UPDATE: The 24th Annual TransCanada Theater District Open House has been cancelled due to expected severe weather over the weekend and will not be rescheduled. Many of the participating organizations will honor Open House special ticket offers online and by phone. Visit www.theaterdistrictopenhouse.com for updates and a complete list of ticket offers.
It might still feel like summer, but this Sunday rings in the beginning of the new, cool fall performing arts season with the 24th Annual TransCanada Theater District Open House. Every August, Houston’s Theater District throws the ultimate party to get the city ready for the coming year of world-class dance, music, drama and comedy, and the 2017-2018 season looked to be a spectacular one even before we got word that our favorite hip hop founding father Hamilton would ride into town for an extended stay in 2018.
So let’s head downtown for this free celebration of what's to come.
With a full afternoon of programming in five venues — Jones Hall, the Alley Theatre, Hobby and Wortham Centers, and Revention Music Center — you’re going to need a plan to see everything or perhaps a wandering spirit to see where the art day takes you. Either way, check out our preview of this performance-packed day of sneak peeks into a artful 2017-2018 seaon.
New Programming and Special Performances
From a chance to meet our favorite Houston dancers and actors to Buffalo Bayou boat rides, we love returning for Open House traditions, but every year offers new performances and experiences. Don’t miss these highlights.
- Houston Grand Opera’s community and education arm, HGOco, offers their Storybook Opera program to introduce kids to musical storytelling Brown Alcove, Wortham from 12:15-4 pm.
- Society for the Performing Arts delivers a special performance by Bria Skonberg 2017 Juno Award Winner for Best Vocal Jazz Album at Jones Hall at 1:15 and 2 pm.
- The ever innovative chamber music and jazz concert presenter Da Camera turns 30 this season and to honor their anniversary they will give Houston the glorious present of free Beethoven string quartet cycle series of concerts. The initiative begins during the Open House with the New York Philharmonic String Quartet performing at the Wortham Center’s Cullen Hall at 3 p.m.
- We also never miss the Houston Symphony’s annual free and full orchestra concert at the culmination of the day at 4 pm in Jones Hall, and this year is no different with a diverse masterpiece selection from Beethoven to Mozart to songs from Les Miserables and The Wizard of Oz.
Hands (and Feet) On Interaction
Besides many of the backstage tours that take audiences behind-the-scenes of our great theaters, another of the thrills of the Open House gives us all the chance to get creative and caught up in the artistic action.
The Houston Ballet offers movement mini-classes taught by Houston Ballet Academy instructors in the Wortham’s Cullen Alcove. The Houston Symphony conducts a conducting workshop at 3 pm and lets kids explore their instrument petting zoo at Jones and the Alley plays some theatre interactive games with audiences and after playtime, stick around for face painting.
While both Theatre Under the Stars and Broadway at the Hobby Center give musical previews of their coming big seasons in the Hobby’s Sarofirn Hall, be sure to take a taste of some of the other Uniquely Houston performing arts organizations that bring hometown creativity and beauty to Hobby’s Zilkha Hall, including Wind Sync, HopeStone Dance, Musiq, Noble Motion Dance, Ars Lyrica and Karen Stokes Dance.
Also don’t miss a chance to see the Houston stars and artists of tomorrow as HISD students from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts give vocal, mariachi, instrumental, creative writing and even chalk art spotlight performances throughout the day around the Wortham Center. For kids of all ages, look for eclectic Young Audiences Performances across the venues.
A Very Big Deal
Almost all the Theater District arts organizations are offering special single ticket and subscription package discounts, some as much as 50 percent off. Many of these deal are limited to the Open House weekend or day so don’t miss out on the offers. Check out the full slate of discounts here.