Look, I get it - when it comes to the performing arts, people don’t exactly think of San Antonio. We are no New York, San Francisco, or London for sure, but we also aren’t without great options. Each year, guests and residents of SA can catch big name musical acts, touring Broadway shows, or even local productions at a number of Alamo city venues. Below is our list of where you can catch live theater in San Antonio.
Live Theater in San Antonio
Built in 1929, the Majestic Theatre is unmistakably the grande dame of San Antonio’s theater scene. That's because stepping into the Majestic’s theater space is tantamount to taking a seat in a Greek amphitheater at dusk, albeit with air conditioning and padded chairs.
The gorgeous Spanish, Mediterranean style extends throughout the entire building and can be seen in the architecture, painted ceilings, and magnificent stage which looks as though it was relocated to San Antonio direct from Santorini.
Only the biggest and best play at the Majestic, so you can expect lots of touring Broadway shows, big-name comedians, and internationally recognized musical acts. A visit to the Majestic is by far one of the best things to do in San Antonio and makes for a very memorable evening.
Charline McCombs Empire Theatre
Photo Credit: Facebook Majestic Empire
The Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, or the Empire Theatre for short, is the older sister to the Majestic. Opened in 1914, the Empire Theater began its career as a vaudeville house and then a motion picture theater.
After a flood-induced remodel, the theater reopened in 1998, fully restored to its original gold-gilded glory of old. And while the Empire lacks the overwhelming “wow” factor of the Majestic, it’s charming in its own, distinguished way.
Events at the Empire Theatre tend to be smaller in scope than the Majestic, which means every seat in the house has a great view and an intimate feel. You can catch music, comedy, and small stage live theater in San Antonio here.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Photo Credit: Yelp Jando S.
What began in 1926 as the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium and longtime home to the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, is now an SA entertainment powerhouse with big name Broadway, music, and comedy shows galore. The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts is the Alamo city’s “newest” and most modern performing arts space and was designed to provide the best visual and auditory experiences for each performance.
Reopened in 2014 after a $142 million dollar renovation, the Tobin Center regularly welcomes huge acts to the H-E-B Performance Hall which can seat up to 1,746 people, or to its more intimate venue, the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater, which holds a mere 232 seats.
And while you can catch all manner of performance at the Tobin, each Christmas, it plays host to one of San Antonio’s most beloved holiday classics, a ballet performance of the Nutcracker by Ballet San Antonio. If you can only make it to one event at the Tobin, this is the one.
The Public Theater of San Antonio
Photo Credit: Facebook SA Youth
Located in the historic San Pedro Springs Park, the Public Theater of San Antonio, formerly known as the San Pedro Playhouse, is a performing arts theater that showcases the local talents of many San Antonio residents. They specialize in creating and performing high production quality plays and musicals that offer a distinctive San Antonio flair.
A traditional season at the Public Theater will include a mashup of recognizable works like this season’s West Side Story and the Wizard of Oz, and lesser known pieces, some of which are either written by or arranged by talented local artists and playwrights.
Wonder Theatre (formerly the Woodlawn Theatre)
Photo Credit: Facebook Wonder Theatre
The Wonder Theatre is a local nonprofit offering year round live theater performances and educational programming for budding actors, actresses, and entertainers. The Wonder Theatre produces musicals only, and very recognizable ones at that – anybody ever heard of Grease or Into the Woods? You'll find these, and more, at the Wonder Theatre.
Each performing arts season at the Wonder Theatre includes 5ish adult productions and a few youth productions. Auditions are open to the public.
Photo Credit: Facebook Aztec Theatre
The Aztec Theatre is another San Antonio old-timer outfitted in vibrant colors and décor that pay homage to the ancient Aztec civilization. Meso-American adornments cover nearly every square inch of this theater and include a brightly lit Aztec sun sculpture.
The centerpiece, however, is an eye-popping two-ton chandelier that was installed in the lobby in 1929 on the same day that the stock market crashed and touched off the Great Depression.
The Aztec primarily showcases musical acts – both large and small – as well as some indie groups, and a few comedy shows.
The Magik Theatre is a local theater, adjacent to Hemisfair Park, that caters solely to kids and their families. All performances are extremely kid friendly.
From the stories they perform (which include childhood favorites like The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Knufflebunny, and the Velveteen Rabbit), to the food they serve (lots of popcorn!), everything is meant to give families the most bang for their short-attention buck. Plays run about 45 minutes a piece and nobody blinks an eye at giggles, wiggles, or noises from the audience.
The Magik Theatre also hosts regular sensory-friendly productions for families with neuro-divergent members who may need a few extra accommodations to make their trip a success. These “non-judgmental” performances have literally opened the door to many kids who would otherwise not be able to experience the joy of live theater in San Antonio.
A trip to the Magik Theatre is hands down one of the most fun things to do with kids in San Antonio, no matter the age or abilities of the children.
The Classic Theatre
Photo Credit: Facebook Classic Theatre
The Classic Theatre is a small professional theater that produces 5 main stage shows, and a series of smaller productions, each year. As the name suggests, only the “classics” get produced here so you can expect to see famous and noteworthy plays such as A Raisin in the Sun, On Golden Pond, and lots of Shakespeare.
The Classic Theatre is located inside the Public Theater of San Antonio, utilizing the Cellar Theatre, the smaller of the Public Theater’s performing arts spaces.
The Overtime Theater
Photo Credit: Facebook Overtime Theater
Touting itself as “San Antonio’s off-off Broadway” theater, the Overtime Theater is a local playhouse that showcases a variety of less familiar, and in many cases totally unfamiliar, productions that may include anything from comedy to horror. You never quite know what you are going to get at the Overtime, and that quirky charm has kept the Overtime going in SA for many years.
Teatro Audaz exists solely to make theater more accessible to those who might be underserved by the arts. With this goal in mind, Teatro Audaz works to cultivate Latino storytellers and talent and bring them together on the stage to create memorable, accessible, and inclusive productions that fit comfortably into San Antonio’s Latino culture.
Photo Credit: Facebook Teatro Audaz
In keeping with their mission, Teatro Audaz offers regular “pay what you wish” nights and ASL nights, making Teatro Audaz the most accessible theater company in San Antonio.
You can find Teatro Audaz at the Public Theater of San Antonio.
Photo Credit: Facebook S.T.A.G.E. Bulverde
S.T.A.G.E. Bulverde is a small community theater company located in rural Bulverde, just north of San Antonio. Plays produced here are fairly small in scope but provide rural residents with a great opportunity to enjoy live theater outside of the city limits.
Photo Credit: Trinity University
Laurie Auditorium is the professional auditorium found at Trinity University. You can catch a variety of performances and educational lectures at Laurie including classical concerts and musical performances, plays, interviews, and anything even remotely associated with NPR or PBS.
The Magicians Agency Theatre
The Magicians Agency Theatre is located downtown in Alamo Plaza and is the only theater in San Antonio where you can regularly catch live magic shows from a number of different award winning magicians. All shows are family friendly and offer interactive components, making the audience a part of the onstage magic.