Spring has officially sprung here in Austin, meaning it’s time for all of your annual outdoor “get them in before it’s too hot to stand outside” traditions. For the theater lovers amongst us, that includes the pleasure of enjoying a few outdoor productions of musicals and classic works. Here are three upcoming outdoor performances to look forward to, all of which are free to the public.
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Spring always comes into bloom for Austin theater fiends with a bit of Shakespeare in the Park, courtesy of Austin Shakespeare. After the fun and success of last year’s raucous The Comedy of Errors, the company returns to the Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater with a somewhat lesser-known Shakespearean comedy: The Merry Wives of Windsor. The production, which is inspired by classic sitcoms, will focus on the text’s family-friendly hijinks and, of course, its witty, whimsical women of Windsor as they spar with Shakespeare’s classic comedic foil, Sir John Falstaff.
Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater, May 3-27, Thu-Sun at 8pm; free admission
Much Ado About Nothing
Not content to let Austin Shakespeare have all the fun, Round Rock-based Penfold Theatre will be presenting its own “Penfield in the Park” production of a classic Shakespearean comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. Produced at the Round Rock Amphitheater in partnership with the Round Rock Parks & Recreation Department, the play mixes lowbrow hilarity with poetic romance to create the perfect mix of enchantment for a night spent under the stars outside the hustle and bustle of the city.
Round Rock Amphitheater, May 31-Jun 23, Thu-Sat at 8pm; free admission
All Shook Up
The annual Zilker Summer Musical promises to rock the Hillside Theater this year with All Shook Up, a jukebox musical comedy based on the songs of Elvis Presley. The show, with a book by Joe DiPietro, takes Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and, well, shakes it up with Elvis hits. Set in the 1950s, the 60th annual family-friendly Zilker Summer Musical honors the decade in which its own tradition began.
Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater, Jul 6-Aug 18, Thu-Sun at 8:15pm; free admission