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Political satires, a propaganda exhibit among best in September arts

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Grammy-winning vocal group Roomful of Teeth sings the Austin created “Mozart Requiem Undead” on Sept. 16. Contributed by Bonica Ayala

With the presidential election just two months away, Austin arts groups key in to the times with several plays, a modern opera and an important exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Roomful of Teeth and “Mozart Requiem Undead.” A beyond-capacity crowd of about 2,000 showed up in 2014 for the debut of what remains one of the most ambitious Austin-born alt classical efforts. Spearheaded by the musical brain trust of Peter Stopschinski, Graham Reynolds and Brent Baldwin, some 10 composers were charged with reworking a movement of Mozart’s majestic Requiem Mass. Now the stunning and award-winning “Undead” is reprised, this time fronted by Grammy Award-winning alt classical vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth (which features Austin bass singer Cameron Beauchamp). 8 p.m. Sept 16. Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. $10-$40. 512-477-6060, texasperformingarts.org.

“State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” A powerful traveling exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, “State of Deception” examines how the party used propaganda to win voters in Germany’s nascent, and troubled, post-World War I democracy. Using vivid, emotive graphics and messaging, the Nazis marketed their ideology not just to the fringe but the broader German public. As a companion to the traveling exhibit, the Bullock has organized “On the Texas Homefront,” an exhibit the looks at the effects of Nazi propaganda and events in Germany on Texas. Museum hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Exhibit runs Sept. 17-Jan. 8. Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1900 Congress Ave. $8-$15. thestoryoftexas.org.

“The Manchurian Candidate.” Austin Opera presents a semi-staged multimedia production of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer (and former Austinite) Kevin Puts’ acclaimed adaptation of the Cold War suspense thriller, ripe with politics and paranoia. 7 p.m. Sept. 17. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. 512-610-7684, austinopera.org.

“The Totalitarians.” This dark, sassy political comedy spotlights an ambitious yet naive speechwriter who has gone to work on a wealthy woman’s vanity campaign for public office. Stars Barbara Chisholm Faires. Opens Sept. 8. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Sept. 25. Off Center, 2211 Hidalgo St. $15-$30. theatreenbloc.com.

Ballet Austin’s “To China With Love.” Who better than Stephen Mills and Ballet Austin to be de facto Austin arts ambassadors to China? Before the company jets across the globe, it performs the mixed rep program it’ll take overseas. On the bill is Mills’ “Wolftantz” (set to Mozart) and “Liminal Glam” (set to Philip Glass) along with American choreographer Lar Lubovitch’s contemporary ballet “Dvorák Serenade.” 8 p.m. Sept. 23-24, 3 p.m. Sept 25. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. $20-$89. balletaustin.org.

“The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. ” In 1941, Bertolt Brecht penned a charged theatrical satire paralleling Hitler’s rise to power. Now, Brecht’s dark farce, set in gangster-era Chicago, gets a freshening with a new score by Austin composer Peter Stopschinski and directed by award-winning David Long. Opens Sept. 29. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 9. Mary Moody Theatre, St. Edward’s University, 3001 S. Congress Ave. $18-$27. 512-448-8484, stedwards.edu/mary-moody-northen-theatre.