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These 6 Marvelous Musicals Will Have You Singing Along this Summer in Austin

A standout season for local theatre includes several beloved Broadway classics

Beauty and the Beast
Disney's Beauty and the Beast, presented by Magnolia Musical Theatre (photo by Emily Cannata Photography)

Jetting off to NYC might be the ideal way to experience the joy of Broadway, but it’s certainly not an everyday option for most of us. We’ve come to rely on the splendor of the big Broadway in Austin touring shows that travel through Bass Concert Hall every year with their extraordinary sets, intricate costumes, and huge casts comprised of the nation’s top performers. However, this summer in particular, we’re taking notice of many smaller companies showing off their impressive range of abilities. Austin community theatre is truly having a special moment this season.

In this standout summer of show stoppers, several local companies are producing beloved classic musicals, and we are ready to happily hum along to so many favorite familiar tunes.

A creative community of local talent

The great beauty of locally-staged productions is that community is at the heart of every show. Austin-area actors with non-glamorous day jobs get to shine bright in the evening hours and unleash their true passion to perform. Students dreaming of Broadway careers get to hone their craft and practice their skills in front of large adoring fans. Artists come together as set designers, costumers, and musicians in a collaborative, spirited way. These companies are thrilled to entertain the Austin community, and we’re here to shower them with gratitude and a standing ovation or two.

We can’t recall a summer in Austin that offered the opportunity to see such a bevy of beloved Broadway hits. Toes will be tapping to these six sensational shows:

Beauty and the Beast

Take a short drive over to the City of Bee Cave to catch an enchanting performance of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This outdoor show takes place at Great Lawn of the Hill Country Galleria every Wednesday-Sunday at 8 p.m., running through August 13. Presented by Magnolia Musical Theatre, this classic tale (as old as time) is presented completely free of charge with open lawn seating.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, presented by Magnolia Musical Theatre (photo by Emily Cannata Photography)

Matilda the Musical

The “revolting children” of this Roald Dahl story are actually quite charming and endearing in Zilker Theatre Productions‘ 64th Summer Musical held at the Hillside Theater in Zilker Park. Matilda the Musical is presented Thursdays – Sundays at 8:15 p.m. through August 12. An age-old tradition in the Austin community, all are invited to attend this accessible family-friendly show free of charge (donations encouraged). There are no tickets required. Additionally, you can bring along a blanket and a picnic. The pro tip is to take a cool dip in Barton Springs pool before the show begins.

Matilda the Musical, presented by Zilker Theatre Productions (photo by Peggy Keelan)

The Wizard of Oz

Follow the yellow brick road to Texas Performing Arts’ McCullough Theatre for a delightful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s iconic tale with the favorite songs from the MGM film. The Wizard of Oz is presented by Impact Arts and Texas Performing Arts as part of the Summer Stock series. Summer Stock Austin is comprised of incredibly talented college and high school students. The Wizard of Oz and runs through August 6 (with various show dates and times). Follow Dorothy over the rainbow to meet friends on a quest to find the mighty Wizard. This production is sure to be fun for all ages.

Grease

Another classic musical presented by Summer Stock Austin will have you singing about “Those Summer Nights” as you’re transported to Rydell High. Grease will also be performed at the McCullough Theatre. This runs from July 28 through August 6. Gather your pink ladies and snag your tickets to watch Danny and Sandy’s high school love story unfold.

Wizard of Oz poster
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The Wizard of Oz, presented by Summer Stock Austin

Grease poster
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Grease presented by Summer Stock Austin

Head Over Heels

While the title of this musical might not be quite as familiar, you’ll surely know the popular songs featured in the show. Head Over Heels is set to the music of the iconic 1980s all-female rock band, The Go-Go’s. Get ready for hit songs such as “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” and more. In an exciting addition to the show, ZACH’s all-female band will be led by original Go-Go, Kathy Valentine. Head Over Heels tells the comedic story of a royal family’s outrageous escapades. It will be presented at ZACH Theatre from August 9 – September 10.

Head Over Heels, presented by ZACH Theatre (photo by Suzanne Cordiero)

The Sound of Music

A Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music will be performed at Georgetown Palace Theatre from August 18 – September 17. Audiences of all ages will be captivated by such classic songs as “My Favorite Things”, “Do-Re-Mi”, and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”.

The historic Georgetown Palace Theatre (photo by Rudy Ximenez)

Two More Musicals — Closing This Week

You still have a chance to catch two more summer musicals that run through July 30. Crazy for You is playing at the Georgetown Palace Theatre featuring sentimental Gershwin tunes such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.” On a completely different note, Lizzie, The Musical is playing at the Austin Playhouse. This is a high-energy rock musical adaption of the story of Lizzie Border and the Borden Family murders in 1893. Both shows are closing this weekend, so hurry to get tickets while you can.