Texas Performing Arts is not performing for its 40th anniversary. The University of Texas arts presenter plans to return from the COVID-19 pandemic with not only a full season, but two lists of shows that, taken together, could be the most ambitious in its history.
In February, the UT group unveiled their 2021-2022 Broadway series, which includes return tours for the mega-hits “Hamilton” and “The Lion King,” as well as newcomers “Hadestown,” “Tootsie,” ” Mean Girls “,” Summer: The Donna Summer Musical “and” Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory “.
Considering the multi-week tours for “Hamilton” and “Lion King”, this represents 10 weeks of Broadway at Bass Concert Hall, which opened in March 1981, as opposed to the usual seven or eight weeks.
For his 40th anniversary series of non-Broadway material, director Bob Bursey, who returned to work just before the pandemic, looks set to shake up the venue’s schedule. This season promises surprising and memorable samples of theater, music, dance, film and performance art from around the world, as well as regular visits from old favorites.
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The new series includes partnerships with two small Austin groups (Fusebox and UT Visual Art Center), as well as several Texas and world premieres. Most of the shows come with Texas themes.
“UT’s slogan – ‘What starts here changes the world’ – sums up our ambitions,” says Bursey. “We want to be a creative incubator for new work and send it around the world. Our mission is new knowledge. We ask, “Who drives the forms and how do we help them do it?” “”
Perhaps the most surprising visitors will be the “Grandfathers of Experimental Theater,” the New York-based Wooster group known for reinterpreting American culture through what can at times seem like sheer heckling. On their first visit to Texas, they will create a work on the East Texas penal colonies in the 1960s, then unveil some work in progress.
Some programs will take place off campus. This is the case through teamwork with Fusebox, which organizes a performance festival known around the world. (In the meantime, the Rude Mechs have been renamed the UT Theater and Dance Department’s Company-in-Residence.)
“It gets us out of the building,” Bursey says. “Away from: ‘Come to us! Come to campus! Sit in our seats! “”
Still, Bursey felt it was also crucial to bring back some of the centre’s leading troupes from the past, such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet Hispánico.
“It is important to honor the artists who have been important to us over the past 40 years and to respect existing legacies,” he says. “Not just ‘Give up the old! Bring in the new!’ It’s not healthy. Anyway, Alvin Ailey’s troupe hasn’t been around since 2009 and the Hispánico Ballet since 2002. “
The late Ailey retained deep ties to central Texas as the choreographer praised the town of Rogers, just up the road in Bell County, and his flagship piece, “Revelations,” was inspired by the church there.
Among the other ensembles on display, the Kronos Quartet, which has been a regular at the center. This time, the link will go further with the order of new work.
Several of the shows in this series will be presented at the McCullough Theater or Bates Recital Hall, which are located in the same complex as Bass Concert Hall.
Also new to the center: Bursey took advantage of the long hiatus in stage activity to roll out several key updates to Bass Concert Hall – some cosmetics, others that will change the core performance experience for members. public.
Keen eyes will notice new carpet and, in both balconies, new seats, some of which had not been salvaged for 40 years. No more wilted burnt orange; welcome slate and taupe.
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Even more subtle are the updates to the audio and video systems, some of which are also decades old. The most striking change, however, is in the side sections of the two balconies. The seats have been tilted towards the stage to improve sight lines, and their once-very steep elevations have been reduced.
More good news: the center has commissioned a study of nearby parking options which will be changed due to the new Moody Center nearby. The consultants found that the parking lot on San Jacinto Street could accommodate crowds of performing artists.
“Yeah, parking matters,” says Bursey. “As we raise the curtain after this long intermission, we are certainly looking at what might keep people from coming back. Lack of parking would be one of those reasons.”
2021-2022 Texas Performing Arts Season
Staged in various venues of the UT Performing Arts Center and in an off-campus space; ticket information at texasperformingarts.org. Check for updates on the centre’s full list of events, which includes concerts and additional performers, at texasperformingarts.org/events.
September 9-12: The Wooster Group – “The B-Side: ‘Black Folklore from Texas State Prisons.” “
September 20: The Wooster Group – “Untitled Toast” (new work in progress)
October 30: Ballet Hispánico – “Noche de Oro: a celebration of 50 years”
November 5: Jason Moran and the Harlem Hellfighters – “James Reese Europe and the Lack of Ruin”
November 19-20: Kronos Quartet – “At War With Ourselves” (world premiere)
December 4: Movement Art Is and Third Coast Percussion – “Metamorphosis”
January 21-22: Bill Morrison and Bill Frisell – “The Great Flood” (co-presented with UT Visual Art Center)
January 27-30: Tina Satter / Half Straddle – “Is This a Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription” (co-presented with Fusebox)
March 11-12: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
April 1-17: “Plastic bag store” at Blue Genie Art Bazar, 6100 Airport Blvd. (April 15-17 performances presented as part of Fusebox 2022)
April 9: Helen Sung with UT Jazz Orchestra
April 22: Nathalie Joachim and Spektral Quartet – “Fanm d’Ayiti”
May 12: Angélique Kidjo – “Stay in the light”
2021-2022 Season Broadway in Austin
At Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive; ticket information at BroadwayinAustin.com, 800-731-7469.
December 7-19: “Hamilton” (complementary season)
January 11-16: “Hadesville”
February 22-27: “Tootsie”
March 22-27: “Charlie and the chocolate factory”
April 7-24: “The Lion King”
May 3-8: “Summer: Donna’s Summer Musical”
From August 2 to 7: “Bad girls”