ZACH Theatre Presents Inspiring Bilingual Play Tomás and the Library Lady (Local Austin, TX, Family Events)


ZACH Theatre Presents Inspiring Bilingual Play Tomás and the Library Lady (Local Austin, TX, Family Events)

ZACH Theatre is pleased to produce the bilingual family play Tomás and the Library Lady January 15-February 14, 2016 on the Whisenhunt stage in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin department of Theatre and Dance.


We loved seeing a ZACH Theatre production of Winnie the Pooh so much we headed back to see the brand new performance of the bilingual family play Tomás and the Library Lady.  It opened on January 16 at the Whisenhunt stage and it is based on the book of the same title by Pat Mora.  Mora’s book is based on the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator, Tomás Rivera (December 22, 1935 – May 16, 1984), who was a child of migrant workers.  Rivera went on to become the first minority Chancellor in the University of California system and this is an inspirational story on how education – particularly reading and libraries – can make things possible in your life.  The book is amazing and the play is geared for children age five and up.  Recently, I discussed my own love of reading and how it shaped my own life, so this was another great way for me to talk to my kindergartner about the importance of reading through this book before she saw the play.  I definitely recommend doing this for your child!


The True Story of Tomás and the Library Lady

Written by José Cruz González and is based on the book by Pat Mora (Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar Grades K-1, Read-Aloud Stories)
Ages 5 and up

In a nutshell, Tomás works with his family every summer and follows the crops north from Texas to Iowa, spending long, arduous days in the fields.  His grandfather would tell his family wonderful stories at night and his Papa Grande sees how interested Tomás is of his stories.  He tells him there are more stories in the local library he can read and Tomás is delighted to check out the library the next day!  Tomás is introduced to the ‘library lady’ and this experience ends up opening up a new world for him.  While Tomás’s childhood had many harsh realities, the joyful imaginings he finds in the library books and his special relationships with a wise grandfather and a caring librarian are the beginning of his path in education.

Our Experience at the play Tomás and the Library Lady at the ZACH

Brooke and I were so excited to go see the performance today.  Poor Bob had to have dental work that morning, so once he was back at home recovering and Brie was down for a nap, we headed to the show!  How exciting!  The Whisenhunt stage is very intimate and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.  Brooke and I already knew the background and history from reading the book, but it was so amazing to see the cast bring the characters to life.

Brooke and I were impressed that the theatre had four screens that showed illustrations and helped facilitate the play so it was easy to follow and gave the show a wonderful book-to-theatre production feel.  I was not expecting the screens!  I was also surprised by how moving the story was to watch (even after reading the book) unfold; a poor migrant farmer family with a son who so desperately wanted to read and understand English and who couldn’t learn in his school in Texas because there were no bilingual translations for students at that time.  Of course, since we knew the story was based on a real person who went on to excel in his studies and work in a collegiate environment, it makes the importance of his relationship with a Library Lady and learning English an integral part of his story.

The story was believable, their songs were beautiful, the cast was amazing, and the message of believing in yourself and being helpful to those who need it shone through.  The cast even did a Q&A for the audience at the end and were generous of their time after it was over.  Brooke happily posed for pictures with the cast!  I highly recommend taking your family to see this show.  It was well worth the trip and Brooke and I had some amazing discussions on our drive home about how brave it is to conquer your fears and that education was is important part of life.  Bravo!  Check out the remaining shows (the last show is on Valentine’s Day) below and see the link on how to get tickets.



  • Martinique Duchene-Mother
  • Benjamin Bazan-Tomas
  • Claire Stephen-The Library Lady,
  • Kathleen Brown-The Library Lady


  • Tamara Carroll-Director
  • Stephanie Busing-Scenic Designer
  • Rebecca Drew Ramsey-Costume Designer
  • Andrew Carson-Lighting Designer
  • Lowell Bartholomew-Sound Designer
  • Scott Groh-Properties Designer
  • Katie Anderson-Stage Manager
  • Kaitlyn Kennedy-Stage Manager Sub for first week -Assistant Stage Manager Intern
  • Julián Arizola-Composer

Plan Your Trip! 

Here are a few things to note:

  • ZACH Theatre does offer drinks and snacks (including alcoholic beverages).
  • ATMS are not available on site so plan accordingly.
  • There is no specific dress code, but business casual is appreciated.
  • While children’s shows are for kids and their families, they do prohibit infants from attending their Mainstage productions to avoid distractions.
  • ZACH is fully handicap accessible and compliant.
  • The Whisenhunt Stage (where Tomás and the Library Lady takes place) is located at 1510 Toomey Road – Austin, TX 78704.

The ZACH campus features three theaters each with differing seating configurations and excellent sight lines, so check your ticket to make sure you know the correct location: 

  • Topfer Theater: a 420-seat proscenium stage in which the seating fans around the stage in an arc, much like movie theater stadium-style seating.
  • Kleberg Theatre: a 230-seat thrust stage, with the audience seated on three sides
  • Whisenhunt Theatre: a 130-seat arena stage, also known as a theater-in-the-round.

Parking at ZACH Theatre:

In addition to nearby street parking on Toomey Road, Sterzing Street, Lee Barton Drive, Riverside Drive, and Jessie and Butler Streets (see map here), parking for ZACH patrons attending a performance is also available at ZACH’s Whisenhunt Theatre, at ZACH’s Topfer Theatre, behind the Parks and Recreation Department at night and on Sundays, and at The Bicycle Shop just south of Barton Springs and Lamar by McDonald’s.

Tomás and the Library Lady Performance Schedule:

  • Sat 1/16/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 1/17/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 1/23/16 11:00AM (Autism/Sensory-Friendly Performance)
  • Sat 1/23/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 1/24/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 1/30/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 1/30/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 1/31/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 2/6/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 2/6/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 2/7/16 2:00PM
  • Sat 2/13/16 11:00AM
  • Sat 2/13/16 2:00PM
  • Sun 2/14/16 2:00PM

About the ZACH Theatre:  Located at 1510 Toomey Road – Austin, TX 78704 (Phone (512) 476-0541), the ZACH Theatre is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization located in Austin,Texas.  ZACH creates intimate theatre experiences that ignite the imagination, inspire the spirit, and engage the community. As Austin’s leading professional producing theatre, ZACH employs more than 300 actors, musicians, and designers annually to create its own diverse array of nationally recognized plays and musicals under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley and Managing Director Elisbeth Challener. Each year, ZACH serves nearly 115,000 Central Texans – 50,000 of which are children and youth who participate in our education and outreach programs, as well as inspiring camps and classes. ZACH Theatre is honored to host private and community events across the beautiful rental-ready spaces on our three-stage campus located in the heart of Austin. Founded in 1932 and in its 82nd season, ZACH is the longest continuously running theatre company in the state of Texas, and one of the ten oldest in the country. Visit for more information.

ZACH Theatre’s 2014-15 Season is sponsored in part, by Applied Materials, Austin Catering, Baylor Scott & White Health, Holiday Inn-Lady Bird Lake, Kirk Tuck Photography, Marquee Event Group, OnRamp Access, Schlotzsky’s, and KXAN TV 36; and by grants from The Shubert Foundation, the Junior League of Austin, The National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the Cultural Arts Division of The City of Austin Economic Development Department.

Support the ZACH Theatre!

ZACH Theatre - Sources of Support

ZACH thrives and prospers with support from patrons like you. Be a part of our cast of generous individual donors, family foundations, corporate sponsors and volunteers. It’s easy to donate your time, resources and ideas to make a difference at ZACH. Join us for our fantastic special events, exclusive behind-the-scenes opportunities and opening night celebrations as you support artistic excellence on our stages and valuable arts educational programming in our community.  Learn more about how you can donate HERE.

ZACH Theatre Presents Inspiring Bilingual Play Tomás and the Library Lady (Local Austin, TX, Family Events)

List Price: $13.00 (Youth) – $16.00 (Adult)

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