The San Antonio Symphony is the city’s only resident performing arts company of national stature, but smaller groups keep the local arts scene lively, and cultural organizations draw world-renowned artists. The city provides them with some unique venues—everything from standout historic structures such as the Majestic, Empire, Aztec, Arneson, and Sunken Garden theaters to the massive AT&T Center arena.
Most of San Antonio’s major road shows turn up at the Majestic, Empire, or Aztec theaters, but several smaller houses are of interest too. The Woodlawn Theatre ★, 1920 Fredericksburg Rd. (www.woodlawntheatre.org; tel. 210/267-8388), uses local talent for its productions, which tend to be in the less commercial, off-Broadway tradition. Opened in 1946 as a movie house, in 1960 the Woodlawn premiered The Alamo, with star John Wayne hosting. The community-based Josephine Theatre ★★, 339 W. Josephine St. (www.josephinetheatre.org; tel. 210/734-4646), mounts an average of five productions a year—mostly musicals—at its Art Deco–style theater, only 5 minutes north of downtown.
Whether it’s an original piece by a member of the company or a work by a guest artist, anything you see at the Jump-Start Performance Company ★ (710 Fredericksburg Rd.; www.jump-start.org; tel. 210/227-JUMP ) is likely to push the social and political envelope. This is the place to find performance artists such as Erik Bosse or Marisella Barerra.
Magik Theatre ★★★, Beethoven Hall, 420 S. Alamo St., in Hemisfair Park (www.magiktheatre.org; tel. 210/227-2751), puts on shows exclusively for children and families (one of very few such organizations with its own professional company and venue) in a 600-seat theater originally built in 1895 for an old German singing society. Shows are popular, so you need to reserve in advance, especially on weekends. Magik Theatre performs a full season of plays, mostly adaptations from children’s books.
The Public Theater of San Antonio ★, 800 W. Ashby Pl. (www.thepublicsa.org; tel. 210/733-7258), established in 1912 as the San Antonio Dramatic Club, presents a wide range of plays in the neoclassical-style San Pedro Playhouse, built in 1930. Teatro Audaz ★, various locations (www.teatroaudaz.com), specializes in productions emphasizing groups that are traditionally under-represented in theater, including people of color, Latinx, and members of the LGBTQ community. Some productions are bilingual.
For information on other small theaters in San Antonio and links to many of those listed in this section, log on to the website of the San Antonio Theatre Coalition at www.satheatre.com.
A Theater that Lives Up to Its Name
Everyone from Jack Benny to Mae West played the Majestic, one of the last “atmospheric” theaters to be built in America: The stock market crashed 4 months after its June 1929 debut, and after that no one could afford to build such expensive showplaces anymore. Designed in baroque Moorish/Spanish revival style by John Eberson, this former vaudeville and film palace features an elaborate village above the sides of the stage and, overhead, a magnificent night sky dome, replete with twinkling stars and scudding clouds. Designated a National Historic Landmark, the Majestic affords a rare glimpse into a gilded era (yes, there’s genuine gold leaf detailing).
Other Arts Venues
In addition to the Alamodome, 100 Montana St. (www.sanantonio.gov/dome; tel. 210/207-3663), which sits just east of Hemisfair park on the edge of downtown, San Antonio’s major concert venues include Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, 16765 Lookout Rd., just north of Loop 1604 (www.vwatx.com; tel. 210/657-8300), and, when the Spurs aren’t playing basketball there, downtown’s AT&T Center, One AT&T Center Pkwy. (www.nba.com/spurs; tel. 210/444-5000).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.