Culture Compass

Hand to God—These Are This Season's Can't-Miss Performances

Christian puppets gone rogue head home to Houston, plus 14 other plays, operas and ballets you'll want to book now.

By Jeanne Lyons Davis August 22, 2016 Published in the September 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Hand to GodAlley Theatre

Written by Robert Askin from Cypress, Texas (where it’s also set), this internationally acclaimed 2011 play—described by The New Yorker as “Sesame Street meets The Exorcist”—took Broadway by storm last year. Now the Christian-puppets-gone-rogue come home to Houston. Thru Sept 18.

The Revolutionists: Main Street Theater

Fear these four fiery (and funny!) females—a mix of historical contemporaries including Marie Antoinette, with one fictional character thrown in—as their lives collide during the French Revolution in this masterfully irreverent 2012 comedy. Sept 3–Oct 2.

FencesEncore Theatre

Company founding artistic director Harold J. Haynes directs August Wilson’s 1983 masterpiece—the Pulitzer-winning fifth work in his 10-part Pittsburgh Cycle—about race relations in 1950s America.
Sept 4–27.

Whistle Down the WindQueensbury Theatre

With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Jesus Christ Superstar) and lyrics by Jim Steinman (Total Eclipse of the Heart), this 1996 musical, about a group of kids who find a fugitive in a barn and think he’s Jesus, hits all the right notes. Sept 9–Oct 1.

In the HeightsTUTS

Pre-Hamilton Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway hit, written in 2005, follows a young bodega owner through his NYC neighborhood, interweaving themes of family, education and change. Sept 13–25.

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Mamma Mia! at the Hobby Center

Mamma Mia!: Hobby Center

Here we go again, for the—sniff, sniff—last time. Bid adieu to the award-winning Broadway smash and its catchy, feel-good ABBA ballads when the production’s farewell tour stops in Houston. Oct 6–9.

The Bear & The ProposalClassical Theatre Company at Chelsea Market

These two one-acts by Russia’s Anton Chekhov continue to deliver the 19th-century playwright’s trademark brand of awkward farce, making for one evening, anyway, you’ll be glad you double-booked. Oct 7–23.

De Kus (The Kiss)Stages Repertory Theatre

Company artistic director Kenn McLaughlin takes on Dutch playwright Ger Thijs’s acclaimed 2015 work about a chance encounter between an apprehensive housewife and a disillusioned comedian. What happens next? We won’t kiss and tell. Oct 12–30.

Dry LandMildred’s Umbrella

This powerful 2014 work from Ruby Rae Spiegel, a rising star on the theater scene, explores themes of adolescence and friendship—as well as the hot-button topic of abortion—through the eyes of two high school girls. Oct 20–Nov 5.


The CrucibleUH’s Moores Opera Center

Robert Ward’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 1962 opera, based on Arthur Miller’s classic drama, takes on the Salem witch hunts and, more obliquely, McCarthyism. Oct 21–24.

Elixir of LoveHouston Grand Opera

Yes, it’s sung in Italian, but nothing gets lost in translation in this production of Donizetti’s beloved 1832 opera about a love-struck peasant who suffers a series of comedic calamities. Oct 21–Nov 4.

La BohèmeOpera in the Heights

A clique of starving bohemian artists finds poverty’s silver lining in Giacomo Puccini’s cherished 1896 opera. Nov 11–19.


Madame ButterflyHouston Ballet

Company artistic director Stanton Welch’s first full-length ballet, choreographed in 1995, artfully captures the classic story of a geisha who gives up everything to marry an American naval lieutenant. Sept 22–Oct 2.

David Parsons DanceSociety of Performing Arts

The legendary contemporary-dance company from NYC takes center stage at the Wortham Center for an evening of high-energy, show-stopping choreography. (So you thought you could dance?) Sept 23.

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