The latest children’s play in ZACH Theatre‘s season of storybook-inspired shows is Tomás and the Library Lady, based on the book by Pat Mora. This bilingual show runs through Sunday, February 14, and tells an inspirational story of a boy named Tomás who meets a librarian who encourages him to read. Our Content Manager, Heidi, had a chance to see the show this week. Read all about it and then scroll below to enter to win 4 tickets to the play!

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The stage adaptation of Tomás and the Library Lady is based on the children’s picture book written by Pat Mora that tells the true story of Tomás Rivera, who grew up in a migrant family. The story takes place in Iowa, where Tomás’s parents and grandfather have traveled from Texas to take jobs as migrant workers. Tomás accidentally finds his way to the library where he befriends a librarian  who takes him under her wing while his family works the harvest. She teaches him English words while he teachers her Spanish words. She introduces him to stories about dinosaurs, horses, and American Indians and allows him to take books home where he builds his reading skills to share stories with his grandfather and brother. By the time the family has to return to Texas, the librarian has helped Tomás develop a lifelong love of reading and build confidence in himself that will help him transition back to school with much success.

The story is much like a big love letter to librarians and to children’s literacy in general. It highlights the power of books, caring educators, and the importance of helping children reach their greatest potential. It also tells the story of facing fears, self-empowered and overcoming challenges. ZACH Theatre does a wonderful job presenting the book’s feel-good, powerful emotions onto the stage.

The show takes place in the round Whisenhunt stage. The set is fairly sparse, but the production uses projections on screens around the theater walls to help give context to the settings of the scenes — showing images of the migrant camp or book shelves, etc.

Three talented actors play multiple parts in the show, speaking in both English and Spanish throughout. With slight costume changes, the audience can easily see actors step into different characters to tell the story.

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I had the privilege of seeing this show with a theater full of bilingual second graders from AISD schools who were captivated, giggly, responsive, and all-around fun to sit with. When the target audience is having a blast, you know for sure that the production is hitting the mark. Seeing the kids faces light up made me feel proud of ZACH Theatre and all they do for our Austin community. For many school children, attending shows at ZACH is their first experience with live theatre. And much like the story of Tomás, in which books open up a world of possibility for him, ZACH Theatre opens up a world of imagination for our local children.

The show is wonderful for school field trips, but you can also see weekend public performances on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Youth tickets are $12 and adult tickets are $15, which you can purchase online here or call the box office at 512-476-0541 x1. For group tickets (8 or more),  please call 512-476-0541 x245 or email groupsales@zachtheatre.org. Please take note of these special, upcoming events:

  • Autism/sensory friendly show at 11 a.m. Jan. 23. The house lights will remain up, the sound will be lower, glow sticks will signal something upsetting might happen and there will be special places for breaks from the show.
  • Author Pat Mora question-and-answer session at 2 p.m on Feb. 13. The author will be in attendance and everyone in the audience will get a free book, in partnership with Center for the Book.

–> Ticket Giveaway: We have a family 4-pack of tickets to give away to the show on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. Enter below. Good luck! The ticket giveaway is now closed.