SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE Feb 18-27 Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is the third musical of Masquerade Theatre’s 2010-2011 season. Inspired by the painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, the show explores the balance between art and life, and the true nature of both. Sondheim and book writer James Lapine fictionalize Seurat’s story and imagine his life and state of mind as he creates his masterpiece. Tickets $36.25-$66.25. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. masqueradetheatre.com AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Feb 18–Mar 13 Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play, Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County is a grand, gripping new play that tells the story of the Westons, a large extended clan that comes together at their Oklahoma home when the alcoholic patriarch disappears. Forced to confront unspoken truths and astonishing secrets, the family must also contend with Violet, a pill-popping, deeply unsettled woman at the center of this storm. Recommended for mature audiences due to strong language and adult situations. Tickets $26-$70. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org BILLY ELLIOT – THE MUSICAL Feb 23–Mar 13 A joyous celebration of one young boy’s journey to make his dreams come true, Billy discovers a passion that inspires his family and his whole community. With its award-winning creative team and music by Elton John, Billy Elliot enchants the dreamer in all of us. Tickets start at $45. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. thehobbycenter.org PERFORMING ARTS THE NUTCRACKER Through Dec 26 Featuring glorious scenery and costumes by Tony Award-winning designer Desmond Heeley, Ben Stevenson’s breathtaking production of The Nutcracker is, in the words of the Houston Chronicle, “the crown jewel of holiday entertainment.” Set in 19th-century Germany, the ballet opens at a charming Christmas party at which the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer gives his little niece Clara a magical toy that takes her on an unforgettable journey. From the Christmas tree that grows to a towering 40 feet in the first act to the cooks who fly magically through the air in the second act, The Nutcracker enchants audiences of all ages. Tickets $19-$98. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org A LITTLE DAY MUSIC Dec 1 Downtown workers, schools, seniors and day care centers are among the many who enjoy Da Camera’s free lunchtime concerts on the first Wednesday of each month, October through May, in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center. Bring your lunch and enjoy the wide variety of artists and ensembles presented this
CONCERT OF ARIAS Feb 3 Watch and be entertained as some of the best emerging operatic talent compete head-to-head for top honors at this prestigious competition – and don’t forget to cast your vote for the coveted Audience Choice Award. Following the competition, the evening reaches its pinnacle with the Celebration Dinner in the Grand Foyer. Don’t miss this special opportunity to see and discover the emerging stars of tomorrow. Tickets $36-$76. 7 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org
season. Tickets free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
Tickets $20-$55. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0080. mercurybaroque.org
MESSIAH ROCKS Dec 1 Broadway meets rock-‘n’-roll and baroque music. Handel’s Messiah Rocks brings the Western world’s most famous oratorio and one of the most beloved musical compositions of all time to contemporary audiences with rock music at its center. Tickets $24-$64. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
VERY MERRY POPS Dec 10-12 Back again is this much-loved holiday tradition featuring Mike Krajewski, the Houston Symphony and Chorus. This year, Very Merry Pops promises to be the highlight of your holiday. Bring the whole family to celebrate the season. Tickets $25-$122. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
7th ANNUAL JUBILEE OF DANCE Dec 3 A special one-night-only performance showcasing the talent and artistry of company dancers in a program of high-energy excerpts from signature works and beloved classics. From the opening act, a fast-paced tour of seasons past and seasons yet to come, the momentum of the annual Jubilee of Dance builds at a breathtaking pace. If tradition holds true, the finale will be a showstopper that allows each of the dancers to shine. Tickets $42-$160. 7:30 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org THE SNOWMAN Dec 4 Raymond Brigg’s classic children’s story The Snowman will enchant young and old. Join in for a sing-along of seasonal favorites and a visit from the Snowman’s friend, Santa. Tickets $16-$25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org ANAT COHEN QUARTET Dec 4 In her first Houston appearance, clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen celebrates the music of The King of Swing. Cohen exploded on the jazz scene with two critically acclaimed records and multiple Downbeat critics’ poll awards. A Jazz Journalists Association Up and Coming Musician of the Year, Cohen has established herself as one of the primary voices of her generation. Tickets $30-$50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com HANDEL’S MESSIAH Dec 10-11 No holiday season is complete without Handel’s Messiah. This season, Mercury Baroque brings you two performances of the masterpiece – a sing-along version on Dec 10 and the rarely performed Dublin version of the Messiah on Dec 11. The Dublin version was the original version of the work, first premiered in Dublin in 1741. Handel frequently revised the piece until 1754, when its most familiar version was established.
HEAR THE BELLS: A HOLIDAY CARD FROM HOUSTON Dec 14 Featuring the Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston, the Bayou City Women’s Chorus, and the Bayou City Chorale. Enjoy a classic holiday concert featuring the Texas Medical Center Orchestra, KIPP SHARP Singers (children’s chorus), United Nations Association International Chorus and other special guests. The program includes Christmas Oratorio by Camille Saint-Saëns and other jewels of the holiday season. Tickets $24-$55. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.521.7464. bayoucityperformingarts.org HANDEL’S MESSIAH IN CANDLELIGHT Dec 17-19 The holidays wouldn’t be the same without a performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Houston Symphony and Chorus and guest soloists. Every year this holiday favorite is refreshed by the interpretation of a new guest conductor. You’ll hear your favorite arias and choruses from For Unto Us A Child Is Born to the majestic Hallelujah Chorus. Enhanced lighting creates an ambiance invoking the candle-lit style of Handel’s 1700s. Tickets $25-$100. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org AMAHL & THE NIGHT VISITORS Dec 18-19 Sandra Organ Dance Company presents the heartwarming story of Amahl, a poor lame shepherd boy who, along with his mother, is visited one night by three wise men seeking lodging during their star-led journey. The magi tell Amahl of the remarkable child they have set out to see. Choreographed by James Sewell, Amahl also includes American Sign Language to tell Amahl’s story and share the themes of hope, healing, and compassion. Tickets $10-$32. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS Dec 21-24 Brilliant, inspiring, glorious, a global phenomenon! Shen Yun Performing Arts is the world’s premier Chinese music company. They have performed to acclaim in more than 100 cities around the world, bringing classical Chinese dance and music to life in a