ZACH Theatre Announces The 2018-19 Season Full Of Texas Premieres And New Work

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ZACH Theatre Announces The 2018-19 Season Full Of Texas Premieres And New Work ZACH Theatre, Central Texas' premier professional theatre, announces a 2018-19 season filled with rafter-raising musicals, riveting contemporary dramas, and inventively produced new work that will entertain, inspire, and spark dialogue. ZACH is expanding its' commitment to incubate and produce new musicals and plays this season and in the coming years, in addition to premiering award-winning contemporary plays and musicals straight from New York. ZACH's involvement in the development of major new works allows Central Texans to witness exciting projects before they hit Broadway stages and launch at theatres across the nation.

"I am absolutely thrilled we will be engaged in creating brand new work with long-time collaborator, American theatre legend Terrence McNally, continuing our provocative and timely dialogue with national thought-leader Anna Deavere Smith, and producing a new, genre-breaking musical that invites Austin audiences to join us at the inception of something truly special in ZACH's 2018-19 season," states ZACH Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley. "Big musicals with spectacle, intimate dramas that provoke meaningful conversation, shows which draw upon Austin's long heritage as a musician-fueled city, and new work created specifically for our city are all hallmarks of our exciting next journey together."

Former Texan and four-time Tony Award-winning American playwright, Terrence McNally will further develop his newest play Fire and Air at ZACH next summer, which recently received its world premiere at New York's Classic Stage Company. Additionally, the new musical, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette*, a passionate and soulful love story with a poetic, spoken-word book by Ché Walker and music and lyrics by Anoushka Lucas and Omar Lyefook, will make its Texas premiere and will be further developed at ZACH before launching to national stages.

Also making an Austin debut in The Topfer next Spring is the precocious, telekinetic little girl Matilda in TIME Magazine's #1 Show of the Year, Matilda The Musical. Based on the much-loved children's book by Roald Dahl, featuring music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and a Tony Award-winning book by Dennis Kelly, Associate Artistic Director Abe Reybold and Director of Education Nat Miller will direct this riotously uplifting musical that will make audiences of all generations burst with joy.

Speaking to Austin's live music roots, ZACH opens the season with the first Texas regional theatre production of the eight-time Tony Award-winning musical Once, based on the Academy Award winning film. ZACH's Topfer lobby will transform into an Irish pub, creating an immersive experience from start to finish. With direction by Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley, Musical Direction by Allen Robertson, Scenic Design by Broadway designer Donald Eastman, music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, and book by Enda Walsh, audiences will fall for this unexpected romance that features a talented ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage.

Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley will treat Austin audiences to another Texas premiere directing acclaimed writer and actor Anna Deavere Smith's latest work, Notes from the Field, a provocative, revelatory play that explores the lives of students, parents, teachers, and administrators caught in America's school-to-prison pipeline.

The season will close with Hedwig's return to Texas in the Austin debut of the 2014 Tony Award-winning incarnation of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The groundbreaking musical will feature an electrifying punk-fueled rock score, a live back-up band, and one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage.

Returning for the holidays is Dave Steakley's popular rockin' and family-friendly adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, along with Joe Mantello's adaptation of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries, a wickedly funny tale of a somewhat-curmudgeonly department store elf named Crumpet.

The 2018-19 ZACH Moody Foundation Theatre for Families Series includes ZACH's beloved holiday sing-along, Holiday Heroes, and a reimagined version of the Austin Critics Table Award-winner, Tortoise and Hare, with music and lyrics by Allen Robertson.

"I was intrigued by the idea of examining two different cultures," says Robertson. "In this version of Tortoise and Hare, the tortoises have become an ancient tribal culture that values education and community, while the hares have become an image-obsessed youth culture. Ultimately, the play is about an unlikely friendship between two characters and the differences that bring them together."

ZACH's 2018-19 SEASON:

September 19 - October 28, 2018, The Topfer
Written by John Carney
Based on the motion picture written and directed by John Carney
Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Book for the musical written by Enda Walsh
Directed by Dave Steakley
Musical Direction by Allen Robertson
Scenic Design by Donald Eastman

Based on the 2007 Academy Award-winning film, Once is an enchanting, modern love story about the complexities of relationships and the power of music to connect us all. Once tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together. Winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, this unique theatrical experience, with breathtaking melodies by Glen Hansard of the Irish band The Frames, will have you falling in love from the very first note.

"Once uses song and dance in a way I have never experienced in a musical. " - The New York Times

"Impeccable. A rhapsodic, unique musical that is tender, funny, and soaring." - Variety

Age recommendation: 10 and up for language
Run time: Two hours and 40 minutes including one intermission

February 27 - March 31, 2019, The Kleberg
Created and Written by Anna Deavere Smith
Music composed by Marcus Shelby
Directed by Dave Steakley

One of the most acclaimed and provocative theatre artists of our time, Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominee Anna Deavere Smith (Let Me Down Easy; "Nurse Jackie"), shares her "most ambitious and powerful work to date" (Variety). Incredibly timely and moving, Notes from the Field depicts the personal accounts of individuals caught in America's school-to-prison pipeline as they navigate inequities in their communities. Based on interviews with over 250 people living and working within a challenged system, Notes shines a light on a lost generation of American youth.

"Absorbing and wonderfully energizing, Anna Deavere Smith is invaluable - the American theater's most dynamic and sophisticated oral historian."- The New York Times

"One of her most ambitious and powerful works." - Variety

"Audacious and Mind-opening!" - Time Out New York

"Unquestionably great theatre!" - New York Magazine

Age recommendation: 12 and up for some strong language
Run Time: Two hours and 35 minutes including one intermission and audience discussion. Due to the interactive nature of the audience discussion, actual run time may vary.

April 3 - May 12, 2019, The Topfer
Based on the book by Roald Dahl
Book for the musical by Dennis Kelly
Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin
Directed by Abe Reybold and Nat Miller
Musical Direction by Allen Robertson

Take a journey through the world of the Tony Award-winning hit, Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical! Matilda is an extraordinary little girl who dares to take a stand and change her destiny. When she has finally had enough of her unscrupulous parents and tyrannical headmistress, she enlists the help of her friends-and favorite teacher Miss Honey-and bravely takes matters into her own hands to become the biggest little hero. Matilda is sure to delight and empower audiences of all generations.

"Once in a blue moon, a show comes out blazing and restores your faith in Broadway. 'Matilda The Musical' is that show." - The New York Post

"Matilda is an explosion of joy! the most exhilarating and flat-out best musical since Billy Elliot." - Variety

"Matilda is magic, and not just for kids." - Washington Post

Age recommendation: 6 and up
Run time: Two hours and 30 minutes including one intermission

*pending final approval
April 24 - May 26, 2019, The Kleberg
Book by Ché Walker
Music and lyrics by Anoushka Lucas and Omar Lyefook

Tender, funny, and incredibly moving, this contemporary new love story will grab you from the inside out. Klook and Vinette are two lost souls trying to find themselves in one another. Against all odds and with the past at their heels, together they make a tentative stab at happiness. Staged in the intimate Kleberg at ZACH Theatre, this is a seductive world-premiere musical about inevitability and the thrill of falling in love. Infused with lyrical prose, Jazz, Blues, and Soul, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette is a mesmerizing theatrical experience you won't want to miss.

"This is something special. When you have been reviewing theatre for as long as I have, it is not often that you come across a show that takes you completely by surprise and is unlike anything you have previously seen." - Charles Spencer, the Telegraph, London

"This compelling story will get under your skin" - The Guardian

Age recommendation: 12 and up for some strong language
Run Time: 90 minutes

June 12 - July 14, 2019, The Topfer
Written by Terrence McNally

Four-time Tony Award-winner Terrence McNally (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman) explores the rich history of the Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev's itinerant Russian ballet company, in his newest play Fire and Air. Surrounded by great talents of art, design, and music, the tempestuous relationship between Diaghilev and dancer Vaslav Nijinsky revolutionizes dance forever.

"A soaring, suspenseful, and wonderfully stealthy play. Vibrant and emotionally charged." - The New York Times

"Sweet and surprising." - Time Out New York

Age recommendation: 13 and up for adult language, sexual situations and nudity
Run time: Two hours with one intermission

July 31 - September 8, 2019, The Topfer
Book by James Cameron Mitchell
Music and lyrics by Steven Trask
Directed by Dave Steakley

Lift up your hands for the most groundbreaking, heart-stomping, gut-busting character ever to grace the stage! Created by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is "the most exciting rock score written for the theatre since, oh, ever" says Time Magazine. Winner of two Obie Awards and four Tony Awards, Hedwig tells the story of "internationally ignored song stylist" Hedwig Schmidt, a fourth-wall-smashing East German rock 'n' roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation, trying to find a place to belong in America. Join the outrageous and unexpectedly hilarious Hedwig as she shares her story backed by her rock-band "The Angry Inch" for an immersive rock gig, stand-up comedy event that will ultimately inspire anyone who has felt life has given them an inch when they deserve a mile.

"Hedwig is funnier and more entertaining than ever!" - The New York Times

"The best rock musical EVER." - Rolling Stone

"Hedwig is THRILLING - a celebration!" - The Wall Street Journal

Age recommendation: 13 and up for strong language and adult themes
Run time: One hour and 40 minutes including one intermission


November 21 - December 30, 2018, The Topfer
By Charles Dickens
Conceived and Adapted by Dave Steakley
Directed by Abe Reybold
Musical Direction by Allen Robertson

Austin's most rockin' holiday tradition returns to make merry with new music and surprises to get the party started. ZACH's inspired adaptation of the Dickens' classic is a musical sleigh ride through rhythm and time, infusing the traditional Victorian story with a score that spans all genres and eras. Motown meets the Ho-Ho-Holidays in this family-friendly spectacular, creating an infectious spirit that has everyone dancing in the aisles. Celebrate the season with the loving Cratchit family and three soulful ghosts as they take Ebenezer Scrooge on a joyride to rediscover his heart and love for human kindness.

"Whether you are taking children or having an adult night out, this is the perfect way to ring in the holidays in Austin." - Texas Lifestyle Magazine

"A Christmas Carol combines pop chart toppers and reimagined carols for a totally unique experience." -

Age recommendation: 6 and up
Run time: Two hours and 20 minutes including one intermission

December 5 - 30, 2018, The Whisenhunt
By David Sedaris
Adapted to the stage by Joe Mantello
Directed by Nat Miller

David Sedaris' ever-irreverent and cynical Crumpet is baaaack! The outlandish tale of a Macy's elf merrily jingles to life in the intimate Whisenhunt at ZACH Theatre. In this holiday cult-classic, Crumpet sarcastically expounds on the talent it takes to juggle tinsel, tearful tots, and not-so-sober Santas during what is hailed as the most wonderful time of the year. 75 minutes of rollicking (and not so politically-correct) fun, this laugh-'til-you-spill-your-cocktail evening will delight adult elves who like it more naughty than nice!

"Sardonic tonic for the holidays!" - The Austin American-Statesman

"This isn't your kids' or your grandma's Christmas show!" -

Age recommendation: Ages 18 and up. Adult Language.
Run Time: Approximately 75 minutes


September 8, 2018 - February 27, 2019, The Kleberg
Based on the story by Aesop
Book by Allen Robertson and Damon Brown
Music and lyrics by Allen Robertson
Directed by Nat Miller
Music Direction by Allen Robertson
Opening: Friday, September 21, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday Public Shows: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Sunday Public Shows: 2 p.m.

Ancient versus modern. Brain versus brawn. Reptile versus mammal. The ultimate Culture Clash between two tribes and a fantastical race to decide the fate of them all. Written by the talented Allen Robertson and Damon Brown, with modern music and energetic re-imagining of the ancient fable that will delight tortoises and hares of all ages!

Age recommendation: 5 and up
Run time: 55 minutes with no intermission

November 29 - December 13, 2018, The Topfer
Written by Allen Robertson, Shaun Wainwright Branigan and Jerome Schoolar
Saturday Public Show: 11 a.m.

Due to demand, the original Holiday Heroes returns with some new songs and surprises! In this hilariously fun holiday sing-along, students get into the holiday spirit with Ernie and Rufus. Celebrate the season with singing, laughter, and holiday cheer for all.

Age recommendation: 3 and up
Run time: 55 minutes with no intermission


The six-show 2018-19 Season Subscription package, including Once, Notes from the Field, Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette, Fire and Air, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is currently on sale to renewing subscribers only. Six-show Season Subscriptions start at $246 or ZACH Pass (ten pack) is $650. The deadline for current Season Subscribers to renew their seats is April 15. Visit to renew your subscription today. New subscriptions will go on sale in May. For more information, call 512-476-0541 x1 or go to ZACH's Box Office is located inside The Topfer, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. Free, short term and convenient parking available at the front entrance. Groups of 8 or more may request reservations by calling 512-476-0594 x.245 or by emailing

ACT ONE Young Professional pre-show parties occur the first Wednesday of the run for select Mainstage productions.
Pride Night pre-show parties occur the first Thursday for each subscription Mainstage production.
Sign Interpreted and Open Captioned Performances occur the second Wednesday of each Mainstage production.
Post Show Discussion Nights occur the second Wednesday of each Mainstage production.
Dates for Sensory Friendly and Sign Interpreted performances have yet to be announced.

About ZACH Theatre

A non-profit organization, ZACH creates intimate theatre experiences that ignite the imagination, inspire the spirit, and engage the community. As Austin's leading professional producing theatre, ZACH employs more than 250 actors, musicians, and designers annually to create its own diverse array of nationally recognized plays and musicals under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley and Managing Director Elisbeth Challener. Each year, ZACH serves nearly 128,000 Central Texans - 55,000 of which are children and youth who participate in our education and outreach programs, as well as inspiring camps and classes. ZACH Theatre is honored to host private and community events across the beautiful rental-ready spaces on our three-stage campus located in the heart of Austin. Founded in 1932, ZACH is the longest continuously running theatre company in the state of Texas, and one of the ten oldest in the country. Visit for more information.

ZACH Theatre's 2018-19 Season is sponsored in part by The Moody Foundation, Baylor Scott & White Health, Dell, and Holiday Inn-Lady Bird Lake; and by grants from The Shubert Foundation, Junior League of Austin, The National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, the Cultural Arts Division of The City of Austin Economic Development Department, and Applied Materials. Foundation


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