Every August, Downtown Houston throws one of the biggest performance arts parties of the year at the TC Energy Theater District Houston Open House.
Now in its 26th year, the free day of music, drama, dance, and interactive experiences gives us a chance to preview the phenomenal year of performing arts to come and get a sneak peek at some of the international, national, and local shows that will soon hit the stages of the District.
Sunday, August 25, brings a full afternoon to immerse ourselves in the arts at the Hobby Center, Alley Theatre, Jones Hall, Wortham Center, Revention Music Center, and the plazas and streets in-between, so check out our guide to all the fun.
Get caught up in the action
Let loose your inner artist as many organizations offer hand (and feet) on classes and demonstrations. Take a dance movement or introduction to ballet mini-workshop with the Houston Ballet. Try a new accent with a dialect coach and learn some dramatic fight moves at a stage combat demo, both at the Alley Theatre.
Make your own prop, try on some diva wigs and learn about set design with the Houston Grand Opera. Get up close with the music at the Houston Symphony instrument petting zoo. For those wanting a look behind the scenes, both the Alley Theatre and Jones Hall will over some venue tours.
A peek into the future
See what’s to come for the 2019-2020 seasons, as many of our favorite performing arts institutions entice us with the flavor of their stellar lineups. Houston Grand Opera gives a sneak peek of their world premiere El Milagro del Recuerdo/The Miracle of Remembering opera in the Wortham Center.
At the Hobby Center, meet the cast and creative team from A Chorus Line, the first show of the Theatre Under the Stars 51st season. Also at Hobby, catch the Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center Musical Showcase throughout the day. Da Camera features a performance of the Walter Smith III Jazz Trio, celebrated Houston natives Walter Smith III and Kendrick Scott, along with bass player Larry Grenadier.
The grand finale of the day comes from the Houston Symphony and their free concert, as they give us a taste of their coming classical, pops and family seasons, including Schumann, Berlioz, and the king of film composers, John Williams, with music from the Harry Potter and Star Wars series.
Brave the Houston heat to create, dance, and sing along to some sizzling art in the plazas and street corners. Step into the new sidewalk art installation, Meet on the Hearts, by Joan Dodd, a flowery celebration of art in bloom downtown. Then bring your own vision to the day as you help color Magpies and Peacocks’ Color Me Theater District, a map of the Theater District that features scenes from the exciting upcoming shows of the 2019-2020 season.
Fly Dance Company will perform as their Healthy Hip Hop Squad educates on the body and mind benefits of dance. Take a Bollywood dance class with a BollyX instructor. Meanwhile Young Audiences of Houston will host several workshops and participatory demonstrations with focuses on stage makeup, recycled art and world cultures and art. Nameless Sound’s Creative Music Communities offers more workshops allowing kids of all ages play percussion instruments.
While Open House gives our megastar performing arts organizations plenty of room to shine, we also love that the day spotlights some of Houston’s mid-sized and smaller companies.
Find your new favorite dance, music and theatrical group as they put on their own shows throughout the event. Head to the Hobby Center’s Zilkha Hall to see performances from Ensemble Theatre, Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Noble Motion, Are Lyrica, Virtuosi of Houston, Texas Medical Center Orchestra, Karen Stokes Dance, and Musiqua.
The hottest deals
If you haven’t renewed that subscription and you’re wanting to fill your nights and weekends for the next year with some amazing performing arts, Open House has become the Black Friday of performance art discounts and special offers.
From SPA presenting Jeff Goldblum playing jazz to HGO’s The Magic Flute, to Common with the Houston Symphony to the Houston Ballet’s world premieres and world class dance, to a TUTS-produced new musical based on the George Strait film Pure Country, and the return of Hamilton, the Theatre District is set to deliver an epic year of arts performances, and the Open House is one of the best ways to get your tickets to it all.