best february theater
12 best February shows no Houston theater fan should miss, from Chicago to Moulin Rouge
Theatrical Love is the air this February in all of its dramatic, comic, and tragic forms. From family love to doomed couples to happily ever afters, Houston stages have the perfect Valentines for everyone.
Not in the mood for love? Look for topical stories, timely issues, and lots of music this month — some by local stars.
Chicago from Theatre Under the Stars (now through February 12)
The hits keep on coming at the Hobby Center, as the merry murderess, the Cook County Jail, and their totally honest lawyer are back to "Razzle Dazzle" once more in the classic jazz-age story of fame, law, media, and PR that remains especially timely even today.
One of two shows of the TUTS season that they'll present instead of produce, this latest Chicago tour corresponds with the 25-year anniversary of the celebrated and Tony-winning, late-'90s revival that brought us all that jazz and rewrote the book on what a revival can be — without actually rewriting the book.
Keep an eye out for local singing sensation Christina Wells. The Houston breakout star of America's Got Talent plays the favorite role of Matron "Mama" Morton in the TUTS production. (Read our interview with Wells here.)
Every Brilliant Thing at A.D. Players (now through February 19)
How to measure a life? How about in those moments of brightness amid the darkness? Go beyond the confines of a one-person show as the audience helps this narrator tell a story of the bonds between mother and child in a family struggling with depression.
Here, a narrator recounts how his mother first attempted suicide when he was 7 years old, so he begins writing a list of everything brilliant about the world. With a dynamic structure that asks the audience help create the story without leaving their seats, the show sends a message of hope during through the most difficult life challenges.
Though tackling very serious topics of mental health, depression, and suicide, Every Brilliant Thing holds joy and humor at its core.
A Number at Rec Room (now through February 25)
Sci-Fi meets intimate theater in this look at fatherhood in a world of genetic experiments and cloning. One of Houston’s favorite actor-turned-directors — the Alley’s James Black — directs the always superb (and Alley resident actor) Shawn Hamilton and next-gen actor/writer Philip Kershaw in this Caryl Churchill play.
The play proves a twister about identity, family bonds and scientific second chances that come with hefty emotional prices. Every parent makes mistakes. Salter makes a number of them. Now 35 years later, his only child realizes he's not alone and perhaps not so unique.
Red Speedo from On the Verge Theatre (now through February 26)
This one takes the most original staging award for the month, as this Lucas Hnath play about competitive swimming will be performed around a real pool, specifically at Houston’s Gigglin’ Marlin Dive & Swim.
The story follows swimmer Ray to Olympic tryouts and the possible endorsement deal it entails until performing enhancing drugs are found at his training site.
While we don’t think the audience will get wet, this will certainly be the most dramatically immersive experience for the month.
Almost Maine at MATCH (February 8-12)
Some of our favorite local actors and director Frances Limoncelli bring back the Actors Equity Festival with probably the most diverse set of love stories for Valentine’s Day. In this limited-run, feel-good romantic comedy by John Cariani, the Northern Lights cast a romantic spell in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine.
Almost's residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal and the hearts are mended--almost--in this delightful midwinter night's dream.
Eddie Goes to Poetry City from Catastrophic Theatre (February 10-March 4)
Houston’s most avant garde company keeps it weird with this mind-melter from one of the pioneers of late-20th-century experimental theater, Richard Foreman.
Director and Catastrophic core-artist Greg Dean takes us down to Poetry City where language melts and effect sometimes arrives before cause. Our hero, Eddie dreams of life beyond the mundane, but when dreams bring him to Poetry City he may find struggles and failures have their own poetry.
Cullud Wattah at Stages (February 10-March 31)
Speak this title aloud for the emotional gut-punch in this very timely, topical, and Smith Blackburn Prize winning Afro-surrealist work from playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza.
With a story that follows three generations of Black women living through the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, this Stages production will be one of the first after the show’s acclaimed debut in New York. It’s been 936 days since Flint has had clean water. Marion, a third-generation General Motors employee, is consumed by layoffs at the engine plant.
When her sister, Ainee, seeks justice and restitution for lead poisoning, her plan reveals the toxic entanglements between the city and its most powerful industry, forcing their family to confront the past-present-future cost of survival.
Permanent Collection at Main Street Theater (February 11-March 5)
Main Street opens the second half of their '22-'23 season with the most timely of issues with this story of an African-American businessman Sterling North taking the directorship of a world-famous art collection.
When North proposes to change the permanent collection display by adding eight pieces of African art from storage, a battle ensues with the long-time education director who is devoted to protecting Morris’ vision.
Spurred on by a zealous local journalist, the clash quickly escalates to public accusations of racism and a bitter struggle for control of the collection.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical from Broadway at the Hobby Center (February 22-March 12)
Broadway can-can-cans its way into Houston in a blaze of color and music favorites reimagined in this stage version of the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film.
The production follows a tale about the doomed love (isn’t it always) between an artist — in this case composer — Christian and showgirl — in this case cabaret star — Satine. But perhaps the real star of the show is the setting itself: 1880s Paris club culture along with a songs from the original film and its new versions of classics like “Your Song” and “Nature Boy.
This Broadway jukebox musical Moulin kicks the medleys and mashups to new heights. Let’s see how many of the almost 20 songs we can recognize in just the “Elephant Love Medley.”
Romeo & Juliet from Houston Ballet (February 23-March 5)
The Houston Ballet wraps up our month of love with G.O.A.T. of tragic love stories, as HB artistic director, Stanton Welch melds his extraordinary choreography with Shakespeare’s story and Sergey Prokofiev’s music.
Welch’s interpretation of this immortal story of young love pulled apart by family strive pays tribute to Italian Renaissance with classic themes and fresh choreography danced to Prokofiev’s romantic score.
Expect lavish sets and costumes by acclaimed Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno.
The Best of Broadway with Jeremy Jordan from the Houston Symphony (February 24-26)
Yes, this concert is more theater-adjacent, but these Broadway melodies call to us.
Tony and Grammy-nominated Broadway star Jeremy Jordan returns to Houston and to the Houston Symphony’s pops lineup and the Jones Hall stage by popular demand to perform hit songs from his signature Broadway roles in Newsies! and Waitress, plus selections from fan-favorite musicals like West Side Story, Carousel, Oklahoma!, Rock of Ages, Les Misérables, and more in a decades-spanning journey through Broadway’s greatest hits.
Principal POPS Conductor of the Houston Symphony, Steven Reineke, conducts.
New/Now: The Houston Artist Commissioning Project from Performing Arts Houston (February 24-25)
This show offers up everything from a new variation on Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations complete with musicians’ brain scans to a musical pantomime with narration retelling of a South Asian romantic folktale. Look for new music sung in Angola’s native language Kimbundu and a music and dance exploration of U.S. and Mexico border migration.
Truly, an evening of performances doesn’t get much more diverse and intriguing and Houston than this. For PAH’s annual initiative to give Houston artists a large Theater District stage and perhaps something of a bridge to the rest of the world, they’ve chosen performance projects with strong music foundations, though most will be multidisciplinary.
As the title suggests, the show promises new, now, and plenty of wow from composer and author Anthony Brandt; playwright and poet, Tazeen Zahida; singer-songwriter and dancer, Vivalda Ndula, and composer and cinematographer, J.E. Hernández, all of whom are Houstonians.