There’s no doubt that Austin is flush with creative, artistic individuals. Beyond the live music shows that we’re so well-known for, Austin is also home to a thriving performing arts scene. While it make take extra planning and prepping for us busy moms to get a night out at the theatre, it’s such a worthwhile and emotionally satisfying activity. So get out there in 2015! Take advantage of our city’s “culture of creativity”. Enjoy some singing, dancing, and storytelling that will move you, entertain you, and inspire you.
Children’s Theatre Roundup for December:
What’s the Story, Steve?
Help Steve and his cast of improvisers bring original stories to the stage! These 50 minute live performances feature Steve the improvising poodle. Each show is a unique story inspired by audience suggestion. All ages welcome. Tickets at the door. Volunteer to be a part of the show or enjoy from your seat.
Every Saturday (except December 26)
Shows at 10am, suggested donation of $3-$5
The Flying Theater Machine
Fall down the rabbit hole and discover a whole wild new world in Wonderland! These fully improvised stories will need your help! Kids and adults alike will be asked to lend their aid with their suggestions, creative input, and acting powers so that these strange tales can be completed.
Shows at 2pm, $5
Wild and Wacky Weather
Austin Public Library locations
If you don’t like the weather in Texas, just wait a few minutes and it will change! Take a stroll through sunny songs, breezy stories, and wintry puppetry when Literature Live! presents their new puppet show, Wild and Wacky Weather! Check out the trailer here.
September 7 – December 4
Showtimes vary, FREE
Winnie the Pooh
ZACH Kleberg Theatre
Winnie-the-Pooh finds himself involved in all sorts of frantic adventures, assisted by such friends as the dismal Eeyore, Piglet and Rabbit. Pooh’s intentions are always the best, but his passion for honey and condensed milk keeps getting him into trouble. Come see A.A. Milne’s beloved characters in this charming musical adaptation.
September 18 – December 12
September 18 at 6:30pm, most Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm, some Saturdays at 11am, October 29 at 4:30pm, Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance on October 31 at 11am, $15+
Beauty and the Beast
The Georgetown Palace Theatre
The most popular show in ZACH’s history returns to rock in the holidays! ZACH’s fresh take on A Christmas Carol features three soulful Ghosts making a joyful noise, while moving our hearts with the Cratchit family’s love and Ebenezer Scrooge’s miraculous transformation. New hit songs and reimagined carols create an infectious spirit that has you dancing in the aisles. ZACH’s inspired adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic juxtaposes a traditional Victorian setting and gorgeous period costumes, with a modern musical score that spans genres and eras. Come celebrate the season in true ZACH style with this new Austin holiday tradition!
November 20 – December 30
Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2pm and special 7:30pm weekday shows on December 17, 21-23 & 28-30; $11+
A Christmas Carol
The most popular show in ZACH’s history returns to rock in the holidays! ZACH’s fresh take on A Christmas Carol features three soulful Ghosts making a joyful noise, while moving our hearts with the Cratchit family’s love and Ebenezer Scrooge’s miraculous transformation. New hit songs and reimagined carols create an infectious spirit that has you dancing in the aisles. ZACH’s inspired adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic juxtaposes a traditional Victorian setting and gorgeous period costumes, with a modern musical score that spans genres and eras. Read our review of the show here.
November 25 – December 27
Most Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 2:30pm; $25+
Dance Another World Showcase
Stateside at the Paramount
Dance Another World is an English language immersion program taught through dance. This nonprofit serves non-native English speaking girls from lower socioeconomic areas teaching communication in English through creative movement! Come join the community in supporting our mission and these deserving and talented young girls!
Show begins at 7pm, $21
Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story
This special interactive program based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” will recreate various scenes of Dickens’ classic 1843 tale on four nights in December. Watch the village come to life with carolers and colorful characters that step out of history. Then experience the classic Dickens tale like never before, as our actors take you into the story with an interactive theatrical presentation staged in the historic old buildings at Pioneer Farms. Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future will come to life as you witness the joys the sorrows and the chills of the unforgettable experience. Of course, you have an important role to play as well, for you are Ebenezer Scrooge!
December 4, 5, 11 & 12
Show runs from 7–10 p.m.; $12
Vandegrift High School
Ovation Ballet Company is comprised of dancers from the 3rd-12th grade that train at Dancers Workshop.
The entire show lasts an hour and a half (including intermission), and it is designed for children. Share the magic of this timeless classic with your family this season!
Shows at 11am & 3pm, $10+
A Long Winter’s Night
Scottish Rite Theater
Laura Freeman’s original musical is a distinctively Texas tale with echoes of Dickens. Suzi longs for snow in Texas until the night of the Winter Solstice when she gets more than she bargained for. Featuring live music and outrageous performances by Laura Freeman, Robert Deike, Megan Ortiz, and Robert King in Austin’s oldest and dearest theater!
December 5, 6, 12, 13 & 19
Shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., $8+
Pastorela: A Bilingual Comedy for the Whole Familia
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center
Teatro Vivo presents “La Pastorela”, a traditional play, centered around the pastores (shepherds) as they traveled to Bethlehem in order to witness the birth of Jesus. Pastorelas are one of the oldest and most enduring Christmas traditions in Mexico. Originally, the Mexican Pastorela was a religious theater created for the purpose of converting “heathen native.” Once appropriated by popular theater, it was never the same. Pastorelas take many forms and are vigorously influenced by invention and improvisation from the talent participating. Pastorelas may be religious, folk drama, theater, or even urban folk drama, but a very particular structure is maintained. The bilingual play resonates with both Spanish and English speaking audience members and incorporates traditional music and dance from various regions of Mexico. This production is an entertaining way the whole family can enjoy this Christmas classic.
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.; $8+
A Christmas Carol Classic Radiocast
Old Settlers Hall (Round Rock)
After putting their signature spin on holiday stories from the golden age of film, the players of the fictional KPNF radio station are reaching further back in time to recreate Dickens’ cherished masterpiece like you’ve never seen it before. Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchet, the Spirits and dozens of others are brought to life by a small company of virtuosic voice actors and live foley sound effects reminiscent of “A Prairie Home Companion”. Together, they tell the stirring story of an ice-hearted miser who is given a last shot at redemption one miraculous Christmas Eve night! Run time: 90 minutes with intermission. For ages 5 and up.
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; December 23 at 3pm (no show on the 24th or 25th); $23+
Ballet Austin’s The Nutcraker
Long Center for Performing Arts
From the scrumptious sets and costumes to all of the colorful characters and Divertissements you love, Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker is the longest-running production of the seasonal classic in Texas. Stephen Mills’ take on this timeless tale features a cast of hundreds of dancers, including the charming and talented students from the prestigious Ballet Austin Academy who share the spotlight with our professional company of artists. Celebrate the magic of the holidays by experiencing this sweet treat with your family and friends. Featuring live accompaniment by Austin Symphony Orchestra.
December 5-23, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Shows at 2 & 7:30 p.m.; $22+
8th Annual Production of The Nutcracker
St. Michael’s Catholic Academy
TexARTS presents the classic story of The Nutcracker! Bring the whole family and be swept off your feet as this holiday favorite comes to life on stage! Come join a festive party, fight off the Mouse King, see the Land of Snow and watch in wonder as the Sugar Plum Fairy hosts a dazzling array of dances! Don’t miss out on this once-a-year opportunity. It’s the perfect holiday treat!
Shows at 2 & 6pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday, $15
Keepin’ It Weird TV Promo Concert
HOPE Farmers Market
Enjoy live sketch comedy and improv performances by by Keepin’ It Weird’s youth troupe with live music performances from U Better Sing! Youth Ensemble, Sonic Sprout, and Youth Singer/Songwriters. Proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets go towards Keepin’ It Weird TV Season 2 Fund Raising.
Bah Humbug, A Funny Scrooge
Award-winning San Antonio actor Damian Gillen performs his hilarious one-man ‘Bah Humbug’ adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol in the historic Wessels Hall, a perfect venue for this 19th century tale about Ebenezer Scrooge. From the fast-change costume switches to a live one-man performance, shows like this were popular in 1800s Texas and were performed in dance halls and other venues like ours — a real chance to step back in time and enjoy the holidays in a memorable afternoon that promises loads of fun for the whole family.
Show begins at 3pm, $6+
Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Nutcracker
Long Center’s Rollins Studio Theatre
Tapestry’s unique and highly popular take on the holiday classic. With an original score and live jazz music, this one-of-a-kind evening includes all aspects of Tapestry Dance Company and Academy including the Professional Company, the organization’s pre-apprentice company Visions In Rhythm, TDC’s adult amateur company Visions in Motion and members of the Youth & Adult Academy in a high energy “Austintatious” look at Tchaikovsky’s classic!
December 10-20, Thursdays-Sundays
Shows at 7:30pm on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm; $23+
15th Annual Austin Children’s Nutcracker
Dougherty Arts Center Theater
Share Clara’s adventures as she battles a giant Rat King and transforms her Nutcracker doll into a Prince. Together, Clara and the Prince visit the magical Land of Snow and travel to the Kingdom of Sweets in an enchanted sleigh. First-timers and seasoned fans alike will be delighted by the magic of the 15th annual production of this timeless classic.
December 11-13, 18-20
Shows Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2:30 & 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm; $15+
Peter and the Wolf
Stateside at the Paramount
The world premiere of Lionheart Youth Theatre’s adaptation of Peter and the Wolf. Join us for this modern adaptation of the original tale, with captivating, large-scale puppetry set to a new musical score written and performed by Mother Falcon, one of Austin’s most talked about bands recently described by NPR Music as “sweepingly majestic.” An adaptation written and directed by celebrated puppeteer, Caroline Reck of Glass Half Full Theatre. A new take on a classic tale that is uniquely Austin – not to be missed! Lionheart Youth Theatre is dedicated to creating and presenting youth driven projects that celebrate the fearlessness and imagination of the next generation. Best for ages 7+. Run time is one hour.
Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 2 & 4pm and Sunday at 2 & 4:30pm, $16
Metamorphosis Dance Presents “The Nutcracker: Suite Dreams”
George W. Carver Museum Theater
Come see what has made this ballet a family favorite, but with a new twist on the story. Woven together through its characters, this story has something for everyone. Come see how Austin Metamorphosis Dance Ensemble is changing the shape of dance, one dancer at a time.
December 11 at 7:30 p.m., December 12 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. & December 13, at 2:30 p.m.
$20/ ticket pre-sale, $25 at the door
The Plight Before Christmas
Way Off Broadway Players (Wimberley)
In Old El Paso, Ebeneezer Humbug is about to “raise the dickens” by foreclosing on everyone in town… on Christmas Day! He hopes to force Felicity Fuzziwig to marry him, much to the dismay of his clerk, Bob Scratchit, who also wants to marry her. Jake Marley, the partner Humbug cheated out of half a gold mine years before, appears to claim his share. Will memories of Happy Christmases Past unwrap the Present of Joyful Christmases Yet to Come? Stuff your stocking with this cup overflowing of Holiday Jollity, classic melodrama style! There will be festivities in the lobby with food and fun prior to each show. The festivities commence 1 hour prior to each showtime.
Friday at 8pm, Saturday & Sunday at 3pm; $10+
Tex-Arts Holiday Extravaganza
TexARTS, Kam & James Morris Theatre (Lakeway)
The TexARTS Broadway Company stars in this holiday revue that features irresistible Rockette-style numbers, your favorite holiday hits, and a special appearance by Santa Claus! This perfectly wonderful family favorite is sure to put the SPARKLE in your holidays!December 12 & 13
Shows start at 2 & 6 p.m., $15
ZACH’s Topfer Theatre
Now in its 16th year due to popular demand. In this hilariously fun holiday sing-along, students get into the holiday spirit with Ernie and Rufus.
December 12 & 19
Shows at 11am; $15+
A Christmas Carol Performance
Austin Public Library Cepeda Branch
Storyteller Jerry Young will share Charles Dickens’ ageless story, A Christmas Carol. He will appear in costume as the redeemed Scrooge telling his story.
Wednesday, December 16, 6 – 7 PM
ASPVA: A Winter Spectacular
Stateside at the Paramount
The 9th Annual Winter Spectacular featuring singer-songwriters, dancers, actors, musicians and visual artists is sure to delight audiences of all ages in celebration of the holidays!
Show at 7pm, $15+
Holiday fun for the whole family with talented canines, world-class juggling and a talking macaw.
December 17-January 3
Shows at 6 & 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; Sundays at 4pm (Toddler Matinee) and 6pm, $15+
Disney Live! Three Classic Fairy Tales
Frank Erwin Center
Prepare to laugh, sing and dance as you step into a world of wonder where wishing is only the beginning and dreams really do come true! Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy as they bring the timeless fairy tale adventures of Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to life in a live theatrical experience that is pure magic. With dynamic storytelling, award winning music, stunning costumes, glittering special effects and spectacular sets, you will be captivated by these spellbinding stories when you dream with the princesses and cheer for their heroes as they conquer evil villains. Children one and older must have a ticket to enter.
Shows at 1 & 4pm, $20+
Downton Abbey Christmas Musical
Life in the City
Come celebrate the season with Life in the City, as we present “A Downton Abbey Christmas” with some of the show’s notable characters. Set in an English manor, the humorous and touching story will be wrapped around classic Christmas music. Featured selections include a vocal jazz arrangement from Pentatonix and “Mary Did You Know.” Whether you’re a fan of the PBS series or not, this show is sure to warm your heart this Christmas season!
December 19 & 20
Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 11am; FREE
Scottish Rite Theater
Expect a feast of seasonal entertainment from our troupe of intrepid actors, magicians, dancers, musicians, poets and puppeteers. This year a special focus will be on the traditions of Sweden. All funds raised from this event benefit the kids in the Darfur region of the Sudan – via the Kids for Kids charity.
2:30 (kids’ show) 5:30 p.m. (evening show), $5+
A free, fun-filled family musical production with some of your favorite characters. By free, it’s mostly free. Please bring nonperishable food items for Feed the Community to help those in need in the coming months.
December 23 & 24
Wednesday at 6 & 8pm, Thursday at 2, 4 & 6pm, FREE
Blue Man Group
Get ready for Blue Man Group to thrill Austin with its high-octane theatrical experience! Escape the ordinary and surround yourself in an explosion of comedy, music, and technology. If you’ve never seen Blue Man Group, it’s a must-see. If you’re already a fan, don’t miss it. BLUE MAN GROUP is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine comedy, music, and technology to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. The first two rows of the theatre are a SPLASH ZONE. Performance includes strobe lights and percussive music.
Saturday at noon, 4pm and 8pm; Sunday at 1 and 5pm; $33+
Theatre Roundup for the Older Kids and Grown-Ups for December:
The Free Fringe
There are hundreds of performers, and every single one of them is prone to saying things like “Wouldn’t it be crazy if…?” or “I just had the most insane idea.” This is where those dreams go, not to die, but to live gloriously on the stage for one night only. Every week will be dramatically different. There could be shows with improvisers tied up in rope, 50 performers onstage, blindfolded actors, improvising dogs, or 1000 other things. THE FREE FRINGE IS FREE. FOREVER. Reserve your tickets in advance to guarantee yourself a spot.
Every Thursday (except 24 & 31)
Shows start at 10pm
Prepare for MOVIE RIOT— a live improvised comedy double header event. Two teams of comedy juggernauts take the ColdTowne Theater stage to create brand new never-before-seen movies live on stage. From a title or song lyric, the performers will lovingly craft complete improvised films, all made up on the spot. But the fun doesn’t end there. Add in free popcorn and movie candies (and for a limited time FREE MAGARITAS), you’ll get a recipe for a killer cinema-inspired live comedy event.
Every Friday (no shows on 25 & 31)
Show starts at 7pm, $5
The Hideout presents twelve of Austin’s virtuoso improv comedians for a night of games and scenes based on audience suggestions — but only one of them will make it to the end of the show and be crowned MAESTRO for the week and awarded the coveted Canadian five-dollar bill. Also, all Maestro shows are now wheelchair accessible as they are performed in the Downstairs Theater. To guarantee a space ahead of time e-mail Artistic Director Roy Janik at email@example.com.
Shows at 10pm, $12
A Streetcar Named Desire
Long Center Rollins Studio Theatre
In the sultry streets of New Orleans, passions flare and cultures collide in Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece. Blanche DuBois, a fading relic of the Old South, searches for refuge at her sister’s home, only to collide with reality in the form of Stanley Kowalski, her brutish brother-in-law. Provocative and lyrical, A Streetcar Named Desire is a commanding landmark drama by one of the great voices of the American Theatre. Ages 12 and up.
November 18 – December 6
Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 3pm; $18+
The Wild Party
Oscar G. Brockett Theatre
Set in Manhattan in the Roaring Twenties, vaudeville performer Queenie and her volatile partner, Burrs, host an evening of excess for their guests; a collection of the unruly and undone. The jazz and gin-soaked party rages to a mounting sense of threat as artifice and illusion are stripped away. When midnight debauchery leads to tragedy at dawn, this dark and decadent musical reminds us that no party lasts forever. The Wild Party contains mature content, including sexuality, violence and graphic racial representation. The running time is approximately 90 minutes. There is no late seating.
November 18 – December 6
November 20-21, December 1-5 at 7:30pm; November 21, 22 and December 5 at 2pm; $15+
The Philadelphia Story
A sophisticated, classic romantic comedy about a socialite whose second wedding is threatened by two tabloid reporters, a scandal, and an ex-husband.
November 20 – December 20
Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 5pm; $15+
The City Theatre
The lovely ladies of Truvy’s Beauty Salon are back this holiday season! Robert Harling’s wisecracking and wise southern hit comedy serving up life, love, and laughter that’s as warm and comforting as sweet potato pie. In the haven of Truvy’s beauty parlor, where anyone who’s “anybody” gets their hair done, six women come together to share secrets, gossip, and bare their souls learning to embrace themselves, and the future, with all its uncertainties. From weddings to divorces, babies to funerals, new beginnings to happy endings, they weather every event with grace, determination, and perfectly coiffed hair.
November 20-January 3
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm; $10+
ZACH Theatre Wisenhunt Stage
He’s baaaack! Don’t miss the hilarious Martin Burke as the ever-irreverent elf Crumpet. David Sedaris’ outlandish and true tale comes to life on the Whisenhunt stage as Crumpet shows what it takes to juggle tiny tots and staggering Santas during a painfully festive time of the year. And to kick off the evening, chanteuse Meredith McCall and Martin take you on a sensational sleigh-ride of an all-new cabaret show created especially for ZACH. This merrily subversive and laugh ‘til you cry evening will delight any adult audience.
November 25 – December 27
Most Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 2:30pm; $25+
Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host
This American Life host Ira Glass has been working with Monica Bill Barnes & Company to invent a show that combines two art forms that – as Glass puts it – “have no business being together – dance and radio.” One is all words and no visuals. One is all visuals and no words. The result is a funny, lively, and very talky evening of dance and stories that brought down the house in its first test run at Carnegie Hall. “What makes it work,” says Glass, “is a shared sensibility. As dancers, Monica and Anna are these amazingly relatable and funny storytellers without words.”
Show at 8pm, $75+
Home For The Holidays
The holidays are closing in and all you’ve got to do is get home. You’ve booked your flight, lined up your rental car, everything is in place. Except nothing is going according to plan. The Hideout Theatre presents Home For The Holidays, an improvised tale of trying to reach your loved ones over the holidays and everything that stands between you and your destination. In the style of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Home Alone”, Home For The Holidays will use suggestions from the audience to create a never-before-seen holiday feel-good classic.
December 5, 12, 16, 20
Shows at 6pm, $10
Stealing Baby Jesus
Hyde Park Theatre
STEALING BABY JESUS is a humorous, poignant solo performance piece for adults, based on the writer’s dysfunctional seasonal experiences with diverse, maladjusted, makeshift families in England, Africa, Arabia and America. Join actress/storyteller/ writer, Bernadette Nason on this unsentimental journey to foreign lands. It’ll balance out the excesses of your traditional Christmas!
Shows at 8pm on December 7 & 8 and 15 & 16, 2pm on the 13th; $20
Coming Home: The Moth in Austin
The Moth Mainstage is our flagship program. It features true, personal stories by luminaries in the arts and sciences, as well as an astronaut, an undertaker, a voodoo priestess and a retired NYPD detective, among many others. Each show features five carefully selected storytellers who develop and shape their stories with The Moth’s directors. The Moth Mainstage is a staple of the literary and art scenes in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston, and a continuing presence across the U.S. and beyond. Partners have included public radio stations, non-profit organizations and international arts festivals. We’ve even joined forces with the U.S. State Department to produce Mainstage shows in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and Podgorica, Montenegro.
Show at 8pm, $40
The Book of Mormon
Bass Concert Hall
The New York Times calls it “the best musical of this century.” The Washington Post says, “It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.” And Entertainment Weekly says, “Grade A: the funniest musical of all time.” Jon Stewart of The Daily Show calls it “a crowning achievement. So good it makes me angry.” It’s The Book of Mormon, the nine-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical from the creators of South Park. Contains explicit language.
December 8-10, 11-13
Shows at 8pm December 8-11 and 12, 2pm on the 12th, 1 & 7pm on the 13th; $64+