Love is in the air this February onstage in Houston, but if you’re looking for some feel-good musicals or edgy dramas, our local theater companies have got the perfect show valentines for you, as well.
We’ve got war, peace, families and friends in conflict, and yes the boys (Jersey Boys that is) are back in town. So as winter lingers and you’re wondering how to fill those long (occasionally coolish for Houston) nights, why not head out for a taste of the best of live theater.
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner at A.D. Players (now through February 16)
Debuting the same year of the Supreme Court Loving vs. Virginia decision the 1967 Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy film about a young woman bringing home her doctor fiancé to her liberal San Francisco parents lessoned that, though complicated, love is love is love. A.D. Players newish artistic director, Kevin Dean directs a stellar cast in bringing the story to stage and, while still set in the ’60s, shows the play’s relevance in the 21st century.
Jersey Boys presented by Broadway at the Hobby Center (February 7-9)
A Broadway favorite that always finds a welcoming audience in Houston returns for a very limited run. Go behind the music for the dramatic story of the early days and rise of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in a show that also features all their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “Working My Way Back To You.”
Water by the Spoonful at Stages (February 7-23)
The Pulitzer Prize winning play and second part of playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes’s Elliot trilogy will be the inaugural production for Lester and Sue Smith Stage in the new Gordy facility. In Water, honorably discharged marine Elliot Ortiz finds life back home a difficult adjustment after several tours of duty in Iraq. Stages partners with Main Street Theater and Mildred’s Umbrella to give Houston theater-lovers the rare chance to experience all three installments this winter/spring season.
Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue at Main Street Theater (February 8-March 1)
In the first work of Hudes’s Elliot trilogy, three generations of this Puerto Rican military family find that though the scenery might change, their experiences in the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq Wars are not so different. This extraordinary work about physical and psychological wounds, family, and healing begins the Elliot story.
Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company will produce the third work in the trilogy, The Happiest Song Plays Last, as a staged reading at MST during the first week of March.
Pass Over at Rec Room (February 8-29)
Billed as inspired by both Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and the Book of Exodus, Antoinette Nwandu’s critically acclaimed play was such a hot ticket when it originally debuted in Chicago that Spike Lee filmed a staged production for Amazon Studios. See it live in one of Houston’s most intimate theater spaces.
Peer Gynt from Classical Theatre at DeLuxe Theater (February 12-March 1)
For the first time Classical will incorporate an ancient theatrical device, puppetry, into a production, with this innovative take on Henrik Ibsen’s wandering antihero. After losing their Chelsea Market home, it’s great to see Classical settling into the recently renovated, historical DeLuxe in the Fifth Ward, where they will stage all their productions this season.
Sin Muros Festival at Stages (February 13-16)
Get a glimpse at theater’s future at the third annual Sin Muros (Without Walls) play reading festival. This year’s fest showcases developmental workshop readings of new plays by Texas playwrights Adrienne Dawes, Franky D. Gonzalez, and Frida Espinosa-Muller, along with Cenicienta, the bilingual, Cinderella-themed Theater for Young Audiences. Look also for a town hall on artists choosing Houston to create along with workshops and a poetry tent.
Camp David at Alley Theatre (February 14-March 15)
Pulitzer Prize winning Texas author/playwright Lawrence Wright’s drama chronicles how seemingly impossible peace became real, when President Jimmy Carter brought together Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1978 to create a lasting treaty with the signing of the Camp David Accords. The Tony Award-winning Public Theatre artistic director Oskar Eustis directs this new production of the play, which originally debuted in 2014.
Fefu and Her Friends from Catastrophic Theatre at MATCH (Feburary 14-March 8)
Think of one of those all-women superhero team-ups to take down an evil genius master-villain’s giant robot army — except replace the superheroes with some of Houston’s best women actors and the robot army is the avant grade play from the genius Cuban-American playwright María Irene Fornés. Fefu fractures time and space when telling this story of battling female relationships, just Catastrophic’s fav type of challenge.
Once On This Island presented by Theatre Under the Stars at Hobby Center (February 18-March 1)
After a 50th anniversary season of entirely self-produced shows, in their 51st TUTS goes back to their tradition of bringing in one or two Broadway touring musical a season. The 2018 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical, Once On This Island is certainly an excellent pick to offer Houston audiences. The show follows Ti Moune, a peasant girl in search of her place in the world, but who is willing to risk it all for love. Guided by the mighty island gods, Ti Moune sets out on a remarkable journey to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.