Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best in 2008, according to Austin journalists

Austin Live Theatre hasn't been active long enough to offer a "10 best of 2008," but here are opinions from the Austin arts journalists.

ALT agrees with some of them and disagrees pretty strongly about others. If you've been following this chronicle of Austin theatre, you'll have a pretty good idea of ALT's differences.

"10 best" picks from the Austin Chronicle, by:

Robert Faires

Wayne Alan Brenner

Barry Pineo

Hanna Kenah

Avimaan Syam

Elizabeth Cobbe

Over at the Statesman, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin's "8 best arts events," a portmanteau article that groups under heading #8 her choice of eight
"jewel-like exhibits and performances."

Review: 12 Steps to a More Disfunctional Christmas, Rob Nash's one-man show, Vortex, through January 3

From the review by Avimaan Syam in the Austin Chronicle of December 31:

I have a tendency to avoid holiday-themed theatre due to its saccharine nature, but I was won over by Nash's ability and willingness to show the fault lines between families and our attempts to patch them up in a way that is never cheesy. 12 Steps is sweet, honest, funny, and – for anyone who's struggled to hold his or her tongue at a holiday gathering – a welcome relief.

Click for full review

Monday, December 29, 2008

Upcoming: World's Fastest Hamlet and Heron & Crane at Austin's First Night, December 31

The downtown festivities for the afternoon and evening of December 31, known as "First Night," include at least two theatre events of interest: Austin Shakespeare offers The World's Fastest Hamlet at 3:30 and 6:00 and DA! Theatre Collective offers its children's piece Heron & Crane at 4:30.

Both are at the
HBMG stage, located on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake close to the First Street Bridge:

HBMG activities start with a 3 p.m. demonstration of the Brazilian martial art of Capoeria. Full schedule there :

Click here for the full First Night program, in .pdf.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Upcoming: Spaceman Dada Robot, Electronic Planet Ensemble at the Vortex, January 9 -24

UPDATE: Click for ALT review of January 17

Found on-line:

presented by Electronic Planet Ensemble in association with VORTEX Repertory Company
Jan.09-24, 2009 Thur-Sun 8pm

Electronic Planet Ensemble presents SPACEMAN:DADA:ROBOT, a multi-media environment of sight, sound and words to celebrate the meaning of the universe and all of the creatures in it.

Ponder the meaning of life with existential robots, go swimming through the stars with a space whale, and go zooming through non-sequiturs and hyperbole as Spaceman looks for the woman of his dreams, Starwoman.

SPACEMAN:DADA:ROBOT is a multi-media event/performance created by collaborative improv and synergistic dada epiphanies; music, video and words created in jam sessions and brain storm singularities by Sergio R. Samayoa, David Jewell, Chad Salvata, Rachel Fuhrer, and Jo Beth Henderson will entertain, amuse, and possibly inform (many actual facts about space will be included).

Produced in association with VORTEX Repertory Company.

Also, in the lobby, an International Mail Art show will display all mail received concerning the themes of SPACEMAN:DADA:ROBOT up to the end of the run of the show. Send actual art through the mail to this address:

8003B Tisdale Dr
Austin, TX 78757

And then come see how it mixes and mingles with all the other art received.

Space travel. It gets you out of the house. It gets you out of this world. And it just might get you out of your mind.

TICKETS: $30-$10 :: $30-$25 Priority Seating, $20-$15 General Admission, $10 Starving Artists (Thurs & Sun 2-for-1 admission with donation of 2 non-perishable food items for SafePlace.) Available on-line or at 512-478-LAVA (5282).

About The Electronic Planet Ensemble
Electronic Planet Ensemble evolved in the 1990’s as a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team of artists who created six fully-realized multi-disciplinary works: Alien Experiments, Atomic Experiments, Animal Experiments, The Apocalytes, The Tetragons, and InCarNation. Each project was a collaborative work between musicians, poets, video artists, actors, and technicians. They were performed in Austin at The Planet Theatre, The VORTEX, and Hyde Park Theatre, and at a multi-media arts festival at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, Maine. Previous work has been recognized by the South by Southwest Interactive Festival and favorably reviewed by the Austin Chronicle and The Austin American Statesman.

About the artistic collaborators of Electronic Planet Ensemble

David Jewell has lived in Austin and performed his poetry in many forms and at many venues for the past 25 years. He opened for Laurie Anderson at the Paramount Theatre, and opened for Leon Redbone, Lydia Lunch, and the Lounge Lizards at the Cactus Cafe. His poem "delusion angel" is featured in Richard Linklater's film "Before Sunrise", and he appears as himself in another Linklater film, "Waking LIfe".

Sergio R. Samayoa has written original music and sound design for over 50 theatre shows as company member of the Vortex Repertory Company between 1990 and 2000 and won several awards for best sound design including the B. Iden Payne First Choice Award and the Austin Critics’ Table award. Many of his credits include original music for dancer/choreographer Andrea Ariel and her company Ariel Dance Theatre. He has also been guest artist composing original music at the Mcneese State University theatre department.

Chad Salvata has been creating visionary new operas and performance installations for the past 20 years. Salvata is extensively trained and experienced as a composer, musician, visual artist and designer, and dancer. He is best known for his epic cybernetic operas: Elytra, Triskelion, Panoptikon, and The Black Blood. These operas featured amazing science fiction costumes, elegant scenery, spectacular lighting, and provocative sexual and mythological content. He received Austin Critics’ Table and B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Original Score for The Dragonfly Princess, Vampyress, and Pythia Dust.

Upcoming: Wonderdog, Polyanna Theatre Company at the Rollins Theatre, January 15 - 20

UPDATE: from Interview with Polyanna Theatre Company member published on January 14 on
Tell us about Pollyanna Theatre Company:
Pollyanna has been around since late 2000 and has grown quickly. As a company that specializes in the creation and presentation of new plays for young audiences, we started out with an original play by our
Resident Playwright, Emily Cicchini and continue to produce at least
two new plays each season. We are a company of adult, professional
theatre artists that perform for child and family audiences. So the
children are our audience, not on our stage. Our goal is to create
exciting, imaginative productions that ignite the sense of wonder
found in each child who sees our work. We are now serving approx.
24,000 children each season.

Found via Long Center e-mail and on-line:

Pollyanna Theatre Company


Wonderdog, a new play for children and families by Lou Clark

When you are the new girl in town, you are the new girl in school. Things are not easy when you are the new girl in your class. And it sure isn’t easy when you and your Mom are living in a new house for the first time without your Dad. It sure is a good thing that stray pug showed up and has now come to the rescue! Lou Clark’s new play, Wonderdog, will have everyone wondering if dogs really might have the power of super friendship if you rub their tummies. You just never know who might come to help you when you need them most! Best for children in grades K – 3.

Tickets are $6.25 for children under 12, $7.25 for students age 12 and older, ACOT members, and Seniors, and $8.25 for adults.

Group rates for school groups ranging from $3.00 - $5.00 are available depending upon the total number of tickets reserved.

Financial Aid is available based upon financial need.

Call 743-7966 for reservations and information.

Rollins Studio Theatre
January 15-20
Performance Times: Weekday mornings at 9:15am and 10:45am, Saturday the 17th at 11am & 2pm, Sunday the 18th at 2pm.

No performances on January 19.

Upcoming: Miss Witherspoon, Different Stages at the City Theatre, January 9 - February 1

UPDATE: Click for ALT review

received December 23:

Miss Witherspoon
City Theatre, 3823 Airport Road, Suite D

January 9 - February 1, 2009
Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 pm & Sundays at 2 pm

Pick Your Price: $15, $20, $25, $30

(AUSTIN, Texas) - Different Stages continues its 2008-2009 season with Christopher Durang's comedy Miss Witherspoon, named one of the Ten Best Plays of 2005 by Time Magazine and Newsday, an a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Poor Miss Witherspoon! After her untimely death, she arrives in the afterlife expecting eternal peace, only to find that she is being reincarnated - over and over until she gets it right! Nothing that God, Gandalf, or Rex Harrison can say will convince her to return to Earth! Miss Witherspoon must embrace her spiritual lessons, and learn to use her stubbornness for the good of mankind in this wacky and insightful metaphysical comedy.

Directed by Karen Jambon (Stop Kiss) Miss Witherspoon features Jennifer Underwood (Suddenly Last Summer, The Casket of Passing Fancy) as Miss Witherspoon. Four actors new to Different Stages comprise the rest of the cast. Suzanne Balling (Twelfth Night) plays Miss Witherspoon's spiritual guide in the afterlife. Derek Jones (The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940) and Camille Latour (The Red Balloon) play good parents, bad parents and everyone else in Miss Witherspoon's many lives. Patricia Robinson (Death and the Kings Horseman) plays a teacher and a deity.


P.S. FOR ONE DAY ONLY Different Stages Garage Sale Saturday, December 27, from 8am to 2pm 4602 Rosedale Ave. (garage located behind house)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Upcoming: Holiday House Party, Austin Children's Theatre at the Vortex, December 27

Found on line:

Holiday House Party

Interactive theatrical fun for the whole family

presented by VORTEX Repertory Company and Austin Children’s Theater

Saturday, Dec.27, 2008 4pm

You and your whole family are invited to Austin’s most famous Party Between the Parties, the HOLIDAY HOUSE PARTY. This year it’s in the theatre at The VORTEX on Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 4pm. (Tickets: $5-$20)

Once the wrapping paper has cleared and the leftovers consumed, the New Year is right around the bend. And it’s at this time every year that local socialite Henrietta Hasselfree hosts her annual HOLIDAY HOUSE PARTY.

Bring the whole family to meet our fabulous hostess, Henrietta Hasselfree, as she gets things jumping with an unusual cast of party guests including Tex with the Reindeer Game of the Year, Opie with his favorite holiday story, Nelda the New Year's Hypnotist, grumpy neighbor Mrs. Barrelhead, and of course Father Time, who stops by to start the Craziest-Race-Ever to ring in the New Year. And everyone gets to make a fabulous party hat for the occasion.

Filled with surprises, HOLIDAY HOUSE PARTY is an over-the-top audience participation event filled with laughter and fun for the entire family.

Tickets are sliding scale $5-$20.
Available in advance through The VORTEX Box Office on-line or over the phone. or 512-478-LAVA.

The HOLIDAY HOUSE PARTY is more fun than going to the movies (again) and better than hanging out at home (some more) on the long holiday weekend. Bring the gang for some live entertainment and come on out to the Holiday House Party!!

This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Video with Audio -- Gepetto's Year by Ricki Vincent

Received December 20 -- a two-minute clip with a cheery history of the first year in Austin of the Gepetto Dreams puppet company, posted on PhotoBucket.

Click on image of Ricki Vincent and friend or click here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Arts - The Cold, Hard Facts from the National Endowment on the Arts

The National Endowment demonstrates with statistics, graphs and charts that the number of non-profit theatres in the United States has expanded dramatically in recent years but the audience has contracted. And the Endowment's June 2007 profile of artists as workers merits the attention of anyone seriously interested in an arts career.

All America's a Stage examines developments in the growth, distribution, and finances of America’s nonprofit theater system since 1990. Nearly 2,000 nonprofit theaters were analyzed for the study. While the research indicates broad growth and generally positive fiscal health, it also reveals decreasing attendance rates and vulnerability during economic downturns. December 2008. 8 pp.

From introduction, signed by Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts:

The only area for concern in the healthy financial profile of the nonprofit theatres is their historical vulnerability to large economic downturns. During both of the last two major recessions, total revenue and contributions fell markedly. This vulnerability could create issues for the nonprofit theatre community in the current recession.

Read More at . . . .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Belles -- threefold

The goofy holiday comedy Christmas Belles has closed at the Sam Bass Theatre in Round Rock and at the Wimberly Players, but you can still catch it through this weekend at the City Theatre in Austin, one of my favorite venues in town.

Three local versions? Four, in fact, if you’re willing to extend your area of coverage to San Antonio, where the show closed this past weekend at the Harlequin Dinner Theatre.

I reviewed the Sam Bass Community Theatre version on November 27 and the following week I took my spouse out to see the Wimberly Players’ version, staged in their tidy, impeccably finished small theatre. She enjoyed the country drive but she turned to me after the show, “Are you REALLY going to see this show three times??”

I did exactly that, catching the City Theatre version last week.

Read More at . . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Asking for Your Input -- Cultural Affairs Division, City of Austin

From article by Dante Dominic on

“Part of what makes Austin so unique is our diversity, our culture,” says Laura Esparza, Cultural Affairs Division Manager. “This survey will help us know how to reach our different communities with the most exciting programs for them. We need to get a clear picture of our changing cultural needs and tastes,” said Esparza, “so we’re getting as many opinions as possible.”

The Cultural Affairs Division is a branch of the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department. It oversees the Carver Museum and Cultural Center, the Dougherty Arts Center, the Elisabet Ney Museum, the O. Henry Museum, the Zilker Hillside Theater, the People’s Renaissance Market, and the Mexican American Cultural Center. In 2008, the division offered more than 2350 arts classes, hosted over 200,000 visitors, and incubated at least 3283 individual artists and community groups through free or low-cost use of their galleries, theaters, and rehearsal spaces.

“In the end, this survey is about you,” Esparza concludes.

Click here for link -- or click on image.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Abuelita's Christmas Carol, Alex Garza at City Theatre, December 13 - 21

Alex Garza’s photo for this funny, charming tribute might suggest to you a cross-dressing version of elfin Espy Randolph in Zach Theatre’s annual Santaland Diaries.

Not so. For Abuelita's Christmas Carol Alex does use a prop or two, including those wonderful fly-away glasses and a Christmas apron, but for almost all of the presentation he dresses as himself.

He's a bald-shaven, short, rounded man in an olive-colored pullover and jeans, with a wonderful, jumpy animation and the talent to embody nine characters, including himself, principally with shifts in voice and body language. As well as the pet pig, Agapito.

Read More at . . .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Upcoming: God's Trombones by James Weldon Johnson, Texas State University at the Wine Cellar Bistro, San Marcos, December 28

Found on-line:


A Collection of Poems in Free Verse By James Weldon Johnson

Produced by Texas State University Department of Theatre and Dance Professors Eugene Lee and Sandra Mayo in Collaboration with
The Wine Cellar Bistro and Boutique, San Marcos, Texas

Sunday, December 28th at The Wine Cellar
4:00 - 6:30 pm

Light Hors d' Oeuvres To Be Served


A Collection of Seven Negro Sermons in Verse

James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), held a number of positions over his 67 years. Among these were: school principal, journalist, lawyer, composer, poet, novelist, editor, literary critic, diplomat, civil rights worker, and professor. Johnson became the field secretary for the NAACP in 1917, and founded local chapters both in the South and in other parts of the country, helping to increase the membership from10,000 to 44,000 in one year. In 1920, he was made the General Secretary of the NAACP, its chief operating officer. Then ten years later, in 1930, Johnson resigned from that post and became a professor of creative writing at Fisk University.

James Weldon Johnson's major contribution to the Harlem Renaissance explosion of black American writing was his book of poems, God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, published in 1927. For almost ten years Johnson worked on these folk sermons in verse whenever the demands of his work with the NAACP relented enough to make writing possible. "The Creation" was published in 1918, and two others were published in magazines during the mid-1920s. In this work he followed the principles he had developed in writing the long preface to The Book of American Negro Poetry:

"What the colored poet in the United States needs to do is something like what Synge did for the Irish; he needs to find a form that will express the racial spirit by symbols from within rather than symbols from without, such as the mere mutilation of English spelling and pronunciation. . . . He needs a form that is freer and larger than dialect . . . a form expressing the imagery, the idioms, the peculiar terms of thought and distinctive humor and pathos, too, of the Negro. "(Quoted in Johnson's introduction to God's Trombones)

The completed book presents seven sermons - "The Creation," "The Prodigal Son," "Go Down Death--A Funeral Sermon," "Noah Built the Ark," "The Crucifixion," "Let My People Go," and "The Judgment Day"- preceded by an opening poem, "Listen, Lord - A Prayer." While the book as a whole does not have a narrative structure, as the sermons stand independent of one another, the sermons as poems bring together the narrative element of the stories from the Bible on which they are each based, the narrative/dramatic moment of the sermon, and the lyric quality of the folk preacher's language. - Joseph Skerrit Jr.

The seven poetic "sermons" that constitute God's Trombones are written in free verse, and they make use of African rhythms and the intonations of southern folk idioms. That free-verse style enables Johnson to focus attention on the metaphoric and ironic creativity of the African-American oral tradition. - The Reverend Dr. Byron E. Schafer, Rutgers Presbyterian Church.

The poems in the collection are:

Listen, Lord -A Prayer - an invocation

The Creation - a retelling of the creation story of the Bible

The Prodigal Son- from the biblical parable of the prodigal son

Go Down Death - A Funeral Sermon - in which Jesus is depicted as sending his servant, Death, to bring to heaven a weary woman who is old and ready to die, so that she can rest

Noah Built the Ark - retelling the biblical stories of Adam and Eve, a story of how sin entered the world, and of Noah and the Great Flood sent to cleanse the earth

The Crucifixion- telling the story of Jesus' crucifixion

Let My People Go - echoing Johnson's favorite spiritual, while at the same time addressing both black readers and white.

The Judgment Day - the prophetic story of the Apocalypse

More Info: The Wine Cellar

Date: Dec 28, 2008 (Sun)
Time: 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Cost: Free


Place: The Wine Cellar Bistro and Boutique
202 N. LBJ Suite 101
San Marcos, TX 78666

View Map

Phone: 512-805-9463

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Relative Space by DA! Theatre Collective at the Hyde Park Theatre, December 7 - 17 (Sundays through Wednesdays)

Like an extra gift crammed down into the toe of your Christmas stocking, Relative Space is deftly tucked into the off-hours at Hyde Park Theatre on 43rd street. It’s rare that you can get to enjoy theatre or dance on a Sunday-to-Wednesday cycle, unless some touring company cruises through town in that usually “dark” period. This short frolic rolls at 5 p.m. on Sunday and 8 p.m. each following evening, time-sharing the playing space with Xmas Unwrapped, A Burlesque Christmas.

Relative Space features four gals and three guys in lively, happy frolic, bouncing off every corner and angle in the oddly configured Hyde Park Theatre. Choreographer Lisa del Rosario (pictured) stations her dancers anonymously in the audience, then comes hustling in as the last spectator for the show. She seats herself, blinks those big eyes of hers, does another couple of bits of business, then initiates a clapping, slapping rhythm that’s gradually taken up by the dancers, still in their seats.

Read More at . . . .

Friday, December 12, 2008

Upcoming: The Last Five Years, Penfold Theatre at Austin Playhouse's Larry L. King Theatre, December 31 - January 18

UPDATE: Austin Live Theatre Review of January 2 performance

UPDATE: KUT's John Aielli interviews director, cast sings key songs
(25 minutes)(Click here for site on "Aielli Unleashed")

Received from Penfold Theatre by e-mail, December 12:

Tix on sale: The Last Five Years

The story

The Last Five Years is a contemporary song-cycle musical that powerfully chronicles the five year life of a marriage, from meeting to break-up... or from break-up to meeting, depending on how you look at it. Newly published novelist Jamie and aspiring actress Cathy tell the tale of their raw and impassioned relationship in opposite directions and from destructively differing standpoints. Written by Jason Robert Brown (Parade, Songs from a New World), this celebrated two-hander reminds us it's possible to feel claustrophobically close and yet worlds apart from the one you hold nearest to your heart.

Content advisory: This show contains adult language and sexual references that may not be appropriate for children.

Running time: This show runs 90 minutes and has no intermission.

Performance information

A co-production of Austin Playhouse and Penfold Theatre Company
Directed by Michael McKelvey
Featuring David Gallagher and Annika Johansson.

December 31* - January 18
At the Larry L. King Theatre, Austin Playhouse
3601 S. Congress, Bldg. C (Get Directions)

Performances: Thursday - Saturday at 8:00pm and Sundays at 5:00pm.
Admission: $20 regular. $15 students. $10 student rush (on sale an hour before each show).
Groups: parties of 10 or more should call the box office for discounted rates.
Reservations: Call our box office at (512) 476-0084.
Buy tickets online.

*Opening night/New Year's Eve champagne gala!

Begin your New Year's celebration with a night at the theatre! We'll start the show early, at 7:30pm, and follow it up with food and champagne. Then we'll let you out in time for your other New Year's Eve parties (we promise). The total cost for show and festivities is $25 per person. Check back later for more details!!

A Closer Look --

Click to listen to a song from the show

Click to read a review of the original Off-Broadway production

Hannah Kenah's interview of director Michael McKelvey, published in Austin Chronicle of December 24

Reviews: David Sedaris' Santaland Diaries, Zach Theatre, November 28 - January 11

Available at

Laura Cole's review in The Daily Texan on-line, December 8;

SarahMarie on, December 9;

Jim L. on;

Hannah Kenah's December 23 review in the Austin Chronicle;

Warren & Derrick's comments, December 29;

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin's December 2 review for the Austin Statesman;

Zach Theatre ticket page with video.

Read More at . . . .

Reviews: I've Never Been So Happy (workshop), Rude Mechanicals, December 4 - 13

UPDATE: Rude Mechs and UT students workshop, present on 7/13

Available on

JustFo's review published by, December 19;

Ryan E. Johnson's December 12 review on; and

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin's pre-opening promo on the Statesman's Austin360 blog, December 10 ("The Rudes Mechs Send A Great Big Valentine to the West"):

Read More on . . .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Upcoming: What's So Funny?, Reppy and CrystalSwordfish Theatre Works at the Vortex, December 13 and 20 afternoons

Found on-line:

What's So Funny?
The Ridiculously Hilarious Family-Friendly Sketch Show!

Saturday Dec.13 & Saturday Dec. 20, 2008 @ 2:30 pm !!Two Shows Only!!

What do talkative eggplants, dancing teddy bears, cream-cheese/raisin bread sandwiches, outrageously fabulous hats, silent rubber chickens, unhappy garden gnomes, and a magic tuna casserole have in common? They’re all part of the seamless and relentless tour-de-farce of pathos and hilarity that answers the eternal question: WHAT’S SO FUNNY?

Bring the entire kit and kaboodle--children, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles—and everyone else you love ages 4-104 and enjoy the perfect family activity for the holidays, the side-splitting premiere of Founding/Artistic Director Reppy's newly-formed production company, CrystalSwordFish TheatreWorks!

WHAT'S SO FUNNY? features the best and most beloved sketches from playwright/director Reppy's award-winning interactive music/comedy show, ROMP! and her fabulous summer youth theatre, Courageous Comedy Camp, plus some brand-new never-before-seen material written especially for this amazing group of incredibly talented young actors (ages 7-15), and some special surprise guests!

Find out WHAT’S SO FUNNY? As you enjoy savvy and sophisticated sketch comedy that is completely family-friendly and of course, ridiculously hilarious! (WARNING: Do not attend this show unless you want to be happier, more charismatic, and better-looking afterwards than you were when you came in.)

For tickets and information call The VORTEX Box Office 478-5282 or visit is on-line at

Review: I'll Be Seeing You, Tex-Arts, December 5 - 21

From Barry Pineo's review in the Austin Chronicle of December 12:

". . . the show is about the music, not the narrative, and in this, the production almost always excels. Leslie Hollingsworth, Kelly Khun, and Selena Rosanbalm take the roof off right at the beginning, performing multiple Andrews Sisters songs, and each contributes worthy solos later on. And Andrew Cannata sings "I'll Be Home for Christmas" as if it were written just for him. But as impressive as the music is, the single most impressive part of the show is when four couples dance to "In the Mood" on the tiny stage of the Kam and James Morris Theatre. Swooping and twirling and tossing each other with abandon, Lewis and Alison Spell create as thrilling and entertaining a dance as I've ever seen in a theatre."

Click for full review.

Click for Tex-Arts' ticket form (tickets are $22 - $48)

Upcoming: Flow, Zell Miller III at the Vortex, December 11 - 13

Found on-line:

Hosted by Zell Miller III.

Dec.11-13, 2008 (Thurs-Sat) 8pm

The VORTEX and Uprise! Productions present FLOW! --an innovative experiment in theater where the worlds of hip-hop, spoken word, and improv collide to give you one of the most original nights of entertainment you will ever experience.

Spoken Word Artists and Hip-hop MC’s will be lead by Zell Miller, III (Radio Silence: a word opera). The Improvers will be lead by one of the best in the business: the crazy funny Ted Rutherford.

The energy of a Slam poetry event, the word play of Hip-hop culture, and the “Yes and” principals of improv combine to create Flow!.

Featuring performances by Ebony Stewart (Radio Silence: a word opera), a hot new female rap group "Graffiti Tongue", Black Listed Individuals, and many, many more. The night will also feature DJ S.T.A.T.I.K.

3 nights only--Thursday December 11th, Friday December 12th , and Saturday December 13th.

Zell Miller III is an interdisciplinary theater/performance poet. His recent show, Radio Silence: a word opera, which premiered at The VORTEX received the award for Outstanding Original Script (B. Iden Payne Award). His one-man show my Child, my child, my alien child, won Best Original Script in 2007 from the Austin Critics’ Table.

Zell is also the creator and co-producer of the Hip-Hop Theater Explosion which features poets, MC’s, DJ’s, dancers, and musicians in a theatrical variety show. He hosts “Speaking the Spoken: The Art of Verse” a monthly open mic series at The VORTEX. He has been a featured poet at South by Southwest Music Fest and has opened for legendary artists such as Nikki Giovianni and The Last Poets. As one of the premiere hip-hop theater artists in the country, Zell is proud to bring this art form to his home city, Austin.

ickets: $30-$10
($30-$25 Priority Seating, $20-$15 General Admission, $10 Starving Artists)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Puppet Stuff, Gepetto Dreams

from Gepetto, December 9:

Geppetto Dreams Puppet Company has a hundred incredible artisan hand/rod and sock puppets looking for homes with kids in need of a smile for Christmas. If you know of such a kid or even a whole bunch of those kids please contact us and we' ll get you on the list...
Happy Holidays,

Also... Looking for people interested in building a dream. Some lifting involved… Interested parties must have a serious love for the art of puppetry. Newly formed non-profit Puppet Company is in need of puppeteers in the city that insists on keeping it weird… Austin, TX.

Austin’s already a big music and film town; we want to make it a puppet town as well. We’re looking for artists interested into making a new start. Experienced puppet folk would be great but prefer candidates that have a background in dance, theater, mime, performance art, or comedy… or a combination of any those. Oh and if you’re a puppet builder that’s even better. We’ll train you if you’re just into starting something new. The main thing is you have to love what you do… You don’t make a lot of money and it helps to have a straight job. We started full time in Austin Fall of 07 and in less then a years time we have our own theater, imagine what we could do with your help! We’re only looking for dreamers as this is something we love. Only the creative need apply.

So lets wrap up we’ve got the finances to produce shows, the equipment, access to grants, a great venue, and a ton of puppets… we just need a few more puppeteers to make it work… For those wanting to see what we do, go to

Any Ph.D.s Looking for a UT Theatre Job?

published by the American Alliance for Theatre Education, December 8:


Job Type: Tenure Track

Job Rank: Assistant Professor

College: Fine Arts

Department: Theatre & Dance

Department URL:

Closing Date: January 15, 2009 or until position is filled

Field of Specialization: Applied Drama/Theatre and Community Cultural Engagement

Job Description:
The Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin is accepting applications for a tenure-track faculty position to provide leadership in an advanced Graduate program in applied drama/theatre and community cultural engagement. The applicant must have a Ph.D. and professional experience in these areas of specialization. Teaching responsibilities include graduate and undergraduate courses in: critical pedagogies; applied drama/theatre; theatre of the oppressed; theatre-in-education; research methods; community-based practice; civic engagement through the arts. Related responsibilities include program development in both graduate and undergraduate programs in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Performance as Public Practice; advising undergraduate and graduate students; supervision of graduate level work; service to the department, university and field. The successful candidate also will have a background and/or teaching experience in one or more of the following areas: urban and/or multicultural/multi-lingual education; cultural construction of childhood; playmaking/devising; play analysis; dramaturgy. It is expected that the successful candidate will have a minimum of three years of successful college level teaching experience, be active as a leader in national professional organizations and activities and have experience developing partnerships with schools and community-based theatre programs and/or companies. The University of Texas at Austin is one of the great research institutions in the US. Therefore, the successful candidate will be expected to actively pursue a related area of original research, with a mandate to add significantly to the field through publication. The University of Texas at Austin does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation in employment. Salary commensurate with experience. Starting date: August, 2009.

Applicant Instructions:
Application deadline: January 15, 2009 or until position is filled. Applicants are invited to send a letter of application, resume, names and contact information of five referees to:

Applied Drama/Theatre Search Committee Chair
Department of Theatre and Dance
1 University Station - D3900
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-0362
posted by AATE National Office

Monday, December 8, 2008

Still Fountains by Michael Mitchell at Salvage Vanguard, December 5 - 13

Glum and dreary exercises in male homosexual misery, these two plays by Michael Mitchell now playing at the Salvage Vanguard seem curiously dated.

Maybe early Tennessee Williams?

The first play, Highway Home, brings together two brothers, each probably a homosexual frustrated in his own way, with their nephew Blake (Jude Hickey) and his new wife Alison, an African-American attorney (Gina Houston). The occasion is the long-delayed death of their mother.

Read More at . . .

Upcoming: Abuelita's Christmas Carol, Alex Garza at City Theatre, December 13 - 21

UPDATE: Click for AustinLiveTheatre review

Found on the Internet:

“ABUELITA’S CHRISTMAS CAROL” is back in Austin for four shows only in an unforgettable solo performance by Austin’s talented and hilarious Alex Garza.

That’s right, she’s back! She’s no Ebenezer Scrooge and she’s definitely no George Bailey…she’s a lot more spicy!!

It’s Abuelita, a 70 year old Mexican-American grandmother with her own cooking show! In a loving tribute to his grandmother and using characters and experiences from his own life and family, Alex Garza portrays a comic and touching array of characters to tell the story of a grandmother who finds out what it means to live a truly “wonderful life”. A fun holiday adventure for everyone!

December 13-21st, Saturdays at 2pm, Sundays at 8pm.

City Theatre. 3823 Airport Blvd. Suite D., Austin.Tx. 78722

$10.00 General Admission

Contact 512-619-5327 or email for more info or reservations.

It's A Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play, Austin Playhouse, December 5 - 21

Here’s a warm, vivid and imaginative presentation that’s a time machine back to simpler pleasures.

As part of the audience for a 1946 radio presentation of It’s A Wonderful Life, you enjoy the magic of radio drama. Five actors do double duty – as multivoiced interpreters for that imaginary radio audience out there, and as an
ensemble of 5 radio pros working a script in front of you. Yes, they're holding scripts -- but under Lara Toner's direction they are moving and interpreting the story with the grace and timing of aerial artists.

It’s a fine holiday presentation – one that won’t scoff at the season, distort it with eccentric characters, or push any agenda other than the American Dream.

Read More at . . .

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gorilla Man, Vestige Group at the Creekside Lounge, 606 E. 7th Street, Decembet 4 - 20

Gorilla Man plays in a hang-loose theatre space Thursdays through Saturdays. The guys at the Creekside Lounge are more used to your typical 6th & 7th street music scene than to the romping of thespians, but they were good natured about hosting the show.

I arrived right at the posted time of 7:30 a.m., and I went directly into the bar. They directed me to the apparently unheated space next door, where some twenty folding chairs were set up in front of a bandstand. Director Susie Gidseg welcomed me aboard, and I joined the mostly college age crowd gathering there. The bartender eventually showed up and amicably sold me a Real Ale for just $2.50, so I was ready to go. I even took off my wool cap and later in the evening I unzipped my leather jacket.

The 3-person band led by Henna Chou showed up promptly, wearing white shirts, suspenders and fedoras, along with narrator Spencer Driggers. They launched into the impossibly nutty musical story of Billy, the 14-year-old boy who discovers that puberty for him means waking up with abundant fur growing on his hands and other parts of his body. “Mom! What’s going on??”

Read More at . . .

Friday, December 5, 2008

Austin -- America's Number 11 City for Theatre

Travis Bedard of Gobotrick Theatre Company passes along this news:

Travel and Leisure magazine has ranked Austin at number 11 for theatre. (It's number 2 for live music). Their criteria are unspecified, but here are the scores for their top 25 cities for theatre:

Rank Score City
1 4.90 New York
2 4.52 Chicago
3 4.50 Minneapolis/St. Paul
4 4.30 San Francisco
5 4.26 Boston
6 4.25 Washington, D.C.
7 4.19 Las Vegas
8 4.06 Seattle
9 4.05 Philadelphia
10 3.97 Portland, Oregon
11 3.92 Austin
12 3.91 Los Angeles
13 3.87 Nashville
14 3.85 Charleston
15 3.84 Denver
16 3.83 San Diego
17 3.72 Atlanta
18 3.69 Santa Fe
19 3.66 San Antonio
20 3.62 Dallas/Fort Worth
21 3.60 New Orleans
22 3.54 Orlando
23 3.47 Miami
24 3.45 Phoenix/Scottsdale
25 3.36 Honolulu

Click for Travis's comments on his blog Midnight Honesty at Noon

The Nutcracker, A Puppet Presentation, Austin Public Library locations, December 5 - 18

From the Austin Public Library:

The Nutcracker is a classic favorite, a charming tale of holiday adventure that follows a little girl's journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers and an army of mice. Enhanced by Tchaikovsky's much-loved score, Literature Live! brings the story to life with puppets.

Clara journeys to the Land of Sweets with her Nutcracker Prince where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy, dancing candy canes and many other colorful characters. In the end, Clara is left to wonder whether it was all a dream.

The show is free and open to children ages 5 and older. For more information please call 512-974-7302 or visit

Received December 5 from Ellen via the Austin Puppet Society:

Hello, all -- Devo and I have about 8 performances left of The Nutcracker and we would love for you to see what we are doing. It is a 30 minute traditional puppet show with hand puppets on a standing stage.

The puppets are an experiment in Super Sculpy, which is wonderful to work with, but not advised for hand puppets. I have already had to mend a broken head and neck, but they came out of surgery feeling fine.

These are all at Austin Public Library locations and can be searched on the APL website.
We will also be participating in the First Night parade as the Bibliofiles with book carts!

12/5 @ 1:00 – Terrazas branch library

12/6 @ 2:00 – Central library

12/9 @ 10:30 – Cepeda branch library

12/10 @ 10:30 - Old Quarry branch library

12/15 @ 3:30 - Spicewood Springs branch library

12/16 @ 7:00pm – Howson branch library

12/17 @ 3:30 – Milwood branch library

12/18 @ 10:15 - Little Walnut branch library

Peace and hope to see you there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Studs Terkel - Working, at Salgado exhibition, AMOA, December 3

At one point during the performance in the Congress Avenue gallery of the Austin Museum of Art an actress portrayng a waitress sang out, “Right this way, party of 32!”

Maybe we were more numerous, but I don’t think we got up to fifty.

This was an intimate performance – five actors doing three monologues and a duologue, standing in the gallery before the photographs taken by Brazilian economist and social activist SebastiĆ£o Salgado.

Arriving half an hour before the performance, I joined others who were absorbing Sagado’s vision. In the period 1986 – 1993 he traveled to 23 countries, where he photographed men and women at work in some of the most difficult jobs and environments imaginable. Sicilian fishermen herding enormous tuna into a killing tank on the open sea and then spearing them; laborers in non-mechanized sulfur pits in Indonesia, who carried 155 pounds of sulfur ore on their backs, ascending 2000 feet from the pit of an extinct volcano; ship-breakers on the beach in Bangladesh; cane-cutters in Cuba, both at work in the fields and gathered in exhaustion afterwards in their barracks.

Salgado’s work is gorgeous and chilling.

Read More at . . .