One of the most exciting trends in the performing arts over the past decade has been the increasing presence of opera and theater at the multiplex. Traditionally, if you wanted to see world-class performers you had to spend the time and money to visit a venue like Jones Hall or the Wortham Theater Center. While there's still no substitute for live theater or classical music, the next best thing is probably watching the performance in a state-of-the-art cinema auditorium, especially if you don’t live in a city as blessed with performance spaces as Houston. One of the pioneers of this new distribution model is New York’s Metropolitan Opera, whose Live in HD program beams masterpieces by Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini to 1,700 screens in 50 countries each season. People who have never been to New York and have never seen an opera can now watch La Traviata in the same place they just watched the latest Tom Cruise film. 

Of course, opera is only one of the possibilities offered by new digital distribution technology. The Alamo Drafthouse, never slow to jump on a trend, has teamed up with the Philadelphia-based distribution company SpectiCast to offer Houston an exclusive HD screening of Great Expectations, a new play adapted from the Dickens novel by Jo Clifford and currently winning rave reviews on London’s West End. How often do you get to see a cutting-edge London production from the comfort of your local movie theater? With nachos and a beer (since this is the Alamo, after all)?

Although the play won’t be broadcast live—it was taped on February 7—this is as close as you’ll get to the West End without buying a ticket to Heathrow. Adding to the screening’s interest is the fact that Dickens’s novel, although it has been turned into two films (David Lean’s 1946 adaptation and the Mike Newell version last year), has never been produced on Broadway or the West End, and was generally considered unadaptable for the theater. So come celebrate the 200th anniversary of Dickens’s birth at the Alamo in the company of Miss Havisham, Pip, Magwitch, and the other denizens of what many consider the author’s finest work. 

Great Expectations
Tuesday, April 2 at 7:30
Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park
$7
114 Vintage Park Blvd, Bldg H, Ste J
Houston, TX 77070
713-715-4707
drafthouse.com/houston 

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