Austin's autumn gem: the new cultural arts season —
August 12, 2020

Austin’s autumn gem: the new cultural arts season

By Meredith Cox and Lesly Reynaga

the heights cultural arts season

Autumn brings a valuable thing to Austin: the upcoming cultural arts season. Compared to other cities of its size, Austin has a thriving cultural and performing arts scene, giving its residents an opportunity to experience both local and national events. Here’s what’s in store from the major players in Austin this season.

Aida Cuevas
Aida Cuevas

The Long Center for the Performing Arts is a major powerhouse in the Austin music, cultural and performing arts scene. Their 2016-2017 season is no exception, with performances coming from a range of artists, from musicians to kid’s shows to comedians to authors. On Thursday, Sep. 8, singer-songwriter and Official State Musician of Texas Sara Hickman will delight Austin audiences with her diverse and emotional songs. “Sister’s Back To School Catechism” is back Sep. 30- Oct. 2, this time with a hilarious lesson on the Church’s take on all the familiar Halloween tales. Recently named the Number 10 Classical Artist in the world by Billboard magazine, The Texas Tenors are a must-see on Sunday, Oct. 9. Younger audiences can also enjoy an interactive musical adventure on Sunday, Oct. 16 at “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE!,” based on the hit television series airing daily on PBS Kids. For a night filled with traditional Mexican music, Aida Cuevas & Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles will bring a spectacle celebrating women in mariachi on Tuesday, Oct. 25. “The Aluminum Show,”  Wednesday, Oct. 26, is a new and unique show that brings material, music and artists together on stage in a magical, mystery-filled creation combining visual theater, dance, and humor. On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the Pet Shop Boys–the British pop duo responsible for 42 Top 30 Singles in the last three decades–will bring down the house. Comedian Kathy Griffin, author Fran Lebowitz and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson are also part of the upcoming season along with numerous others. See the full listing as well as pricing and special season packages at

Rhiannon Giddens

Texas Performing Arts, housed at The University of Texas at Austin, is another important part of Austin’s cultural arts map. They’ve just released a full lineup of what to expect from this season. Highlights include personal essayist and monologist Mike Daisy, touring his very timely show “The Trump Card” on Thursday, Sep. 15 at McCullough Theatre. Also at McCullough Theatre, Kronos Quartet return for a solo evening on Tuesday, Sep. 20 and on Friday, Sep. 23 with guest folk performer Rhiannon Giddens, best known as the lead singer, violinist and banjo player for Carolina Chocolate Drops. For a night of an incomparable mix of ballet and contemporary Afro-Brazilian movement, Grupo Corso is back on Thursday, Oct. 6 at Bass Concert Hall with new works by Rodrigo Pederneiras. Acclaimed electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling makes a stop at Bass Concert Hall on Monday, Nov. 7 as part of her “Brave Enough” North American Fall Tour. January will see the National Theater of Scotland production of “Let the Right One In,” a truly creepy and haunting adaptation of the successful novel and film at McCullough Theatre. Of course, Texas Performing Arts is also host to the popular Broadway in Austin series, which this year will bring “Newsies,” “The Illusionists,” “Cinderella,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Beautiful: The Carol King Musical,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “Sometime Rotten” to Bass Concert Hall. Full season information and ticket packages are available at

ZACH Theatre is the longest continuously running theatre company in the state of Texas, and one of the ten oldest in the country. As Austin’s leading professional producing theatre, ZACH employs more than 300 actors, musicians and designers annually to create its own diverse array of nationally-recognized plays and musicals. This season at ZACH includes “Pricilla, Queen of the Desert” adapted from the popular film beginning Sep. 28; family musical “A Christmas Carol;” David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries;” the Billie Holiday-inspired “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill;” Tony Award winning musical “In the Heights;” and the 1950s rock-fest “Million Dollar Quartet.” Visit for information on tickets. ZACH Theatre conveniently lists shows by their appropriate audience age, so theater-goers can easily figure out what’s suitable for kids and what’s adults-only.

Ballet Austin's production of "The Nutcracker." Choreography by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg.
Ballet Austin’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Choreography by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

During Ballet Austin’s 2016-2017 season, audiences can see selections from Ballet Austin’s first-ever tour of China, “To China, With Love” Sep. 23-25. Ballet Austin will also be producing classics “The Nutcracker,” “The Magic Flute,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Belle Redux,” a contemporary take on “Beauty and the Beast.” More information available at

The Austin Symphony Orchestra is Austin’s oldest performing arts group and has a complete season of musical and educational programming. Masterworks concerts include a series of eight concert pairs running monthly from September through May, including season opener The Mozart Requiem Sep. 9-10 and “Symphonic Follies” Jan. 13-14 with music of P.D.Q. Bach, Milhaud, R. Strauss and Saint-Saëns. This new season also features the Sarah & Ernest Butler Pops Series, which includes shows such as Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Friday, Oct. 28, “Pixar in Concert” on Friday, Feb. 17 and “Fascinating Gershwin” June 2-3 featuring pianist Joseph Joubert. Programming for the entire family includes the “Halloween Children’s Concert,” “Christmas in the Community” and the popular James C. Armstrong Youth Educations Programs, which include Children’s Day Art Park, Young People’s Concerts, High School Concert Tour and a variety of other school programs. Find the complete lineup and ticket information at

This year marks Austin Opera’s 30th anniversary season. One o this year’s production is the one-night-only regional premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning adaptation of Richard Condon’s chilling novel “The Manchurian Candidate” on Saturday, Sep. 17. Austin audiences can also expect such classics as Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” Donizetti’sThe Daughter of the Regiment” and one of the most beloved operas of all time, Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.” Detailed information available at

The Paramount Theatre has recently announced its Fall and Winter 2016 season as well, after wrapping up an incredibly successful centennial season in 2015. This fall season sees such varied performances like 60s rockers The Monkee’s 50th Anniversary Tour on Thursday, Sep. 29, the popular three-man play “A Wolverine Walks Into a Bar” on Sep. 11-20 and another installment of the storytelling series “The Moth” on Friday, Dec. 16. A unique function will be the Paramount Science Summit on Thursday, Dec. 1, which will gather three of the nation’s most recognizable physicists to discuss the ever-expanding galaxy, scientific inspiration and innovation. Additional information and full listings are available at

Event dates are throughout 2016 and 2017, and tickets vary from season passes to individual events. See the individual websites for full information.



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