Nine years ago, I told Kathy Panoff, then incoming director of Texas Performing Arts, that she was a “firecracker.” Well, she’s still lighting up the sky.
Tonight on the Bass Concert Hall stage at the University of Texas, she sent up blazing bottle rockets for her group’s 2017-2018 season, and I want to see virtually ever show on the bill.
Start off, as almost everybody does, with its Broadway in Austin partnership. I’ll sign up right now for “Rent,” “The King and I,” “Finding Neverland,” “School of Rock,” “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” “The Book of Mormon” and “An American in Paris.”
Yes, even “Rent,” which I’ve grown to love over the past 20 years, mostly because of a Texas State University version with — thank you! — age-appropriate actors. Hello!
And guess what? If you don’t sign up for the 2017-2018 season, forget getting tickets to “Hamilton” the next season. The Broadway series already has added 3,000 new subscribers in anticipation.
At the top of my list from the non-Broadway season are three cabaret shows: Storm Large & Le Bonheur, Ute Lemper’s “Last Tango in Berlin” and Seth Rudetsky‘s “Deconstructing Broadway.” It’s like Broadway, too, but refined to the nth degree.
I was also very much attracted to the dance groups: Che Malambo (“Machismo in a jar”), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ezralow Dance’s “Open” and Abraham.In.Motion‘s “Live! The Realest MC.” Two I’ve seen before, the other two sizzled in projected videos.
Of the musical selections, I am jazzed to see the Philip Glass Ensemble play “Koyaanisqatsi” live — my first Glass back in 1982 — and Chanticleer doing “Soldier.”
Playing to my jazz affections are Kurt Elling with the Swingles, Monty Alexander Harlem-Kinston Express.
Also on the bill are Spanish Brass, Dover Quartet, Sergei Babayan, Sergio & Odair, guitars and Avi Avital, mandolin, the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra and University of Texas Jazz Orchestra with Conrad Herwig — along some hybrid shows, such as Fifth House Ensemble performing music from the game “Journey” live as it is played and “Musical Thrones: A Parody.”
Straight theater has not been forgotten: “The Crucible” and “Sancho: An Act of Remembrance.”
How am I going to see all this? I’ll worry about that tomorrow.