In 1968, Russian composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a protégé of Dmitri Shostakovich, wrote Passazhierka—The Passenger—based on a Polish radio play. Set on an ocean liner sailing from Europe to South America in the years after World War II, the opera depicts a German couple: Walter, a West German diplomat heading for a new posting in Brazil, and his new wife Liese. Unknown to Walter, Liese has a secret; during the war, she worked as an SS guard at Auschwitz, where she oversaw the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews. See our full story here.
Jan 18–Feb 2. $20–290. Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-228-6737. houstongrandopera.com
20th Annual MLK Grande Parade
Houston once more celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with dueling parades, both of which will commence at the same hour in different parts of downtown. The MLK Grande Parade will feature 15 parade floats and 30 marching bands and expects to attract 300,000 spectators.
Jan 20 at 10am. Free. Starts at San Jacinto St. & Elgin St. in Midtown. mlkgrandeparade.org
36th Annual "Original" MLK Parade and Holiday Celebration
Sponsored by the Black Heritage Society, this parade, first held in 1978, will celebrate the placement of a new MLK statue in MacGregor Park. The statue will be officially unveiled on Jan 18 at 4.
Jan 20 at 10am. Free. Starts at Jackson St and Texas Ave. 713-236-1700. originalmlkparade.org
Other Desert Cities
In Jon Robin Baitz’s critically acclaimed 2011 Broadway hit, a family’s attempt to reconcile with an estranged daughter collapses when she reveals that she’s writing a memoir about her childhood. This Alley production marks the regional debut of what the New York Times called “the best new play on Broadway.”
Jan 15–Feb 2. $26–80. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave. 713-220-5700. alleytheatre.org
Into the Woods
This ingenious, whimsical Stephen Sondheim musical, which debuted on Broadway in 1987, takes characters from various fairy tales—Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack (of the Beanstalk)—throws them together, and sees what happens. The somewhat nonsensical plot involves the characters trying to remove a curse placed on them by a wicked witch.
Jan 16–Feb 16. $10. 2540 Times Blvd. 713-558-8887. mainstreettheater.com
Wynonna and the Big Noise
Wynonna Judd has spent her entire life in the public eye, from her early success as the younger half of country duo The Judds, to her long-lived solo career, to her more recent emergence as a memoirist and reality television star. In the end, though, it all comes down to the music, and Wynonna’s made plenty of it: seven studio albums with The Judds, eight solo albums, and many a chart-topping hit along the way. She comes to Houston with her new backup band, The Big Noise.
Jan 17 at 8. $39.50. Arena Theater, 7326 Southwest Fwy. 713-772-5900. arenahouston.com