Audra McDonald in 'Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill' on Broadway. (Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva)

ZACH Theatre Sets Musical-Filled 2016–17 Season

The slate of shows at the Texas theatre will include ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert,’ ‘In the Heights,’ and ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.’

AUSTIN: ZACH Theatre has announced its 2016–17 season., with three musicals, one play with music, and two holiday shows.

“It’s an ambitious season and we look so forward to sharing each dynamic experience with our great Central Texas audience,” said producing artistic director Dave Steakley in a statement.

The season will open with Priscilla Queen of the Desert, with book by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, with a score of well-known pop songs (Sept. 28–Oct. 30). The musical is based on the film, about two drag queens and a transgender woman who travel Australia in search of love, friendship, and family. It will be staged by ZACH associate artistic director Abe Reybold. Allen Robertson will provide musical direction, and the set and costume design are in collaboration with Maine’s Ogunquit Playhouse.

For the holidays, ZACH will present two shows: Steakley’s musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (Nov. 23–Dec. 31) and Joe Mantello’s adaptation of David Sedaris’s The Santaland Diaries (Nov. 23–Dec. 25).  Steakley will direct Christmas Carol and Reybold will direct Santaland Diaries.

Following those two shows will be Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill by Lanie Robertson, a play with music that uses the songs of Billie Holiday (April 5–30, 2017). The show is set during the jazz singer’s last live concert, as she tells stories from her life. Robertson will provide musical direction.

The spring will also contain Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’s musical In the Heights (May 31–July 2, 2017). The show takes place in Washington Heights in New York City, as the local Dominican-American community gather for July 4th weekend. Robertson will provide musical direction. In the Heights original cast member and San Antonio native Michael Balderrama will direct and choreograph the show.

Following will be the musical Million Dollar Quartet, with book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux (July 26–Sept. 3, 2017). This coproduction with Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, where it will run in summer 2017, will be directed by Steakley with music direction by Robertson. The show takes place on Dec. 4, 1956, as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins gather for a jam session of their greatest hits.

An additional work will be announced at a later date.

In addition, ZACH has announced its theatre for families series. The lineup includes Charlotte’s Web, adapted by Joseph Robinette from E.B. White (Oct. 14–Dec. 3), the holiday sing-along Holiday Heroes from Shaun Wainwright Branigan and Jerome Schoolar (Dec. 17), and Mo Willems and Deborah Wicks La Puma’s musical Elephant and Piggie: We Are in a Play! (Feb. 17–April 29, 2017).

In addition to those well-known works, the theatre will premiere JJ’s Arcade by José Casas, a bilingual TYA piece about a boy who builds an arcade from cardboard from his dad’s garage (April 14–May 7, 2017). JJ’s Arcade will be coproduced with Teatro Vivo and presented at the Mexican American Cultural Center. The work is also developed for the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices festival.

ZACH is Austin’s leading professional producing theatre, serving 115,000 annually with a mix of nationally recognized plays and musicals.

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