With so many companies and productions busy in Austin and nearby, some duplications are inevitable. The familiar musicals, of course -- Annie seems to come around in some form about every four or five months. The huge and joyful production at the Georgetown Palace ran through the holiday season, Lee Colee's Broadway Bound boot camp in Wimberley did a fine short version, Tex-Arts has just done a junior production, and now SummerStock Austin has settled in -- "for the duration," as they used to say during World War II. Their Annie, free of charge to the public camping on the hillside in Zilker Park, runs almost a month and a half, until August 14.
For Christmastime 2008 one could attend no fewer than four productions of Christmas Belles. I took my spouse to the one in Wimberley and she thought I was nuts to insist on taking in two more. I passed up the version that played at the Harlequin Dinner Theatre in San Antonio.
But sometimes you'll have an unusual opportunity to see versions of a notable piece of theatre, opportunities to glimpse just how great the differences of interpretation and impact can be. Theatre is, after all, a live art. Though texts may be standard or closely aligned, the real life and blood of a piece comes in the staging. Austin, you now have the chance to examine Tennessee Williams and Shakespeare as examples of the powerful transformations of dramatic art.