Texas Performing Arts’ new season to debut diverse shows and the return of a few Austin favorites
Texas Performing Arts fans who've been waiting for the 2023-24 season announcement now have plenty to applaud: TPA’s upcoming season will feature highly anticipated bold projects, many Texas debuts, plus innovative productions with big artist and emerging-talent debuts, and the long-awaited return of some family favorites.
“I’m excited to share our 23/24 season filled with new sounds, global stories, adventurous premieres, and long-awaited returns," said Bob Bursey, TPA Executive and Artistic Director. “This season we’re presenting some of the most exciting new creations from around the world as well as bringing leading artists back to Austin.”
The 2022 Edinburgh International Festival’s crowd-pullerThe Book of Lifewill open the season in a sensational, reflective fashion for its Texas premiere, featuring Rwandan writer and activist Odile Gakire Katese and Ingoma Nshya, Rwanda's first-ever women's drumming group. The Book of Life will run September 7 and 9 at 7:30 pm at McCollough Theatre.
Following The Book of Life is Alice, a combined dance, acrobatics, and illusory performance by acclaimed contemporary dance company Momix. Alice is the newest work by artistic director and choreographer Moses Pendleton, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Alice will run September 20 at 7 pm at Bass Concert Hall.
In conjunction to the regular season, a six-event partnership between TPA and Fusebox will bring a more adventurous approach to TPA stages in Austin. The first of which, in its Texas debut and only appearance, is Love in Exileby Grammy Award-winning vocalist Arooj Aftab, accompanied by her two most-trusted collaborators polymath pianist Vijay Iyer, and renowned instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily. The trio will envelop the stage with a soundscape Aftab describes as "about self-exile, and the search for freedom and identity, and finding it through love and music." Love in Exile will run September 29 at 7:30 pm at McCullogh Theatre.
The second musical performance in partnership with Fusebox is the Texas premiere of Tremble Slavesby Pulitzer Prize-winning Navajo composer Raven Chacon and The Living Earth Show, comprised of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson. Musicians from the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music will also participate in the show that sheds light on climate change, specifically an approaching water shortage crisis. Tremble Slaves will run on October 13 at 5:30 pm at Laguna Gloria in conjunction with This is Our Land, an exhibition by The Contemporary Austin.
A special Dia de los Muertos celebration by esteemed Grammy Award-winning Mexican singer Lila Downs will bring a “unique interpretation of traditional Mexican and Mesoamerican music” to the ears of the audience at Bass Concert Hall. For this event, attendees are encouraged to dress in traditional, imaginative costumes to immerse themselves in the evening. The performance will be held on October 20 at 8 pm.
For the jazz and opera lovers, seven-time Grammy Award winner Terrence Blanchard will perform excerpts from his critically-acclaimed Fire Shut Up In My Bonesfeaturing his E-collective jazz band, and the Turtle Island String Quartet, and two secret guest singers. The Austin premiere of Fire Shut Up in My Bones will run on November 9 at 7:30 pm at McCullough Theatre.
The 2023 Grammy’s Best New Artist winner Samara Joy will bring holiday cheer and her velvety voice to Austin with a special gospel and jazz concert entitled A Joyful Holiday. The performance by “the first Gen Z jazz superstar” will also feature three generations of her McLendon family. A Joyful Holiday will run on December 3 at 6 pm at Bass Concert Hall.
The first TPA performance of 2024 will be an unforgettable evening of dance and comedy by all-male ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. This will be the first time the troupe has pirouetted into Austin in eight years, and is just one stop on their 50th Anniversary Tour. Their signature ballet satire combined with their elegant movements leads to a stunning show. The performance will take place on January 19, 2024 at 7:30 pm at Bass Concert Hall.
In another show presented with Fusebox is the Texas premiere of Food(stylized FOOD) by Geoff Sobelle. Food will ask many food-related questions, prompting the audience to reflect on the way they perceive eating. Audience members will gather around a dining table to engage with each other and their empty plates during Sobelle’s performance. Food will run January 31 through February 3 at 7:30 pm with a special February 3 matinee at 1:30 pm.
For the first time in over a decade, the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will bring two dance performances to the stage as part of Ailey’s iconic ballet Revelations. Since the company’s founding in 1958, Ailey’s performers have excited over 25 million people around the world. The performances will take place at Bass Concert Hall on March 2 at 7:30 pm with a family matinee on March 3 at 2 pm.
One of the most highly anticipated returns of the 2023-24 season is a captivating one-night only performance by world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, his first in Austin in 12 years. Audience members can expect to hear some of his favorite pieces, as well as a few tales about his life and his dedication to music. An Evening with Yo-Yo Mawill take place on March 7 at 7:30 pm at Bass Concert Hall.
Artist Tania El Khoury will bring an interactive, live art performance to Austin with Cultural Exchange Rate, based on Khoury’s recorded interviews with her grandmother, detailing what it was like to live between Lebanon and Syria. The interactive portion of the show will incorporate "secret boxes to explore sounds, images, and textures" that add context to over a century's worth of border crossings. Cultural Exchange Rate will run April 10-14 at the Bass Concert Hall Rehearsal Room.
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green will delight the audience’s eyes and ears with his immersive documentary 32 Sounds, exploring sound through a sensory experience and meditation. Green will narrate the film while original music is performed by electro band Le Tigre’s JD Samson. 32 Sounds will run on April 10 at 7:30 pm at Bass Concert Hall.
In a collaboration between award-winning choreographer Abby Zbikowski and her crew The New Utility is the Texas premiere of one of the “Best Dance Performances” of 2022 as deemed by the New York Times. Radioactive Practicemelds gender-bending work with dance while performers “labor their way through complex, demanding, and often perplexing physicality to confront expectations and dive into the unknown head on.” Radioactive Practice will run at B. Iden Payne Theatre on April 12 and 13 at 7:30 pm with a matinee at 2 pm on April 14.
TPA and Fusebox are additionally partnering to provide a residency for Austin-based artist Lisa B. Thompson for the 2023-24 season. She is currently the Patton Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at UT Austin. While at her residency, Thompson will develop The Black Feminist Guide to the Human Body, which explores the disparities in Black women’s health in the United States. The show will premiere at the 2024 Fusebox Festival at The Vortex (stylized VORTEX).
Tickets for Texas Performing Arts 2023-24 season go on sale on May 12 at 10 am. More information can be found on texasperformingarts.org.