’Tis the season for singing and dancing, and what better way to embrace that than heading to the theater? Big or small, new or old, dramatic or comedic, here’s four upcoming musicals in Austin to keep you humming long after you’ve left the theater!
The King and I
If you want an immediate fix of classical musical theater, then check out the national tour of this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic, in town for this week only. This production was originally mounted in 2015 at Lincoln Center Theater to much acclaim, including the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam (itself based on the real-life memoirs of Anna Leonowens), the show tells the story of a British schoolteacher who has been brought to Siam by its king in order to help modernize the country, starting with his own family. It features some show-tune gems that almost everyone will recognize, including “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance.”
Bass Concert Hall, Dec. 12-17, Tue-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 7pm, plus a Sat matinee at 2pm and a Sun matinee at 1pm; $30-$140
A Christmas Carol: A Rockin’ Musical
For the fourth year in a row, Zach Theatre presents its own adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, combining original songs with remixed carols to tell the story of penny-pinching miser Ebenezer Scrooge’s eye-opening Christmas Eve spent getting visited by several ghosts. The show features an all-star cast of Austin vocalists, including the amazing Chanel (who brought down the house as Billie Holiday last year in Zach’s production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill) as the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Zach Theatre, Through Dec 31, Wed-Sun at 7:30pm, Sat & Sun at 2:30pm, $30-$160
The Voices of Donny Hathaway
This new musical tells a more serious tale about the life and death of soul, jazz, gospel and blues musician Donny Hathaway. After an acclaimed, award-winning career, Hathaway committed suicide in 1979 by jumping from the fifteenth story of the Essex House hotel in New York, most likely as a result of paranoid schizophrenia. Writer, director and actor Robert King Jr. imagines the night before King’s suicide as his hallucination of a final concert celebrating a lifetime of music while dealing with the torment of the voices in his head. The cast also features Samone Murray, Kenneth Davis and Charlite Brooks.
Ground Floor Theatre, Jan 12 & 13 at 7:30pm, $15-$50
West Side Story
Like The King and I, West Side Story is an absolute classic. However, while The King and I visits Austin as a part of a big-budget national tour, West Side Story comes to the city courtesy of the talented students at the McCallum Fine Arts Academy. A bold, brave production for a bold, brave high school, West Side Story (with conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by a young Stephen Sondheim) is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, telling the story of the rivalry between two gangs of different ethnicities in New York City in the 1950s, and the star-crossed lovers whose secret affair brings them into deadly conflict.
McCallum Fine Arts Academy, Feb 1-11, Thu-Sat at 7pm & Sun at 2pm, $7-$16