San Antonio's Essential Theater Companies & Performing Arts Venues

click to enlarge 'Matilda' - Courtesy of the Majestic Theater
Courtesy of the Majestic Theater

ARTS San Antonio
Since 1992, ARTS San Antonio has brought the finest performances from around the world to various venues around town. But the artistic impact doesn’t end at the close of the performance; the organization also works to coordinate education and outreach opportunities for community engagement with visiting artists. Save the date for the organization’s upcoming spectacles BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (March 3 at Laurie Auditorium), Scrap Arts Music’s Found Percussion of Tomorrow (March 25 at the Majestic) and Che Malambo (April 20 at the Empire). 418 10th St., (210) 226-2891,

Originally housed in Trinity University’s Attic Theatre, AtticRep found a new home for its esoteric, challenging dramas when it became one of the 10 resident companies at the Tobin back in 2014. There’s no such thing as an easy night with these guys; with a mission to “challenge the creative imagination of our community,” expect to leave the theater thinking. 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624,

Carver Community Cultural Center
For over 75 years, the Carver Community Cultural Center has welcomed groundbreaking performers like Esperanza Spalding, Dianne Reeves and Poncho Sanchez into its cultural hub on the city’s Eastside. This year brings dance performances in the form of The Clothesline Muse (March 4) and Ronald K. Brown’s company Evidence (May 20) as well as concerts featuring Betty Lavette (April 8), Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Octet (May 5) and The Suffers (June 3). Through challenging performances, community outreach and education, the Carver seeks to celebrate diversity with an emphasis on African American heritage with its namesake George Washington Carver’s words always in mind: “Start where you are with what you have. Make something of it. Never be satisfied.” 226 N. Hackberry, (210) 207-7211,

Charline McCombs Empire Theatre
Once a vaudeville hall, the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre also enjoyed a stint as a B-movie theater before it was shuttered back in 1978. Redeveloped alongside the Majestic back in the ’90s, thanks to funds raised by the Las Casas Foundation, the intimate theater now hosts comedians, concerts, local performances and private events in its flexible seating space. 226 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 226-3333,

Classic Theatre of San Antonio
Do you like your plays to stick to the dramatic canon? If so, The Classic Theatre of San Antonio’s productions of popular classics and forgotten masterpieces is the space where you can let your theater geek flag fly. Performances typically include a complimentary champagne reception on opening night and a “Community Talk Back” near the end of the run. The company’s ninth season wraps up with productions of Shakespeare’s The Tempest (February 17-March 12) and William Inge’s Bus Stop (May 5-28). 1924 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 589-8450,

Roxie Theatre
Risen from the ashes of the wacky and unpredictable Cameo Theatre, recently established Roxie sees performer, director and producer Jonathan Pennington rebooting his Off Broadway sensibilities in an intimate space previously inhabited by an ultra lounge. Host to nostalgic revues (The Rat Pack Lounge) and cult classics (The Rocky Horror Show) alike, Roxie’s forthcoming engagements include the Elvis-inspired musical comedy All Shook Up (February 18-March 19) and Texas Light Opera’s take on Edgar Allan Poe’s Nevermore (April 6-15). 7460 Callaghan Road, Suite 333, (210) 360-9180,

Sheldon Vexler Theatre
Formed in 1999 and housed on the campus of the Barshop Jewish Community Center, the Sheldon Vexler Theatre (aka the Vex) stages both award-winning plays and lesser-known works produced by a cast and crew comprised of local volunteers. Riffing on its unpretentious black-box format, the Vex invites theater fans to “think inside the box” while taking in dramas, musicals and comedies. The theater’s 18th season culminates with Peter and the Starcatcher (May 4-June 4), which rewinds to tell the back story of Peter Pan. 12500 NW Military Hwy., (210) 302-6835,

The Majestic Theatre
From Loretta Lynn to Morrissey, The Majestic Theatre has hosted some of the biggest names in music. This former movie theater turned National Historic Landmark is now home to the Broadway in San Antonio series, presenting the hottest touring productions of New York’s award-winning shows. Highlights from the 2017 season include Rent (March 3-5), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (March 14-19), Finding Neverland (May 2-7) and Matilda: The Musical (June 6-11). 224 E. Houston St., (210) 226-3333,

The Playhouse
If your preference errs on the conventional side, The Playhouse offers quality live theater that seeks to “reveal the truth in the human experience.” And thousands of thespians have attempted to do just that since its founding way back in 1912 as the San Antonio Little Theatre. Today, The Playhouse hosts two stages: the Russell Hill Rogers Theater for larger musicals and the Cellar Theater for intimate dramas, comedies and experimental works. Under the guidance of award-winning set designer, director and performer George Green, the revered institution is in the midst of a performance season that includes productions of The Secret Garden (February 10-March 12), Disgraced (March 17-April 9), Urinetown: The Musical (May 5-May 28), Crimes of the Heart (June 2-25) and Hairspray (July 7-August 6). 800 W. Ashby Pl., (210) 733-7258,

Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
With a revolving door of touring acts and three distinct spaces to house them, the state-of-the-art Tobin Center for the Performing Arts is the place to enjoy anything from Dolly Parton to Hedwig and the Angry Inch. And with 10 companies in residence, including Opera San Antonio, Ballet San Antonio and the San Antonio Symphony, the stage is sure to sizzle with some of the best local talent the city has to offer. 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624,

Woodlawn Theatre
Promising quality fun for the whole family, the historic Woodlawn Theatre routinely delivers toe-tapping musicals that will leave you singing in the shower for days. Currently under the artistic direction of Chris Rodriguez, the Deco District gem is set to unveil productions of Pippin (February 10-March 12), Sister Act (April 7-May 7), Shrek: The Musical (June 30-July 30), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (August 25-September 17), Little Shop of Horrors (October 13-November 5) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (November 24-December 23). And for trivia buffs: originally a movie theater designed by architect John Eberson (of Majestic fame), the Woodlawn welcomed John Wayne for the world premiere of The Alamo back in 1960. 1920 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 267-8388,

Other spots to keep on your radar
Jump-Start Performance Co. (; Teatro Audaz (; The Josephine Theater (; The Magik Theatre (; The Overtime Theater (; Performing Arts San Antonio (; The Company Theatre (; The Harlequin (


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