It’s all about feeling good this fall in Houston’s Theater District; whether it’s laughter or whimsical stories, you’ll get the best of all worlds in dance, music, theater and song.
Martin McDonagh’s plays are no strangers to the Alley Theatre’s stages, including The Beauty Queen of Leenane (January 1999), The Pillowman (February 2006) and The Lieutenant of Inishmore (January 2008). Unlike his other plays, A Behanding in Spokane is McDonagh’s first play set in America and the first presentation of it since its premiere on Broadway. Alley resident company member James Black stages this volatile, black comedy (i.e. mature audiences, folks) on the Neuhaus stage starting August 27 through September 26. The Alley opens the Hubbard stage’s season with a happy, darling of a tale, J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, October 1-31.
Houston Ballet brings us back together for their 41st season, starting with a mixed repertory program, Body, Soul & Gershwin, September 9-19. The program features Stanton Welch’s lively and colorful neo-classical work Tu Tu, Jirí Kylián's emotionally charged abstract ballet Forgotten Land and The Core: Gershwin, the Heart of the Big Apple, Mr. Welch's Broadway-style ode to 1930s New York City glamour.
Tu Tu, set to Maurice Ravel’s Concerto for Piano in G major, outfits 22 dancers in brilliantly colored (gold, turquoise, red and orange) tutus and briefs inspired by Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt’s gold-hued paintings. Jirí Kylián’s Forgotten Land is a somber and soulful work for 12 dancers. The Core: Gershwin, the Heart of the Big Apple lifts our spirits in a highly theatrical depiction of the Big Apple and incorporates archetypical New York characters with plenty of Broadway flash and dazzle in a work featuring the full company. This crowd-pleasing blockbuster inspired by the movie musicals of Hollywood’s Golden Age is set to George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F and was last seen by Houston Ballet audiences at its premiere in 2008.
Between September 23 and October 3 several new works will enter the Houston Ballet repertoire with the Balanchine evening-length Jewels, featuring Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds. The three separate and distinct works create a unified full evening work and originally premiered on April 13, 1967 by New York City Ballet. The gems in Jewels pay tribute to three golden ages of dance and also to the beauty of the ballerinas Balanchine adored.
"Jewels will showcase the versatility and stylistic depth of our dancers. The audience will see the whole company on stage. This piece celebrates where Houston Ballet's dancers are today," Mr. Welch states.
Travel to new worlds in music and art with the extraordinary international artists and musical styles brought to Houston by Da Camera including chamber music and jazz; early music and contemporary works. Folk meets baroque when Jordi Savall makes his long-awaited Houston debut alongside the Ensemble Tembembe of Mexico for a celebration of mixed musical traditions on October 2.
The Arcanto Quartet debuts in Houston on October 19 as part of their first North American tour. Tierney Sutton, vocalist of the Tierney Sutton Band, brings her style to jazz standards on October 29. Cutting edge and versatile describes the next program – ICE: New Sounds. Four stellar wind players drawn from the International Contemporary Ensemble visit with a program featuring virtuosic works by Reich, Zorn and French experimentalist Philippe Hurel. Two pieces by Nathan Davis, featuring acoustic instruments with live computer processing are also part of the program.
It’s all sorts of newness for the Houston Symphony: a new executive director, new concertmaster, a premiere in collaboration with Holocaust Museum Houston and a new series, the Sound + Vision series.Show-stopping numbers from the latest hits to come off Broadway kick off the season.
Enjoy songs from Wicked, RENT, The Lion King and Mamma Mia with Broadway Rocks! on September 3, 4, 5. Opening Night: A Vienna Soiree officially kicks off the 2010-2011 season with captivating sounds of Vienna featuring Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz and Mozart’s Sonfonia concertante with newly-appointed concertmaster, Frank Huang. The pops series gets down to business with Michael Bolton leading the season with hits like Time, Love and Tenderness and When A Man Loves A Woman.
The classical series starts with Tchaikovsky 1 on September 16, 18, 19 performed by Yefim Bronfman on his giant keyboard. Wagner’s “Ring” Without Words takes us on an orchestral adventure September 24, 25, 26, into a mythical world of gods, giants and heroes in the quest for a magic ring that holds immense power. Amazing child prodigy turned breathtaking virtuoso, Joshua Bell, takes center stage on October 1, 2, 3, with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.
The pops season continues with Paul Anka and Chris Botti. Anka, one of music history’s most prolific and successful songwriters, appears without the Houston Symphony on October 21. Grammy Award-winning trumpeter/composer Chris Botti continues a pops weekend with his charismatic style on October 22, 23 and 24.
A landmark musical work that transformed classical symphony forever weaves its thread of epic drama and revolutionary genius into the season with Beethoven’s Eroica on October 28, 30, and 31, and the Houston Symphony teams up with the esteemed University of North Texas’ One o’clock Lab Band to form the biggest band in Texas as they play songs from jazz greats and more on November 12, 13 and 14. Bartók’s portrayal of greed, lust, crime and the ultimate power of love will enthrall you on November 18, 20 and 21, with his Miraculous Manderin.
There may be No Reservations if you wait too long to get your tickets for Society for the Performing Arts’ season opener, Anthony Bourdain: Up Close and Confidential on September 20. There’s a birthday in the house when Omara Portuonda, the Diva from Buena Vista Social Club, visits for her 80th birthday celebration. After a night of music that gets you on your feet, you’ll be happy to know that it’s story time with Ira Glass: Radio Stories and Other Stories. on October 9.You can leave the dancing to the professionals when MOMIX defies categorization as its dancers defy gravity on October 15 and 16.
There’s no magic needed on October 26 with Drumline LIVE – just a lot of energy! The Historically Black College and University (HBCU) marching band tradition returns to Houston for one night only with a new show filled with great drumline music. Another group back by popular demand is Diavolo. Fearful Symmetries will make its Houston premiere on November 5 and it’s Diavolo’s newest and largest project to date.
SPA goes back to its musical program with Houston favorites, The 5 Browns. Soon to be a Houston favorite, Buika makes her Houston debut on November 12 with music from her fourth studio album, El Último Trago (The Last Sip), a tribute to Mexican ranchera singer Chavela Vargas. The Ahn Trio (three Juilliard-trained sisters from Seoul, South Korea) breathe life into standard chamber music when they return to Houston on November 17 for the first time since 2005.
Theatre Under The Stars brings fresh Broadway musicals to Houston. Big hair and big heart overflow when TUTS’ debuts Hairspray October 5-17. Friends and families will sing and dance together with hits like, Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now, and Good Morning, Baltimore. Ever think “you’re just a step on the boss-man’s ladder?” Well pour yourself a cup of ambition when TUTS presents 9 to 5: The Musical, November 9-21. This hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is based on the hit movie and features the blockbuster title song plus a new score of original numbers by Dolly Parton.
Gexa Broadway at the Hobby Center presents the world’s favorite ogre October 19-31. Shrek The Musical is part romance, part twisted fairy tale and irreverent fun for all with 19 all-new songs, big laughs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery.
Theatrical heavyweights come to town by way of Houston Grand Opera’s new production of Madame Butterfly. Director Michael Grandage, designer Christopher Oram and lighting designer Neil Austin swept the prestigious Tony Awards earlier this year with six awards for their Broadway production of John Logan’s Red. This visually stunning new HGO production marks the London-based design team’s first opera for a U.S. company and draws its inspiration from traditional Japanese art.
“It is thrilling to bring about the U.S. operatic debut of such a dynamic creative team,” said HGO General Director and CEO, Anthony Freud. “I am delighted they accepted our invitation to create HGO’s new production of Madame Butterfly and look forward to sharing this vision of Puccini’s much-loved opera with our audiences in Houston.”
The new production of Madame Butterfly opens the HGO season on Friday, October 22, and runs for five performances. The new production features soprano Ana Maria Martinez in her role debut as Cio-Cio San and the HGO debuts of tenor Joseph Calleja (Pinkerton), baritone Levi Hernandez (Sharpless) and mezzo-soprano Lucy Shaufer (Suzuki). Tony Award nominee Neil Armfield (Exit the King) directs an HGO co-production of Britten’s masterpiece, Peter Grimes. It garnered enthusiastic accolades at its Australian premiere and this new production opens October 29 for five performances through November 12. Peter Grimes brings to the stage the human struggle of the individual versus the masses against the backdrop of the raging sea. Patrick Summers conducts.
It’s an artful cornucopia with offerings from The Hobby Center for Performing Arts’ Uniquely Houston. Ars Lyrica starts their season with an operatic bon-bon on September 24 in Zilkha Hall. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton stars in Domenico Scarlatti’s comic intermezzo La Dirindina, the only surviving work of its kind from the master of the harpsichord sonata. Ars Lyrica continues their season on November 13 and partakes in the worldwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi’s monumental 1610 Vespers. They collaborate with the critically acclaimed Orpheus Chamber Singers and the Whole Noyse, one of the world’s finest Renaissance wind bands, for an evening of splendor and drama. Stakes are high with The Masquerade Theatre’s first production of the year with Chess, an original story by lyricist Tim Rice and a score by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA fame, in Zilkha Hall October 1-10.
Masquerade continues their season with The Drowsy Chaperone, November 19-November 28. After a whirlwind summer across the globe and an electrifying year, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater returns home to Zilkha Hall on October 21-23 with a tantalizing mixed repertory program. The centerpiece will be the Houston premiere of an intense duet from 27’52” by Jiří Kylián. 27’52” (the title refers to the exact length of the full piece) was created in 2002 and is made up of three abstract duets. The program also features the U.S. premiere of Walsh’s Medea, a new creation that premiered at the Gala di Danza in Naples, Italy in December 2009, and closes with a revival from 2008 of Walsh’s Terminus which is set to a score composed and performed live by Two Star Symphony and set against a video/painting installation created by Houston artist Nicola Parente.
Whether you love music, dance, song or you love it all – join us for what’s going to be a fantastic season of the finest arts in Houston.