Based on the band Green Day’s incendiary 2004 album of the same name, this Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of three friends searching for love and meaning in post–9/11 America. With lyrics by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and choreography by Steven Hoggett, the musical has attracted enthusiastic audiences in New York and London, and travels to Houston for three days only.
March 21–23. $35–89. Sarofim Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-315-2400. americanidiotthemusical.com
Beethoven's Mass in C
The great Spanish conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos leads the symphony in the score to Stravinsky’s 1920 ballet Pulcinella, inspired by a stock character from 18th-century commedia dell’arte. Then, he leads the Houston Symphony chorus in Beethoven’s rarely performed Mass in C Major, which was commissioned in 1807 by Prince Nikolaus Esterházy II.
March 21–23. $25–119. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St. 713-224-7575. houstonsymphony.org
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
In 1930s Hollywood, there were few roles available to African American actors, and the ones that were often perpetuated ugly stereotypes—think of the plantation mammy in Gone with the Wind, played by Hattie McDaniel, who won an Oscar for her performance. In this sharply satirical play by Lynn Nottage, Vera Stark, a Hattie McDaniel–like actress, is forced to take similarly degrading roles to get ahead in a bigoted industry.
March 20–April 14. $19–36. 3535 Main St. 713-520-0055. ensemblehouston.org
Founded by Robert Joffrey in 1956, the Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet is one of America’s preeminent dance companies, having performed at the Kennedy White House, appeared on the cover ofTime magazine, and served as the inspiration for Robert Altman’s 2003 film The Company. Its Houston program includes choreographer Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs; Jerome Robbins’s Interplay, set to the music of Morton Gould; and Son of Chamber Symphony, choreographed by the Houston Ballet’s Stanton Welch to the music of John Adams.
March 21 at 8. $23–103. Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-227-4772. spahouston.org
Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux (Last weekend!)
In 1940, four boys were walking with their dog near Dordogne, France, when they stumbled upon an ancient cave. Inside, the walls were covered with prehistoric depictions of animals and humans. Although now closed to visitors, the cave paintings of Lascaux—dubbed the “Sistine Chapel of Prehistory”—have been meticulously reproduced in a set of five exact replicas.
Thru March 23. Mon–Sun 9–5. $20; children, college students, seniors & military $15. Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. 713-639-4629. hmns.org