best February Theater
9 best February Houston theater shows soar with high-flying comedy and action
No winter blues this month, with Houston theater here to offer cheer — as almost everything on our February must-see list is a comedy.
Even the most moving dramas offer scenes of levity this month. From complex comic mother/daughter relationships, to wickedly funny step siblings en pointe, from one sharp-witted legendary governor to an annoying nerd, basketball fan friendships to community theater evil antics, Houston theater has a dose of comedy to chase those blues away.
Here are our February faves,
Ann from Garden Theatre (now through February 11)
Screen and stage star Holland Taylor wrote and originated this layered portrayal of the late, great former Texas governor Ann Richards. Taylor premiered it in Texas and took it all the way to Broadway and beyond.
Over the years, Texas regional theaters have brought it home again and again for local audiences who can’t get enough of this look at Ann during and after her time as governor.
Now, Garden Theatre brings Ann to the MATCH with Garden regular, Nora Hahn taking the role. Fun stage trivia: Hahn has experience playing Texas governors, as she previously played Ma Ferguson in The Garden Theatre's production of Bonnie & Clyde.
26 Miles at Main Street Theater (now through March 3)
Main Street has created some great performances with Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Alegría Hudes, so we’re looking forward to this story of an estranged mother and daughter’s roadtrip through the west and their own relationship:
“The mother’s skin is brown; the teenage daughter’s skin is white. So what if reality’s nipping at their heels? This reunited pair runs frantically and hilariously from the secrets in their lives, hunting valuable antiques, chasing arctic explorers, getting lost in Wyoming’s wilderness – and finding their way again as mother and daughter.”
And, Main Street tech designers are building an onstage car sturdy enough to hold all this mother/daughter dramatic hijinks.
The House from Houston Contemporary Dance Company (February 8-10)
We can’t pass up an immersive dance performance, especially when it tells an extraordinary story, or in this case, two.
Former Houston Ballet soloist and now, rising choreographer, Nao Kusuzaki, created this dance work which explores the juxtaposition of Houston native, Barbra Jordan, and acclaimed author, Harper Lee. Set in one of the guest houses at the historic Heights Ironworks, The House calls to audiences to become part of an intimate gathering, immersed in the atmosphere of the guest house, where the two special guests are staying.
As the audience explores, they’ll find each room holds its own secrets and stories.
It Is Magic from Catastrophic Theatre (February 9-March 2)
Catastrophic had us with the phrase “ancient evil at the heart of the community theater audition process,” when describing this latest play by Mickle Maher, playwright and old friend. (Maher has penned some of Catastrophic’s most riveting and sometimes hilarious shows over the company’s history.)
This magically bizarre story involves one community playhouse and two very different shows: an adult adaptation of The Three Little Pigs, and a mysterious production of the Scottish play.
Directed by Catastrophic core artist Jeff Miller and featuring company regulars Amy Bruce, Tamarie Cooper, Dillon Dewitt, Luis Galindo, and Courtney Lomelo, this crew has certainly wrestled with that ancient evil audition process before. We can’t wait to see it onstage.
Cirque du Soleil’s high-flying Corteo returns this month. Photo by Maja Prgomet
Laughs in Spanish at Stages (February 16-March 17)
Art crime gets a funny and family-oriented take in this new, hot play by Alexis Scheer.
Set at the Miami mega art festival Art Basel, Laughs in Spanish tells the story of gallery manager Mariana the morning after all the paints from a big opening exhibition disappear from the gallery walls. The gallery intern and her police officer boyfriend might be there to help, or not, while the entrance of Mariana’s movie star mother and a gallery-load of mommy issues will definitely complicate matters.
Billed as joyous snapshot of Cuban and Colombian-American culture set in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, we also hear we should expect some creative swearing in English and Spanish.
Cinderella from Houston Ballet (February 22-March 3)
In celebration of Stanton Welch’s 20th anniversary as HB artistic director and likely because it’s such an audience favorite, the company brings back Welch’s fiery fairytale heroine for a spectacular ball of a show.
This spunky Cinderella makes her own magic and seizes her destiny when standing up to her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Set to Prokofiev’s classic score with spectacular set and costume design by Kristian Frederickson, Welch’s unique spin on this classic brings the work into modern times, with a twist to suit the 21st century.
For bit of behind the scenes, dancers helping dancers, on point news, we heard that when Performing Arts Houston presented the all-male Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (the Trocks) last month, Trocks’ Ballet Master Raffaele Mora led a pointe masterclass to HB company dancers who will be performing the roles of stepmother and stepsisters.
With that, we’re head over heels in anticipation to see these wicked sisters in action.
The Nerd at Alley Theatre (February 23-March 17)
We’ve only just gotten over the Alley’s superb production of Pictures From Home that had us laughing through many tears, as the company (prat) falls into one of the fluffiest comedies from the ’80s.
An audience favorite for decades, the comedy chronicles three friends attempts to rid themselves of an uninvited, and spectacularly annoying guest. The misunderstandings, misadventures, and mistaken identities pile up quickly in playwright Larry Shue’s story, set in a time before nerds rule the world — and before cell phones and social media gave us quick identity checks.
The Alley’s associate producer, Brandon Weinbrenner, who also directed the precisely comic timed Clue two years ago, helms a cast of Alley company members and regular favorites.
King James at Rec Room (February 23-March 16)
The one theater company in town on a yearly schedule, Rec Room begins its 2024 season with this Rajiv Joseph play, which just had its New York run last year.
Though he’s not an actual character in the play, the title refers to LeBron James, and the story becomes a witty and dramatic meditation on male friendship forged through sports fandom — in this case, basketball.
Set in Cleveland in the early 2000s, a writer who needs Cleveland Cavaliers tickets meets a bartender with tickets to sell. From there, a friendship grows over the years, somewhat defined by the highs and lows of the Cavaliers seasons. Over a 10-year span, being a basketball fan ties the men together, and becomes a means to articulate everything they would otherwise be unable to express about their lives.
Spring tends to bring a new or old favorite Cirque show to Houston, and this year is no different, as after eight years, Corteo returns to clown around at Toyota Center.
The Italian word Corteo means a joyous procession or festive parade, and in this story, a clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by beautiful caring angels. As always, the Cirque artists will delight audiences of all ages with music, comedy and aerial drama while defying every law of physics.
The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat — all to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy, and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.