Although symphonic concerts could be heard in San Antonio all the way back in the 1880s, the formation of the San Antonio Symphony—the city's first formal orchestra—didn't happen until 1939. It was then that Max Reiter, a native of Italy, was forced from his career and home by a freshly established anti-Semitic policy. Reiter boarded a ship for New York, found the city teeming with exiled musicians like himself, and therefore purchased a train ticket to the South. There, San Antonio's leaders invited Reiter to conduct a demonstration concert for a crowd of 2,500. The success of that initial impression led to the formal founding of the Symphony and an inaugural concert just five months later. Today, Sebastian Lang-Lessing stands where Reiter once stood, leading a full ensemble of 75 musicians with a baton hand honed across the globe.
Winner of the San Antonio Current readers' poll for Best Local Theater Company of 2011, The Overtime Theater produces innovative original plays and musicals as well as spirited adaptations of old classics. Like the birth of a Qinling panda, each Overtime production has never been seen before onstage, nourishing theatergoers with the freshly crafted stage fare of passionate playwrights. Use today’s deal to treat a friend or special dog groomer to the poignant political comedy of Ugly People (August 19–September 17), the existential drama of Life, or a Reasonable Approximation Thereof (July 8–August 6), or the smooth jazz and blues of DOA: A Noir Musical (September 30–October 29), a creative adaptation of the 1950 film classic.
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo bustles with a variety of vendors, bovine-inspired showcases, and activities for the whole family. Legally eavesdrop on live music, which wafts from five separate areas on the spacious grounds, or draw the fashionable wedge between man and livestock by accessorizing at the three shopping areas and the Texas Experience Pavilion, which comes stuffed with shopping, free samples, and exhibits on beekeeping, winemaking, and dairy farming. Meanwhile, the Family Fair lassos tykes with a petting zoo, pig races, and pony rides. The all-day event runs from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or midnight (depending on weather conditions), though some exhibit hours may vary. Proceeds from the event go toward the community and raising scholarship and grant money to support agriculturally inclined Texan youth.
When he's not gigging at renowned venues such as CBGB or the Bowery Ballroom, Pancho Garza preps others to do the same at Alamo Rock School. Likewise, Pancho's fellow instructors channel years of teaching and performing experience to help students aged 8–17 improve their guitar, bass-guitar, drums, piano, or singing skills.
Weekly one-on-one lessons are the bedrock of Alamo's rock club, whose weekend jam sessions give students the opportunity to play with fellow musicians. Private lessons pair with group rehearsals at the school's summer camp and rock performance sessions, which culminate in a live show at a local venue. Designed for musicians 18 and older, the adult rock program similarly whisks students out of their grownup forts made of utility bills to the stage.
Lerner and Loewe’s six-time Tony Award–winning Broadway musical My Fair Lady adapts George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion into the tale of snooty phonetics professor Henry Higgins, who makes a wager that he can transform cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into an upstanding member of high society. As Higgins comically struggles to supplant Eliza’s chimney-sweep accent and guttural demeanor for fancy savoir-faire, a romance unfolds proving that love conquers all forms of enunciation. Audiences waltz with their armrests as classic show tunes such as “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “On the Street Where You Live” stake their claim in memory banks for future shower serenades.
A finalist for the 2006 Richard Rodgers Award, Greetings from Yorkville poignantly chronicles the travails and joys of a Midwestern songwriting duo as they move to Manhattan to realize their dream of a life in musical theater. Under the direction of two-time Tony Award–winner Thommie Walsh, real-life couple Anya Turner and Robert Grusecki dramatize the autobiographical narrative with minimal scenery and few explosions, relying on the textures of her voice interwoven with his piano in a tale that “rings true because it is their own” (New York Times). The Brauntex Theatre will host a one-night-only reprise of the original Off-Broadway run in its intimate 600-seat auditorium, feeding families and garnishing West San Antonio Street with a sliver of Big Apple.