Get your ‘Hamilton’ tickets for Austin right now

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UPDATE 8:57 a.m. Feb. 28: Broadway in Austin has paused its acceptance of new subscribers for the 2018-2019 season that includes the smash musical “Hamilton.” Current subscribers to the 2017-2018 season can still renew their seats through March 27.

New subscribers to the Texas Performing Arts series can sign up for the waiting list to be notified if additional season tickets become available.

This pause is quite unusual, perhaps unprecedented in the history of touring shows at the University of Texas’ Bass Concert Hall. Demand must be incredibly high.

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At last you have permission to order those “Hamilton” tickets for the once-in-a-generation musical that will stop in Austin at Bass Concert Hall for three weeks in 2019.

Michael Luwoye and Isaiah Johnson in the ‘Hamilton’ national tour. Contributed by Joan Marcus

The happy catch? To secure those tickets beginning at 11 a.m. Feb. 20 when the Broadway in Austin call center opens, you must subscribe to the whole 2018-2019 season, presented by Texas Performing Arts at Bass Concert Hall. That means six other shows, including one comedy, three relatively new musicals and two long-running Broadway standards. Single tickets to “Hamilton” and the other shows will go on sale at a later date.

Yet let’s start with “Hamilton,” which plays May 28-June 16, 2019, at the very end of the coming season.

RELATED: Broadway smash ‘Hamilton’ coming to Austin in 2018-2019 season

“We have been building up to this season since ‘Hamilton’ opened on Broadway,” says Kathy Panoff, Texas Performing Arts director and associate dean of the University of Texas School of Fine Arts. “We’re thrilled it’s finally coming to Austin.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda reinvented the musical theater form with this ferociously smart show about Alexander Hamilton, inspired by Ron Chernow’s best-selling biography. Using a range of musical styles in a sung- and rapped-through score — as well as mostly nonwhite actors, who give every old idea new meaning — the show opened on Broadway in 2015. It has been sold out ever since, and individual tickets can go for hundreds of dollars.

Yet season ticket prices for all seven Broadway in Austin selections, including “Hamilton,” start as low as $224.

While you are holding your breath for the Great Arrival, six other shows wait in the Bass Concert Hall queue.

Alex Mandell and Amelia McClain in the ‘The Play That Goes Wrong,’ the only nonmusical in the Broadway in Austin season. Contributed by Jeremy Daniel.

The one comedy — a rare nonmusical for Broadway in Austin — is “The Play That Goes Wrong,” a British product that has been compared to the backstage farce “Noises Off.” In this show, things go disastrously wrong during the opening night of a play called “The Murder at Havensham Manor,” proving that theatrical life is often the theater’s most effective subject. It lands Oct. 23-28, 2018.

Among the new musicals, “Love Never Dies” is an Andrew Lloyd Webber tuner billed as a sequel to his mega-hit, “The Phantom of the Opera.” Lloyd Webber, however, once said: “I don’t regard this as a sequel — it’s a stand-alone piece.” He later clarified his remarks, saying that of course it is a sequel, but you need not have seen “Phantom” to understand it. Fair enough. It stumbled during its original London run but was embraced in Australia. “Love” tarries Nov. 27-Dec. 2, 2018.

‘Waitress’ is based on a charming indie movie. The musical has run on Broadway for two years. Contributed

Another new musical, “Waitress,” was inspired by the charming 2007 independent movie by the same name and features an admired score by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, who currently stars in the New York cast. The musical version of “Waitress” opened on Broadway in 2016 and is still running, which is a feat for a relatively quiet, personal show. It tells of a cafe server stuck in an unhappy marriage who is pregnant and having an affair and who seeks redemption through a pie contest. It takes your orders Jan. 22-27, 2019.

Before becoming a Broadway musical, ‘Anastasia’ was a book, play, film and animated movie. Contributed

“Anastasia,” the third new musical, shares an Austin connection. Local arts backers Marc and Carolyn Seriff are among the credited producers. The 2017 musical is based on the 1997 animated film — itself inspired by plays and novels about the recovery of a possibly lost Russian princess — and many of its fans remain loyal from that experience. It received lukewarm notices in New York, but, based on its built-in appeal, the producers immediately announced a worldwide tour. It appears Feb. 12-17, 2019.

The older musicals need no introductions. “Fiddler on the Roof,” the 1964 Bock and Harnick classic based on shtetl life, brings back Jewish traditions and indelible songs April 2-7, 2019. The musical focuses on Tevye, a dairyman with five daughters who must deal with changing cultural norms as well as the expulsion of the Jews by the Czar’s forces.

The record-breaking show comes to Austin by way of a fresh production from director Bartlett Sher.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s indestructible “Cats,” which debuted on Broadway in 1982 and then ran 18 years, shows up on our collective doorsteps again May 7-12, 2019. You either hate or love this show based on T.S. Eliot poems about feline life and afterlife. There’s no denying that tunes such as “Memory” are hard to pry from your mind. Whether you cotton to the furry costumes, circus makeup and undulating choreography is a matter of personal preference.

How to land tickets to ‘Hamilton’ and more

The seven-show Lexus Broadway in Austin 2018-19 season subscriptions go on sale starting at 11 a.m. Feb. 20. Prices start as low as $224. Visit broadwayinaustin.com or call Broadway in Austin at 800-731-7469 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The deadline for current season subscribers to renew their seats is March 27. Groups of 10 or more may request reservations by calling 877-275-3804 or via email at Austin.Groups@BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com. Individual show ticket sales will be announced at a later date.

ICYMI: New $6 million portal for Laguna Gloria

The Contemporary Austin has raised $6 million to make the entrance to Laguna Gloria more welcoming.

The entrance to Laguna Gloria will be transformed by a $6 million welcoming project. Contributed by Reed Hilderbrand

READ MORE about the plans at our premium site MyStatesman.com.

The beloved 14-acre site, home to b’s 1916 villa and, now, the sprawling b, is set to undergo a multiphase face-lift. The first step is to break ground March 21 on a new $6 million guest-friendly entrance complex and improvements to the verges of West 35th Street.

The effort was made possible by a $3 million grant from the Moody Foundation, which recently gave $15 million to the Waller Creek Conservancy to build a performance venue in Waterloo Park and $9.7 million to the Pease Park Conservancy to improve the green space alongside Shoal Creek, considered the city’s oldest park and site for a new Stickwork sculpture off Parkway.

Get ready for Ellsworth Kelly at the Blanton Museum of Art

Top arts news of the week: UT opens Ellsworth Kelly masterpiece at the Blanton Museum of Art. Although museum members, directors and backers have peeked inside the chapel-like building on campus, everyone can see it during regular museum hours beginning Feb. 18. Check into the Visitors Services desk in the east wing of the museum first. And go on a sunny morning for the best light show.

READ a description of the place on our premium site MyStatesman.com.

The tumbling square windows fill one vault with pale light. Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman

“Patches of color drip ever so slowly down the walls, then pool onto the smooth black granite floor. On sunny days, the tall white barrel vaults swim with jewel-toned iridescence.

“Not only do the intense hues migrate minute by minute, they alter from day to day according to the position of the sun above “Austin,” a phenomenal new building that doubles as a monumental work of art on the University of Texas campus.”

Longtime Austin Symphony manager Ken Caswell dies

Kenneth “Ken” Caswell, who managed the Austin Symphony from 1980 to 1998, has died.

Kenneth Caswell. Alicia Mireles/Austin American-Statesman

“The entire Austin Symphony family is saddened by the passing of former executive director, Ken Caswell,” said Anthony Corroa. “Ken was a kind and gentle man.  He led the administration of the orchestra with passion. His great love for symphonic music will live in the hearts of all those who knew him.”

Caswell retired during a major shift in symphony culture that preceded the hiring of current conductor and music director Peter Bay.

Caswell was descended from an old Austin family whose name pops on landmarks all over the city. He spent his later years in relatively modest family house on a big piece of land in between Laguna Gloria and Mount Bonnell.

He was a collector of vintage piano rolls, which preserved performance of greats such as composer Claude Debussy, and he transferred them to modern recordings.

UPDATE: Services for Caswell will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 at Good Shepherd  Episcopal Church at Windsor Road and Exposition Boulevard.

Get a sneak peek inside Ellsworth Kelly’s stunning ‘Austin’ at UT

The much-anticipated opening of Ellsworth Kelly‘s’ “Austin,” a phenomenal new building that doubles as a monumental work of art on the University of Texas campus, is not until Feb. 18. But now we can give you a look inside.

RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Designed by late American modern artist Kelly, the $23 million project created by the Blanton Museum of Art instantly takes its place as a crown jewel of Austin art.

RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Scroll down to see more photos, read what some people are saying about the work and to find out how you can see “Austin” for yourself once it opens.

“It will be a bold new landmark for the university and the city,” predicts Blanton director Simone Wicha, who spent years putting together “Austin,” colloquially known as the “Ellsworth Kelly Building” or just “The Ellsworth” or sometimes “The Kelly.” “Inevitably, it will change the way the world sees Austin.”

RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“Ellsworth Kelly’s ‘Austin’ culminates the career of one of the greatest of modern artists,” says Richard Shiff, an art professor who directs UT’s Center for the Study of Modernism. “Kelly conceived of (it) as a single aesthetic experience. ‘Austin’ is culture in a pure form. Its appeal is universal.”

“‘Austin’ not only showcases Kelly’s early appreciation of historical European art and architecture,” curator Carter Foster says, “it also marries this passion with the transformative themes that he would discover over the course of his life. I hope that, with the help of this exhibition, everyone who visits the work will come away with the same sense of awe that I do.”

RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“The opening of ‘Austin’ further cements the Blanton as an international cultural destination,” Wicha says. “The broad geographic support we received for this project is reflective of the audience we anticipate visiting Kelly’s monumental achievement.”

RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

HOW TO SEE ‘AUSTIN’

Starting Feb. 18, Ellsworth Kelly’s ‘Austin’ will be open during regular Blanton hours; entry is included with museum admission. Go to the Visitors Services desk inside the museum’s east wing to obtain tickets. Find out more at blantonmuseum.org.

rbz Ellsworth Kelly 29.JPG

Strong performances, dynamic visuals boost Zach Theatre’s ‘Curious Incident’

Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” was something of a phenomenon when it was first published. Both a critical success and a best-seller, it was released in separate editions for adult and young adult readers, and it generated acclaim from mental health experts for its realistic depiction of its main character’s autism.

Contributed by Kirk Tuck

In 2012, playwright Simon Stephens’ stage adaptation of the novel premiered at the National Theatre in London and ran both in the West End and on Broadway. Now, the play comes to Austin in a production from Zach Theatre, directed by the company’s producing artistic director, Dave Steakley.

Zach’s production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is both stylish and stylized. It follows the story of Christopher Boone, an autistic teenage boy investigating the mystery of who killed his neighbor’s dog. The kinetic, mobile, multimedia nature of the production allows Steakley to accomplish two difficult tasks at once — re-create the novelistic style of the script, which jumps around in time, and represent what it’s like to experience the world through the lens of Christopher’s autism.

REVIEW: Bilingual play offers inclusive message for Austin children

The deliberately stylish production (which owes much to scenic/projection designer Stephanie Busing, lighting designer Rachel Atkinson and sound designer Craig Brock) overcomes some of the text’s bigger problems. The achronological approach, taken from the novel, is at times confusing when adapted to the stage, and attempts at humorous meta-commentary on the nature of theater in the second act seem to go nowhere. However, the fast-moving pace of the production more than makes up for these flaws.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” features a top-tier cast of both local and out-of-town talent, including nuanced, emotional performances by Nick Stevenson as Christopher’s father and Meredith McCall as his departed mother. The heart and soul of the production, though, is young actor Preston Straus as Christopher, who gives a deeply moving and believable portrayal of the boy’s many quirks and neuroses. Straus doesn’t just play Christopher’s autism as a surface-level affectation, but rather plumbs the depths of the character’s psyche to create a realistic teenage boy whose life happens to be structured around his autism.

With an engaging, dynamic visual dimension layered on top of a poignant coming-of-age drama with some fantastic performances, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a very strong addition to Zach Theatre’s mainstage season.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday through March 4
Where: Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd.
Cost: $25-$133
Information: 512-476-0541, zachtheatre.org

 

Bilingual play offers inclusive message for Austin children

The Kindness Campaign is an Austin-area nonprofit organization that, according to its mission statement, aims to “inspire a new generation of kind leaders. Through classroom initiatives, interactive experiences and community involvement, TKC empowers students to recognize the transformative power of kindness.”

“Las Aventuras de Enoughie (The Adventures of Enoughie).” Contributed by Kirk Tuck

One of those initiatives was the creation of the character Enoughie, a big blue puffball with antennae that help him understand his own emotions. Enoughie’s name is intended to remind children that they are enough just as they are, and he serves as the Kindness Campaign’s official mascot.

Now, Enoughie in puppet form stars along with two puppet children, Hector and Esme, in a new play for children called “Las Aventuras de Enoughie (The Adventures of Enoughie),” playing through Feb. 25 at the Mexican American Cultural Center. As the title suggests, this play is bilingual, as are all three characters, in order to reach out to the Hispanic community that is often underserved by Austin theater. However, the show is entirely accessible to audience members who don’t speak a word of Spanish.

“Las Aventuras de Enoughie” is a simple show, following the magical adventures of Enoughie and his pals after Hector steals Esme’s doll. Along the way, all three learn a variety of lessons about kindness, dealing with loss, sharing feelings and appreciating yourself (with a dash of politics thrown in that will likely go over the youngest audience members’ heads).

Created by Teatro Vivo and Glass Half Full Theatre, in partnership with Zach Theatre and the Kindness Campaign, the show is the brainchild of writer, director and set/puppet designer Caroline Reck, who has crafted a production that really does resonate with the kids in the audience. In addition, the three puppeteers who portray Enoughie, Esme, and Hector — Adam Martínez, Marina De Yoe-Pedraza, and Mario Ramirez, respectively — are equally adept as performers as they are at interacting with the children in a talkback following the show.

With its combination of whimsy, clear-cut lessons, fun puppetry and the occasional joke for parents, “Las Aventuras de Enoughie” is reminiscent of “Sesame Street,” focusing on creating an accessible, kid-friendly story that imparts inclusive moral values. Although the show’s appeal is mainly to kids, rather than to the adults bringing them, there are still plenty of fun moments to keep it interesting. On the whole, it is a charming show for children with an extremely important message for anyone growing up in America today.

“Las Aventuras de Enoughie (The Adventures of Enoughie)”
When: 11 a.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 25
Where: Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.
Cost: $14-$16
Information: zachtheatre.org

Richard Buckley fired as artistic director of Austin Opera for alleged inappropriate behavior

Austin Opera has terminated the contract of artistic director and principal conductor Richard Buckley, effective immediately.

Austin Lyric Opera artistic director Richard Buckley (left) in 2014.

Buckley, who conducts on the international operatic circuit, had held that position since 2004.

In a short statement, the opera said an investigation conducted with outside counsel determined that “inappropriate behavior in violation of the company’s policy on harassment had occurred that was not consistent with the values and standards of Austin Opera.”

In respect for those affected by his conduct, Austin Opera trustees said “staff will not disclose further details about the incidents that occurred.”

Buckley, the son of a famous conductor, was known for conducting symphonies and operas far afield and had been part of at least 40 Austin Opera productions.

As recently as March of last year, Buckley’s conducting earned a $1 million commitment  from backers Ernest and Sarah Butler, namesakes for the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, to support the position of artistic director.

Performances of Austin Opera’s “Ariadne auf Naxos” will continue today and Feb. 4 with conductor Robert Mollicone.

Read the full story on our premium website, Mystatesman.com

Austin still talking about monumental José Parlá mural

Over the weekend, we posted about “Amistad América,” the extraordinarily ambitious abstract mural by José Parlá at UT’s Rowling Hall, commissioned by the 10-year-old Landmarks program.

Hundreds gathered for the unveiling of José Parlá’s “Amistad América,” a huge abstract mural at UT’s new Rowling Hall. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman

READ FULL STORY HERE.

That got folks talking on social media. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Carla McDonald: “Love these pix!”

Mary Margaret Quadlander: “Isn’t it stunning?!”

Alice Illian-Masquelette: “Wow!”

Julio Lozano: “Por La Raza!”

Evelina Rodrigue Warren: “Heard an interview with him on KUT. Can’t wait to see it.”

Phyllis Jackson Stegall: “Magnificent!”

Deborah Hamilton Lynne: “I must see it just because you clearly love it.”

Rick Smitherman: “Not as impressive when you discover it is paint by numbers.”

Me: “That would be a whole lot of numbers.”

Rick Smitherman: “It is indeed.”

 

SXSW puts a premium on art in 2018

At some point, South by Southwest will encompass all human activity.

Austin’s vast March spree started with music in the 1980s, then added movies and technology, before taking on education, philanthropy, the environment and allied fields.

Art came next.

“Feast” by Caitlin Pickall

Today, SXSW announced six art projects for its second annual  program scheduled for the conference and festivals March 9-18, 2018. Combined with the UNESCO Media Arts Exhibition at SXSW, the installations are meant to expand the discussion on visual and digital and media arts during the confab.

We’ll share some artists and titles. Find more information at SXSW Art Program.

SXSW ART PROGRAM INCLUDES:

“Conductors of the Resistance” by Ronen Sharabani

“Feast” by Caitlin Pickall

“Future of Secrets” by Sarah Newman, Jessica Yurkofsky and Rachel Kalmar

“Life Underground” by Hervé Cohen

“MTA: Floating Destiny” with music performed by GuQin

“A Colossal Wave!” by Marshmallow Laser Feast

UNESCO MEDIA ARTS EXHIBITION INCLUDES:

“Forgotten Landscapes” by James Hughes and Ha Na Lee

“Gathering”by Lisa Woods

“Herstory” by Yuliya Lanina

“Passage (Variation)” by Luke Savinsky

Meow Wolf

The Living Museum

“Against a Civic Death” by Rodney McMillian:

“Forever Bicycles” by Ai Weiwei