News Column

Hispanic Texans Stage Sugarplumbs

Dec. 6, 2012

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Charles Dickens
'A Christmas Carol' author Charles Dickens

Holiday arts events continue with the opening of Ballet Austin's sparkling "The Nutcracker," Teatro Vivo's delightful "Cuento Navideno" and a new holiday show, "A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Music of Vince Guaraldi" at Antone's.

"Cuento Navideno: Bah Humbug in the Barrio"

Last year, Austin's Teatro Vivo created its own holiday entertainment tradition with the original play "Cuento Navideno." Penned by Teatro co-founder Rupert Reyes, the spirited play is a riff on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," reimagined by Reyes as a tale of good versus greed set in a modern, urban Texas Latino community.

Evangelina Cruz is the Latina Ebenezer Scrooge -- a selfish and self-consumed businesswoman who has lost touch with her culture and her family and thus lost her connection to her community. But a surprise visit from the ghost of her former business partner -- the once equally-greedy Teodora -- sets Evangelina on a journey to look closely at the choices she's made.

A different member of the community will make a surprise appearance at each show in a walk-on role. Among those luminaries: Travis County District Clerk Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza, Austin city council member Mike Martinez and playwright Erica Saenz.

Today through Dec. 16, Rollins Studio Theatre, Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. $15-$20. 476-5664; www.teatrovivo.org

"A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Music of Vince Guaraldi"

Forty-seven years ago an animated television special based on the Peanuts characters from Charles Schulz's comic strip made its debut and became a holiday tradition for many.

Without a doubt "A Charlie Brown Christmas" endeared with its delightful yet realistic characters. But the show's jazzy piano melodies -- composed by Vince Guaraldi -- catapulted Charlie Brown and his friends into the pop culture lexicon and became instant Christmas classics.

Now, pianist and Austin Chamber Music Center director Michelle Schumann recreates Guaraldi's signature piano, acoustic bass and drums sound in a pair of concerts at legendary blues club Antone's.

4 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Antone's, 213 W. Fifth St. $10-$25; tables for four $100. 454-0026; www.austinchambermusic.org

Cherrywood Art Fair

More than 100 artists and artisans vend their creations at this free family-friendly event that also has a host of food vendors and entertainment. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Maplewood Elementary, E. 381/2 St. and Maplewood Ave. Free. www.cherrywoodartfair.org.

Ballet Austin's "The Nutcracker"

Ballet Austin has presented Tchaikovsky's holiday classic longer than any other company in Texas. Austin Symphony Orchestra provides the live accompaniment. Saturday through Dec. 23, the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. $15-$72. 476-2163; www.balletaustin.org

"Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Nutcracker"

Tapestry Dance Company stages its rhythm tap, jazz-infused rendition of the popular holiday dance classic.

Friday through Dec. 16, Boyd Vance Theater, Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. $15-$25. www.tapestry.org.

"Sing-It-Yourself Messiah"

Chorus Austin once again invites the public to join in on the singing of Handel's masterpiece. 8 p.m. Saturday, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 8134 Mesa Drive. $15. www.chorusaustin.org.

"Music at the Blanton: A Very Blanton Christmas"

Violinists and UT Butler School of Music professors Brian Lewis and Roger Myers gather their colleagues and students to present a program of chamber orchestra music chosen to celebrate the season.

2 p.m. Sunday, Blanton Museum of Art. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Free with museum admission ($5-$9). 471-7324, www.blantonmuseum.org.

Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2012 Austin American-Statesman, Texas


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