THAT’S SHOW BUSINESS: AUSTIN’S ZACH THEATRE ANNOUNCES 2024-25 SEASON

THAT’S SHOW BUSINESS: AUSTIN’S ZACH THEATRE ANNOUNCES 2024-25 SEASON

Expect Broadway Musicals, a Regional Premiere & A ZACH360 Immersive Family Favorite

By Lance Avery Morgan    Photography courtesy of ZACH Theatre

We love that ZACH Theatre, Central Texas’ premier professional producing theatre, just announced its 2024-25 Season with five Mainstage and three Family Series productions along with Austin’s hottest holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol as a season add-on.

A Christmas Carol at ZACH

The 2024-25 Mainstage Season will kick off with Jersey Boys, the Grammy, Olivier, and four-time Tony Award winner, including Best Musical. This international musical phenomenon tells the story of the 1960s rock ’n ’ roll band, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons through each group member’s eyes with dramatized stories covering the band’s climb to success with a high-energy evening that will have everyone singing the night away.

In Spring 2025, the Mainstage Season continues with the regional premiere of Bob & Jean: A Love Story, the stirring and romantic new play by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan. Based on recently discovered correspondence between Schenkkan’s parents during WWII, Bob & Jean tells the remarkable story of a tumultuous courtship and complexities of the human heart. The central character, Bob, has a decades-long tie to Austin, including the start of KUT and KLRU so no surprise as a native Austinite, Schenkkan brings his newest work home.

What the Constitution Means To Me, Obie Award winner Heidi Schreck’s hilarious, hopeful, and “achingly human” (Exeunt Magazine) exploration, will run in the Topfer at ZACH April-May 2025. This boundary-breaking play breathes life into the Constitution to create a timely conversation that is deeply personal.

“I’m ecstatic to be one of two theatres premiering Bob & Jean by Robert Schenkkan who has deep ties to Austin; and the remarkable and timely play What the Constitution Means To Me which is funny, thoughtful and extremely inspiring,” said Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley. “We look forward to entertaining audiences with one of the most fun nights to be had with Jersey Boys, the perfect kind of musical for ZACH to create crowd-pleasing panache featuring the best voices.”

In an immersive ZACH360 experience, the Topfer at ZACH will transform with yellow brick roads for the journey to see the wonderful The Wizard of Oz directed by Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley. Performed in the round with actors playing instruments, Dorothy and friends from L. Frank Baum’s classic novel come to life Summer 2025.

“I’m also very excited to create a new fully immersive ZACH 360 The Wizard of Oz experience for families and the young-at-heart. Inspired by our recent production of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet…, the Topfer will reconfigure again into theatre-in-the-round, as we take it to the next level with the story set in Depression-era Kansas, a singing cowboy and cowgirl band greeting audiences with musical arrangements that spring out of the western heartland,” continues Steakley about the 2024-25 Season.

August 2025 will bring a soon-to-be-announced “Director’s Choice” production to the stage.

The ZACH Family Series includes Luna, running September 24 – November 17 written by Ramón Esquivel, this magical play for all ages reminds everyone they are not alone and how to reach out to build community. Based on the award-winning children’s book, audiences can hop on board for an unforgettable ride with Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical!, February – May, originally commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and first performed at the Kennedy Center during the 2019-20 season; and back by popular demand for the 2024 season, ZACH family favorite, the return of Holiday Heroes this holiday season.

Sold out five years in a row, the holiday season add-on returns with Dave Steakley’s modern hit musical and family-friendly adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens including new songs and surprises for the season.

To sign up for updates on subscriptions, season info or general on sale, visit ZachTheatre.org/SeasonPreview.

Grand Galvez Hotel’s High Tea In Galveston Is Where Texans Embrace The Elegant British Tradition

Grand Galvez Hotel’s High Tea In Galveston Is Where Texans Embrace The Elegant British Tradition

By Lance Avery Morgan    Photography courtesy of Grand Galvez/Seawall Hospitality LLC

The Grand Galvez, Autograph Collection, the grande dame hotel in Galveston, known as the Queen of the Gulf and renowned for its timeless elegance and luxurious experiences, has now created its own British High Tea tradition. How chic is that? In fact, every Saturday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, the coastal destination of the Grand Galvez High Tea promises a refined journey of the flavor palate. The High Tea experience ensures that the splendid tradition is accessible to all guests seeking the finer things in life. Who wouldn’t love that? The popular weekly event has attracted mother-and-daughter duos, bachelorettes, and brides looking to celebrate their special time with friends.

Set against the backdrop of the opulent surroundings of Monarch restaurant at Grand Galvez, guests enjoy a delicious selection of finely cut sandwiches that include classic cucumber, egg salad, and smoked salmon, which are presented on a multi-tiered tray. Freshly baked scones, served with delicious, clotted cream and strawberry preserves, are a signature of this experience.

A mouth-watering range of exquisitely presented pastries and teacakes grace every table. Each bite is designed to tantalize the taste buds and offer a truly indulgent experience as all guests’ plates will be replenished on request. “The manner of eating scones can be a point of contention at even the most civilized British afternoon tea table,” said Darryl Hill, General Manager, Grand Galvez. Hill, a native of London, comes to Grand Galvez with his posh British accent and has designed the Grand Galvez High Tea to be reminiscent of what is found in his home country. He also offers advice to High Tea participants. “Whether to break or slice a scone is one of the first questions asked. However, once the scone has been opened, the next decision is whether to add cream first or jam. Whichever approach our guest selects, we know for certain that they’re equally as delicious.”

Tea enthusiasts may choose from an array of four different types of loose-leaf tea, each carefully selected to offer a unique and authentic experience. For those seeking a touch of extravagance, guests have the option to purchase and sip on a glass of champagne, adding that extra sparkle to this already magical Grand Galvez High Tea occasion. Of course, the tradition of British High Tea dates back to the early 19th century and it is often attributed to Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, who is said to have introduced the practice in the 1840s. The legend states she would become hungry in the late afternoon and requested tea, sandwiches, and small cakes to be served to her in her room to tide her over until the formal dinner. Over the years, this became a regular habit and evolved into a social event. We think that knowing the provenance is half the fun of the event.

Hotelier Mark Wyant and his Seawall Hospitality LLC, owner of the Grand Galvez, purchased the property from the heirs of Galveston Island-born oilman and developer George P. Mitchell in March 2021. Wyant and his wife, Lorenda, have created extensive renovations that emphasize great respect for the iconic architecture and historic design of the property. The focus is on the alluring, luxurious, glamorous, and sophisticated reputation of Grand Galvez, creating an interpretation of modernism blended with the energy of the Jay Gatsby era.

The elegant High Tea surroundings are complemented with music by a harpist, making the event the most special Saturday afternoon experience on Galveston Island. Naturally, appropriate smart casual attire is required and is a must to maintain the ambiance and grace of this exceptional experience. Reservations, at $49 per person, can be made by calling Grand Galvez at 409.765.7721. For more information, visit Grand Galvez.

TWO TICKETS TO FUN: TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS’ BROADWAY IN AUSTIN ANNOUNCES 2024-2025 SEASON

TWO TICKETS TO FUN: TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS’ BROADWAY IN AUSTIN ANNOUNCES 2024-2025 SEASON

By Lance Avery Morgan

We recently learned that Texas Performing Arts’ Broadway in Austin 2024-2025 season includes four Austin premieres and the return of audience favorites. The 2024-2025 Season includes the unparalleled artistry of one of the greatest entertainers of all time, MJ; the Tony Award®–winning hysterical corn-bred and corn-fed musical SHUCKED; the high-flying new adaptation of the musical sensation that has delighted audiences for over 70 years, PETER PAN; the ultimate whodunit CLUE; the sensational Broadway revival of the bittersweet comedy featuring one of the greatest musical scores of all time, FUNNY GIRL; and the Tony Award®–winning Best Musical MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL, where the revolutionary film comes to life on stage.

Broadway in Austin 6- or 7-show subscription packages are now on sale. “We can’t wait to bring this new season to Austin and share it with Broadway fans and theatre lovers of all ages,” said Texas Performing Arts’ Executive and Artistic Director Bob Bursey. “The season starts this fall with Tony Award-winning MJ and ends with the new blockbuster MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL. Together with the eagerly awaited return of HAMILTON, this year’s lineup offers something for everyone, with the hottest new shows direct from New York, classics, and audience favorites.”

Texas Performing Arts’ Broadway in Austin 2024-2025 Season features nine productions from October 2024 to May 2025 at Bass Concert Hall, including:

MJ | October 8-13, 2024. He was one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Now Michael Jackson’s unique and unparalleled artistry comes to Houston as MJ, the multi–Tony Award®-winning new musical centered around the making of the 1992 Dangerous World Tour, begins a tour of its own.

SHUCKED | November 12-17, 2024. Here’s the Tony Award®–winning musical comedy The Wall Street Journal calls “flat out hilarious!” And nobody knows funny like economists in this corn-fed, corn-bred American musical is sure to satisfy your appetite for great musical theater.

PETER PAN | December 10–15, 2024. This high-flying musical has been thrilling audiences of all ages for close to 70 years and is now being brought back to life. It embraces the child in us all so go on a journey from the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning–your entire family will be Hooked!

CLUE | January 14–19, 2025

A mansion. A murder. A mystery. What could go wrong? Murder and blackmail are on the menu when six mysterious guests assemble at Boddy Manor for a night they’ll never forget! Was it Mrs. Peacock in the study with the knife? Or was it Colonel Mustard in the library with the wrench? Based on the fan-favorite 1985 Paramount Pictures movie and inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, it is the ultimate whodunit that will leave you dying of laughter and keep you guessing until the final twist.

FUNNY GIRL | March 4-9, 2025. Featuring one of the most iconic scores of all time the sensational Broadway revival dazzles with celebrated classic songs, including “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star,” and “People.” This bittersweet comedy is the story of the indomitable Fanny Brice, a girl from the Lower East Side who dreamed of a life on the stage. Everyone told her she’d never be a star, but then something funny happened—she became one of the most beloved performers in history, shining brighter than the brightest lights of Broadway.

MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL | May 13-25, 2025. Pop the champagne and enter a world of splendor and romance, of eye-popping excess, glitz, grandeur, and glory! A world where Bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment. Welcome to MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL Baz Luhrmann’s revolutionary film comes to life onstage, remixed in a new musical mash-up extravaganza. It is more than a musical — it is a state of mind.

HAMILTON | March 25-April 6, 2025. A revolutionary story of passion, unstoppable ambition, and the dawn of a new nation. It is the epic saga that follows the rise of the Founding Father Alexander Hamilton as he fights for honor, love, and a legacy that would shape the course of a nation. Based on Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography and set to a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education.

COME FROM AWAY | January 4-5, 2025. On 9/11, the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all. This stirring and inspiring musical takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of the small town in Newfoundland that opened their homes to 7,000 stranded travelers on 9/11. During that fateful week, cultures clashed, and nerves ran high—but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. Celebrate the best of humankind and the best in all of us.

LES MISÉRABLES | February 4–9, 2025. This brilliant staging has taken the world by storm and has been hailed as “a reborn dream of a production” (Daily Telegraph). Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, LES MISÉRABLES tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice, and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. The magnificent score of LES MISÉRABLES includes the songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More” and many more.

Season subscriptions are available:

  • Online at com24 hours a day
  • By calling 800-731-SHOW (7469); Monday through Friday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CST.
  • Prices start at $235 for a 6-show package; $284 for a 7-show package
SANTA BABY’S EARTHA KITT: ORIGINAL SEX KITTEN’S SONG TURNS 70 THIS YEAR

SANTA BABY’S EARTHA KITT: ORIGINAL SEX KITTEN’S SONG TURNS 70 THIS YEAR

Our Lance Avery Morgan caught up with Eartha Kitt when she performed at Austin’s Cabaret Theater, founded by Stuart Moulton. Here’s a look back at that golden moment…

Femme Fatale. Champagne Chanteuse. Star of stage and screen. Eartha Kitt is the original Material Girl who knows more about the ins and outs of men at 79 years young than most women could ever hope to know. She was discovered while performing in Paris, at the age of 20 by the legendary Orson Welles who called her “the most exciting woman in the world.”

We agree and in fact, we think she’s purrrrrr…fect – just like in her persona as Catwoman on the television series Batman and her film roles in Boomerang, Fatal Instinct, Unzipped, and The Emperor’s New Groove. With her cabaret performance stronger than ever, she’s bringing that sexy act to Texas…to the Austin Cabaret Theater for one night only. Here, in an exclusive interview, she discusses, men, performing and well, more about men.

Everyone calls you a living legend. How does that feel at this point of your career? 

It’s kind of a scary thought, you know, but you have to live with it. I’m someone’s whose been around for awhile.

You’re still the toast of the cabaret set from coast to coast. You just finished up a gig at the Carlyle in New York. How was it? 

I think it’s what people are looking now…they don’t like the kind of music that is hateful or anti-women that’s out there now. They want to feel good again about society and themselves.

When you’re on stage performing, what do you love most about that – is it that instant connection with your audience?

Oh, very much so. The more they give me, the better I feel about what I am doing. It’s how I interpret a song – whether it’s dramatic or comedy. It’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. Thank God I’m able to hold onto these notes – I sing in the same key as I did 30 years ago.

Eartha Kitt and Orson Welles, 1950s

And you’re in your sixth professional decade of making men nervous. You seem to get along well with men…

Darling, I loooove men. A good man is hard to find. Plus, I think I have a lot of fun with the men in my audience – men know I love to tease.  And women understand that –and they get to benefit from it later on in the evening when they are alone with their man. You could say I’ve had some experience with men.

Right, you’ve had some pretty famous boyfriends. What do you find most attractive about men?

That’s easy. It’s the respect they have for women. Orson (Welles) called me the most exciting woman in the world and every woman wants to feel that way about herself, too. It’s important that a man has a good sense of humor. Women should have it, too. Also, a man must have intelligence, but he doesn’t have to be the smartest man in the room. Like most women, I like to keep them guessing…

And women have changed over the years, too?

Women’s Lib took a lot of fun out of teasing. A man doesn’t know what to do anymore – should he hold doors, light a cigarette, and stand up when a lady enters a room? They don’t even send flowers anymore. I think good manners need to come back in style. A woman wants to be cared for.

Agree. Speaking of style, your Santa Baby hit made you an even bigger star and branded you as a sex kitten in a very innocent era in the 1950s. Was that meant to be?

Not really. It wasn’t calculated at all. I was an innocent young girl when I first made that song. Remember, I’m a cotton picker from South Carolina and I’ve never lost that innocence. Of course, I played to that in my career – a woman should always be innocent, darling.

I hear you’re working on your biography. Will you be setting the record straight?

Rejuvenate is my book out now. It’s about what a woman has to do for herself. My biography will be my next book. It’s about me, men, and money… about the fun times and not-so-fun times.

Here’s to Life is a song you like to close your act with. If you hadn’t become a performer, what occupation would you have chosen? 

I would have been a teacher. I’ve learned – and teach – that life is a wonderful path to travel on if you don’t get too panicky on your down moments. The question one should ask is ‘how am I going to best use these moments?’

 

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS BOOZE & VINYL FOR CHRISTMAS FROM RUNNING PRESS

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS BOOZE & VINYL FOR CHRISTMAS FROM RUNNING PRESS

By Lance Avery Morgan    Photography courtesy of Running Press

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and as we gear up for everyone’s favorite time of the year, the bestselling Booze & Vinyl series (200,000 copies in print) finds its holiday cheer in an irresistible new volume that you must have for yourself…and to give as host gifts. It mixes beloved Christmas albums with very, very merry drink pairings – how great is that? A Booze & Vinyl Christmas from Running Press is by award-winning food and drinks writer André Darlington.

It features forty curated Christmas albums, from the 1940s to the present, complete with two inspired cocktails for the A side and B side. From The Nutcracker and A Charlie Brown Christmas to Bing Crosby and Kelly Clarkson, this tome is the perfect companion for all your festive holiday gatherings.

Whether you’re spending a quiet evening by the stocking-lined fireplace at home, or preparing to binge Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies, you can make the season festive with this guide to forty favorite holiday albums from the 1940s to the present. Divided into four thematic chapters—Rock the Halls, Warm & Fuzzy, Jazzy & Classical, and Gift-Wrapping Station, each entry features liner notes on the album and accompanying boozy beverage recipes that complement the music or connect the drink to the artist.

Tasty holiday recipes sprinkled throughout make this the ultimate holiday cocktail party guide. The author even shares his trademark tips and tools for setting up the bar with twelve bottles, pantry staples to have on hand, and sensational, homemade syrups that sparkle with the flavors of winter.

You’ll love that this book combines the passion for holiday music, the love of Christmastime, and the fun of cocktails and entertaining. It’s an intoxicating combination of much-loved subjects. So, why not host your next ultimate holiday party with music, cocktails, and nibbles, a top ten list of Christmas tunes with cocktail pairings with A Booze & Vinyl Christmas as your guide? $26. At Running Press.