On The Town

Houston Winter Arts Guide: Where to Go and What to See

A guide to all things arts and entertainment this winter.

By Chris Gray Published in the Winter 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Dance Theatre of Harlem at Jones Hall, Feb 3–4. Image: Claire McAdams.

Jump to Your Genre:

Theater / Dance / Opera / Visual Art / Live Music

The lure of the couch is strong this time of year, but what a world awaits you if you venture out into the local arts scene! Take a look below to see the best of Houston's upcoming theater, dance, opera, visual art, live music, and comedy events.



THRU December 24 | Alley Theatre, $55

El Paso-bred playwright Isaac Gómez’s take on A Christmas Carol introduces Margot, an overnight drive-thru worker whose issues with an annoying robotic Santa take a back seat when her spliff-smoking deceased best friend, Jackie Marley, pays her a Christmas Eve visit.


January 31 thru February 12 | Hobby Center, from $40

Presented by Theatre Under the Stars, Kander and Ebb’s 1975 musical is a bait-and-switch for the ages: a tour de force of vaudevillian razzle-dazzle that disguises a savvy satire of judicial and media corruption. Still scalpel-sharp after nearly 50 years. 

Paradise Blue

January 26 thru February 26 | Ensemble Theatre, from $29

In Dominique Morisseau’s noirish 2015 drama, trouble has come to Detroit’s changing Black Bottom neighborhood. It’s 1949, and trumpeter Blue ponders selling his tattered jazz club, but his waitress girlfriend and house band would rather stay. Things come to a head when a mysterious, seductive stranger arrives. 

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

January 29 thru February 19 | MATCH, from $18

After learning he is Poseidon’s son, unassuming adolescent Jackson must avert a war on Olympus in Joe Tracz and Rob Rokicki’s musical adaptation of Rick Riordan’s popular 2005 novel. With a very School of Rock sounding score, one critic called it "Hadestown for kids." 



Dance Theatre of Harlem

FebRUARY 3–4 | Jones Hall, from $34

Founded in 1969, the New York-based company has long been on the front lines of expanding diversity and inclusivity in ballet. Its 2023 tour features William Forsythe's challenging “Blake Works IV (The Barre Project)” and “Higher Ground,” which resident choreographer Robert Garland designed around the 1973 Stevie Wonder hit.

Dance Theatre of Harlem at Jones Hall, Feb 3–4.




JanUARY 27 THRU FebRUARY 10 | Wortham Theater Center, from $20

A young poet, played by leading international tenor Matthew Polenzani, becomes the picture of unrequited love in Jules Massenet’s tragic 1892 opera based on Goethe’s landmark of Romanic-era literature. Houston Grand Opera’s lavish production is the first in 40 years and is led by a pair of HGO first-timers in director Benoît Jacquot and conductor Robert Spano. 

Visual Art

Monira Al Qadiri: Refined Vision

Thru JanUARY 8 | Blaffer Art Museum, free

Fueled by her homeland’s rapid transformation into one of the world’s leading petrostates, the Berlin-based Kuwaiti artist has created four major works in different mediums: glass, video, kinetic sculpture, and an interactive installation, that each reflect the manifold ways oil permeates modern society, a subject of obvious interest in these parts.

Onus, by Monira Al Qadiri, 2022, Glass.


Samuel Fosso: African Spirits

Thru JanUARY 15 | Menil Collection, free

A professional photographer since age 13, Fosso—a Cameroonian-born Nigerian now living in the Central African Republic—has created a series of self-portraits that style him as well-known civil rights-era Black leaders in historically significant images: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mug shot from the Montgomery, AL, jail, for example, or Muhammad Ali on the cover of Esquire.


Thru FebRUARY 26 | Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, free

Combining photography, video, and even elements of theater, this short film, set in Warsaw, Poland, loosely follows an orphaned Vietnamese child who grows up to be absorbed into a South Korean pop-inspired dance group. Widely popular within a Polish youth subculture, K-pop is used by the artist to trace a relationship between Eastern Europe and Asia with roots in Cold War allegiances. 


Riots & Scandals Festival

JanUARY 13–15, 20–22 | Jones Hall, from $29

New Houston Symphony music director, Juraj Valčuha, revisits 20th-century classical works that caused considerable consternation in their day, beginning with Béla Bartók’s 1926 ballet The Miraculous Mandarin. The following weekend brings Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, whose visceral throb is still pretty pulse-quickening.

Mass For the Endangered

FebRUARY 4, 7:30pm | St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, $40

Houston Chamber Choir and young instrumental group, Loop38, combine to present rising New Jersey-based composer Sarah Kirkland Snider’s environmentally conscious twist on the traditional Catholic mass, described as “a celebration, and an elegy, for the natural world.” 

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

FebRUARY 14, 7:30pm | Toyota Center, flexible pricing

Be prepared to part with a paycheck or two as the American rock and roll institution—whose songwriting only seems to grow sharper and deeper with age—returns to Houston after an eight-year absence. The Boss may be pushing 75, but the tent-revival fervor at his marathon concerts is as stout as ever. 

Craig Robinson at Improv Houston, Jan 26–29.


Craig Robinson

JanUARY 26–29 | Improv Houston, from $90

The Pizza Hut pitchman still best known for his role as the cuddly but cunning warehouse supervisor, Darryl, in The Office, is also a veteran comedian and talented musician who enlivens his shows with smooth jams like “Let’s Get Sexy Again” and “Take Yo Panties Off.”


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