Harvey.

The National Endowment for the Arts is working with the Texas Commission on the Arts to assess the situation. NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu: “As the current situation stabilizes, the NEA is prepared to direct additional funds to these state arts agencies for re-granting to affected organizations, as we have done in the past.”

The Texas Library Association and Texas State Library and Archives Commission are working to coordinate a response for the affected library community.

While some smaller arts facilities have been devastated on the coast (see image from Rockport), the massive Houston Theatre District has sustained enormous damage, as it has in previous storms (much of it was built underground not far from Buffalo Bayou).

At the Alley Theatre, the small Neuhaus Theatre and its lobby were flooded. The same spaces were severely beat up during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.

The Wortham Theatre Center, where Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet perform, took water on the Brown Theatre stage and out front of the house. The basement with its costume and prop storage, however, was totally flooded.

On the other hand, the Hobby Center and Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, came off relatively unscathed, although the parking garages were inundated.

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.

Zilker Theatre’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is fun for parents and their munchkins

It’s hard to think of a movie musical more classic or family-friendly than 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.” The movie, based on writer L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” has proven so popular over the decades that it was adapted into a stage production by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987.

Andrew Cannata, Hannah Roberts and Jordan Barron perform in “The Wizard of Oz,” the 59th annual Zilker summer musical presented by Zilker Theatre Productions. (TAMIR KALIFA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The resulting show, with a book by John Kane (adapted from Baum as well as the screenplay by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allan Woolf), music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, and background music by Herbert Stothart, has since become a standard across the UK and the United States.

PHOTOS: ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at Zilker Hillside Theater

Zilker Theatre Productions’ latest free summer musical, running through Aug. 12 at the Zilker Hillside Theater, is a new production of this version of “The Wizard of Oz.” This is the 59th annual Zilker Summer Musical, and the most expensive show to date, with a great deal of that money clearly going toward creating the magic of Oz as experienced by naïve young Dorothy Gale, a Kansas farm girl transported to the other-dimensional realm via a convenient tornado. Through liberal doses of both theatrical innovation and beautiful carpentry and design, director J. Robert Moore and scenic designer Paul Davis effectively evoke both the plainness of Kansas (pun intended) and the splendor of Oz.

Much like the movie it is based on, Bilker’s “The Wizard of Oz” is long on broad, entertaining character types and short on actual character development. However, the zany antics of Dorothy and her companions (the “brainless” Scarecrow, “heartless” Tin Man, and “courageless” Cowardly Lion) play well in the open-air atmosphere of the Zilker Hillside Theater, with its huge, all-ages audience.

The main cast of the show all give big, broad performances that would be over-the-top in a small theater, but work nicely in this context. Andrew Cannata, Jordan Barron and Kirk Kelso, as the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, respectively, are vaudevillian in their physical comedy and banter, while Emily Perzan’s Wicked Witch delights more in being comedic than overtly scary.

MORE PHOTOS: The Zilker Summer Musical through the years

The production’s Dorothy, Hannah Roberts, is a star on the rise. She embodies the character’s youth and naivety in a charming, guileless manner, a complete turn-around from her delightfully dour portrayal of Wednesday Addams in last year’s Summer Stock Austin production of “The Addams Family.” She only manages to get upstaged by the exuberant full-cast numbers, which inventively feature children as the Munchkins of Oz performing the whimsical choreography of Adam Roberts (who is also the show’s musical director).

Zilker’s production of “The Wizard of Oz goes” beyond the show, itself, in order to create a full night of family entertainment. There are booths and amusements for kids to enjoy before the show, as well as refreshments that can be purchased both ahead of time and at intermission. Remember to bring a blanket and pillows along with some bug spray, and be sure to arrive early to pick out a good spot on the hillside.

MORE SUMMER FUN:

Where to get frozen drinks in Austin

5 hotel pools with passes for free hours for locals

Summer music: All the sounds under the sun, through September

 

 

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.