Houston symphony performs at miller outdoor theatre photo by kennon evett  2  rpjzyp

The Houston Symphony strikes it up at Miller Outdoor Theatre.

Image: Kennon Evett

Tonight, you have the rare opportunity to witness the combined firepower of Houston's creative community all under one roof—for free. In an evening billed "Houston Strong," seven artistic companies will descend upon Miller Outdoor Theatre as a defiant response to Hurricane Harvey's devastation of the downtown arts district and the city as a whole.

“Not a single theater in Houston’s Theater District was untouched by Harvey’s floodwaters,” said Kathryn McNiel, CEO of Theater District Houston, in a statement. “In the face of this adversity, the resident companies are coming together to celebrate the resilience of the city and its performing arts scene, and to honor community heroes that emerged in the storm.”

McNiel is right about the damage, and all involved companies have mobilized contingency plans: The Alley Theatre was TKO'd, with the company opening its season at UH; the Houston Grand Opera is camping out at George R. Brown; the Houston Ballet debuted Mayerling at the Hobby Center; Da Camera took its season opener down the street to Christ Church Cathedral; SPA canceled or rescheduled its first performances; the Houston Symphony has settled into Rice University. This Houston Strong event at Miller Outdoor Theatre is a clear sign that Houston's arts diaspora is only temporary, and that a hurricane won't put the brakes on the city's creative output.

In some ways, this is take two of the annual Theater District Open House, which was slated during the worst day of the hurricane (and obviously canceled). That event was an all-day affair offering glimpses behind the scenes of many of the same groups and ushering in the fall arts season in earnest. Instead, the companies will all be in one place for a tagteam program featuring seven of the Theater District's resident companies. The ballet will perform George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, the opera will belt selections from the upcoming La Traviata, Da Camera will treat us to Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Theatre Under the Stars will preview bits of The Secret Garden, the Alley Theatre will perform a monologue from August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, SPA will unleash I Wanna Be Ready, the symphony will unleash Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons, and much more. 

Tonight's festivities are yet another way to plug Mayor Sylvester Turner's Hurricane Harvey Relief fund administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Folks will be onsite collecting donations, but if you're just reading this post and won't/can't make it downtown, you can donate online at www.ghcf.org or by texting HARVEY2017 to 91999. So far, the fund has raised nearly $70 million to benefit victims of the historic flooding.

Houston Strong: A Theater District Benefit Honoring Local Heroes. Free. Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr. More info via Facebook.