A cult classic. A backstage/onstage farce. A Beethoven remix. A treasured fairy tale lovingly revised, along with an immersive and interactive "Oz."
Zach Theatre previewed these shows — from a yet-to-be-completed line-up for its 2020-2021 season — for backers at the Topfer Theatre on Tuesday night.
The season kicks off with a transgressive phenom that Artistic Director Dave Steakley reveals has been the No. 1 candidate for revival for fans: "The Rocky Horror Show." From the squeals and cheers from the crowd Tuesday, they are ready for the resurrection.
Next comes "The Wizard of Oz" as adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Along with two other shows in the season, here the audience enters a wrap-around experience that the Austin company is calling "Zach360."
That will be followed by Michael Frayn’s beloved door-slamming farce, "Noises Off," as fictional cast and crew struggle through a performance of the fictional off-color comedy, "Nothing On."
A Zach fave, "Dr. Suess’s The Cat in the Hat" comes back to reintroduce the famous feline to family audiences.
In "Hersey Felder: Beethoven," touring performer Felder brings the classical composer to life, as he has done with other composers. Felder plays all the characters while tinkling the ivories.
"Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella," which has undergone multiple revisions and revivals since the 1950s, follows. In this version, playwright Douglas Carter Beane emphasizes the kindness of Cinderella as much as her beauty.
Returning during the holiday season will be Dave Steakley’s soulful musical adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" and playwright/composer/music director Allen Robertson’s cross-cultural "Holiday Heroes."
Yet another show, "A.D. 16," is pending for a season slot. All depends on a reading this weekend as part of Zach’s "LaunchTable" series of developing new plays and musicals. In this musical-in-the-making, the teenage Mary Magdalene has a crush on the 16-year-old Jesus.
The process for subscribing to the 2020-2021 season is so complicated, I’ll quote the theater’s explanation in its entirety, lightly edited:
"The six-show 2020–21 Mainstage Series, including "The Rocky Horror Show," "Noises Off," "Hershey Felder: Beethoven" and "Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella," plus two more shows to be announced, is currently on sale to renewing subscribers only. Six-show season subscriptions start at $253, Zach Pass (10 vouchers) is $690, and Total Access (9 shows) is $491. Family Series, Act One and Design-Your-Own (four shows of your choice) packages will be available later this spring. Early bird renewal is April 17, and final renewal deadline for current season subscribers to renew their seats is May 29. Visit zachtheatre.org/renew to renew your subscription today. New subscriptions will go on sale in June. For more information, call 512-476-0541 ext. 1 or go to zachtheatre.org. 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 eight or more may request reservations by calling 512-476-0594 ext. 245 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org."