At seventy five years young Zachary Scott Theatre in Austin is still a rising star. Here, we pull back the curtain to see why age should never make a difference while entertaining so many.
Enter, Stage Right. A young boy lands a role in “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” the perennial George Kaufman-scribed Broadway hit, at the Zachary Scott Theatre and his life will never be the same. The author and that boy are one in the same and the fact is that a simple, creative endeavor can change not only one life, but also is an example of how this theater has been changing lives, those of both actors and audiences for over seven decades. Cut to: the present where ZACH, as the theatre is affectionately known, is celebrating its next seventy five years with a new stage on the horizon and even more creativity gracing its stages soon.
Its history is as fascinating as its future. ZACH, the oldest continuously operating professional resident theatre in Texas and among the 10 original resident theatre companies in America, was chartered in 1933 as first the Austin Little Theatre and then as the Austin Civic Theatre in 1943. It was renamed the Zachary Scott Theatre in 1967 after the Austin-bred Hollywood actor who was once one of the top leading men under contract to Warner Bros. in the 1940s. He is best known as Joan Crawford's playboy love interest in the 1945 Academy Award™-winning movie Mildred Pierce and was of the busiest leading actors of his day playing both heavy drama and light, romantic comedy. He always remembered his Texas roots and this author’s father knew the actor from his jaunts to the West Coast in the 1950s. Other famous names, from Jayne Mansfield to Mary Louise Parker have shared their thespian talents on the ZACH stage over the years, adding star luster to an already luminous organization.
Later, in 1972, members of the Austin community joined the Kleberg family, known for its astute ranching and commerce acumen, in a capital fundraising effort, which resulted in the construction of an 8,000-square-foot theatre facility with a 200-seat thrust stage Mr. Scott's family provided the additional funding necessary to bring the 200-seat Kleberg Stage theatre construction project to completion. As time marched on, the theatre grew up with the city around it. Offering original productions as well as the classics on its stages keeps ZACH’s audiences yearning for more.