Fall Arts Guide 2022

Get Tickets Now: Houston's Upcoming Performances Look Spectacular

The upcoming 2022–23 Houston performing arts season shares stories as diverse as the city.

By Holly Beretto Published in the Fall 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine

We all know Houston wears its world heritage and diverse cultural backgrounds on its sleeve. That’s why this season’s performing arts lineup is so exciting. While Houston has always had performing arts organizations that have showcased stories, music, and dance from around the globe, this season has much more happening across multiple organizations.

It’s not only The Ensemble Theatre sharing plays by African American writers celebrating the African American experience; it’s also Main Street Theater and the Alley. Houston Grand Opera is launching the first full production of an early 20th-century opera composed by a woman. Stages has a world premiere (in collaboration with Houston Ballet) about a Black artist who rose to the top of her profession.

For lovers of the arts, it promises a season of surprises, new works, and new voices. 

More features from our Fall Arts Guide:

Joy and Adventure

Alley Theatre

Alley Theatre artistic director Rob Melrose promises “joy, adventure, and the hero’s (or often, heroine’s) journey” this season. One of the country’s most-respected theatrical organizations, the Alley has dedicated itself to presenting stories that reflect the rich diversity of our city. Several shows in its season lineup explore those ideas, including Cambodian Rock Band (Jan 20–Feb 12, 2023), which Melrose calls “a touching and funny father-daughter story that leads to a gripping investigation into Cambodia’s past that hits you in the gut,” and Torera (May 12–June 4, 2023), about a young girl in the Yucatán who dreams of becoming a bullfighter. 

The company’s holiday lineup includes Isaac Gómez’s What-A-Christmas (Dec 2–24), a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol. Workshopped at the Alley, it’s set in a Texas burger joint, featuring Alley favorite Briana Resa as the Scrooge-like main character who is too busy for Christmas. For Christmas Carol purists, Melrose offers a new staging of the classic (Nov 18–Dec 30), which, he says, incorporates the “witty narration of Dickens’s original novella and is full of traditional Christmas carols in beautiful a cappella arrangements.” 

Powerful Protagonists

Houston Grand Opera

HGO has long been a leader in launching new productions (more than 70 and counting) and offering new interpretations of canonical favorites. Among its 2022–23 selections is The Wreckers (Oct 28–Nov 11), in the first-ever full staging of this opera by Dame Ethel Smyth. Khori Dastoor, HGO’s newly appointed general director and CEO, calls it “an absolute must-see.” The company will also present a return staging of El Milagro del Recuerdo, a mariachi opera (Dec 8–18) that tells a story about family and faith. 

“Our goal at HGO is to share operas that mirror the lives of our diverse population,” Dastoor explains of El Milagro. “We are excited to welcome back the majority of the original cast, made up of Houstonians, from the opera’s world premiere.”

Mixing It Up

Main Street Theater

Over the past couple of years, Main Street Theater has aspired to bring more diversity to its stage through color-blind casting and a series of performances that offer different viewpoints. “We’ve broadened our range,” says artistic executive director Rebecca Udden. For its 2022–23 season, the company presents the regional premiere of Trouble in Mind (Sept 17–Oct 16), about a Black actress who struggles to achieve all she’s wanted in her career without compromising her principles, and Permanent Collection (Feb 11–March 5, 2023), which sees a newly appointed museum director at odds with the organization’s educational director over the display of significant African art. In The Oldest Boy (April 1–23, 2023), another regional premiere, parents grapple with whether their son is the next Buddhist lama and whether to send him away for training.

Scrambled (Sept 16–18), a one-woman show written and performed by award-winning Israeli artist Rotem Nachmany.

Celebrating Women

Mildred’s Umbrella

Jennifer Decker, artistic director for Mildred’s Umbrella, began her theater company with a single mission: to promote the work of women artists. The 2022–23 season brings two offerings. In the fall, Scrambled (Sept 16–18), a one-woman show written and performed by award-winning Israeli artist Rotem Nachmany, examines a woman’s desire to conceive and all of the complicated feelings that come with it. The spring sees a world premiere by Houston writer, educator, and actor Elizabeth A.M. Keel: Tooth and Tail (May 4–13, 2023) explores the importance of female friendship and empowerment. The world premiere is also Mildred’s Umbrella’s first family-friendly show.

“While traditional adventure stories have generally had male characters as heroes and villains, ours has female ones,” says Decker. “It is also written
by a local playwright, so we’re getting to support a woman in our community.”

Soul and Soulful Stories

Stages

Stages’ 2022–23 season brings a variety of voices to the stage. The third show in the season spotlights ballet dancer Lauren Anderson, whose trailblazing story is the subject of Plumshuga (Oct 7–Nov 13). It’s as much a celebration of Houston as it is of Anderson herself, who is the first dancer of color to achieve principal status with the Houston Ballet. This world premiere, with music by Jasmine Barnes and lyrics by Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton (who also wrote the book) and featuring dancers from the Houston Ballet and original choreography by that company’s artistic director, Stanton Welch, tells the story of Anderson's rise and her triumph in accepting her authentic self. “I am especially proud to uplift what she has meant to Black girls and women for generations,” says Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin, “and to do so in partnership with the Houston Ballet is thrilling.” Also on the calendar: Roe (Jan 20–March 5, 2023), exploring the human stories behind the Roe v. Wade decision; cullud water (Feb 16–April 2, 2023), following three generations of Black women living in Flint, Michigan, during the city’s water crisis; the return of Stages’ Sin Muros Latinx theater festival (March 25–28, 2023); and Thunder Knocking on the Door (June 16–Aug 6, 2023), a musical about an Alabama family that gets a visit from a mysterious stranger, featuring music by Keb’ Mo’ and Anthony Edward. 

Other Season Highlights

4th Wall Theatre Company The Houston premiere of Sanctuary City (March 23–April 15, 2023) is the story of two DREAMers, lifelong friends trying to build a life in the US, the only homeland they’ve ever known. 4thwalltheatreco.com

A.D. Players Tony Award–nominated director Sheldon Epps directs the pre-Broadway premiere of Miss Maude (Sept 21–Oct 23), based on the real-life friendship between a Life magazine photographer and a South Carolina midwife. Every Brilliant Thing (Feb 1–19, 2023) gives a heartbreaking and heartwarming look at the issue of depression. adplayers.org

Broadway at the Hobby Center The national tour of Hadestown, the Tony Award–winning musical that blends the story of Orpheus and Eurydice with that of King Hades and his wife, Persephone, rolls into town Oct 4–9. Six, a Spice Girls–esque reimagining of King Henry VIII’s six wives, takes the stage here Nov 8–20. houston.broadway.com

Classical Theatre Company The troupe’s 15th season features the Houston premiere of Pierre de Beaumarchais’s The Marriage of Figaro (Nov 10–26), part of its “season of laughs,” which also offers The School for Scandal (Jan 12–28, 2023) and The Circle (March 30–April 15, 2023). classicaltheatre.org

DACAMERA Grammy Award–winning New Orleans pianist Sullivan Fortner offers his stamp on standards and original compositions in The Art of Improvisation (Dec 5–6). Alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón Kendrick performs on Jan 21,
2023, and Cecile McLorin Salvant, whom Rolling Stone called “the most acclaimed jazz vocalist on the planet right now,” is on stage on Feb 10, 2023. Kendrick Scott’s Unearthed (May 12, 2023) immortalizes the Sugar Land 95 in a production incorporating original music, visuals, and poetry. dacamera.com

Dirt Dogs Theatre Coyote on a Fence (Oct 21–Nov 5) is the story of two convicts, one a member of the Aryan Nation on death row, the other the editor of the prison newspaper. Inspired by true events, it reflects on what it means to be redeemed. dirtdogstheatre.org

The Ensemble Theatre Dominique Morisseau’s Paradise Blue (Jan 26–Feb 26, 2023) explores gentrification’s contribution to the erasure of Black history. Clyde’s (March 23-April 16, 2023) finds a group of ex-cons working in a sandwich shop as they seek redemption and encounter roadblocks. ensemblehouston.com

Houston Ballet Good Vibrations (Sept 22–Oct 2) is a mixed repertory performance featuring the world premiere of the title piece by internationally renowned choreographer Arthur Pita, set to music inspired by the Beach Boys. houstonballet.org

Houston Symphony It’s the first season for new music director Juraj Valčuha. He’ll step to the podium on several concerts throughout the season, including for Verdi’s Requiem on his inaugural weekend (Sept 16–18), for violinist Itzhak Perlman playing Beethoven (Oct 20, 22 & 23), for the Riots & Scandals Festival (Jan 13–15 and Jan 20–22, 2023), and for Stravinsky’s opera Oedipus Rex (May 19–20, 2023), featuring opera superstars Sean Panikkar and Michelle DeYoung and the Houston Symphony Men’s Chorus. houstonsymphony.org

Mercury Chamber Orchestra Klezmer Night! (April 27–30, 2023) sees the orchestra performing with clarinetist Airat Ichmouratov at several venues around Houston, bringing the joy and culture of Eastern Europe’s klezmer tradition to the Bayou City. mercuryhouston.org

Performing Arts Houston (formerly Society for the Performing Arts) Be the first to see world premieres from Houston artists in New/Now (Feb 24–25, 2023), Performing Arts Houston’s project to create new works and support local artists. performingartshouston.org

Rec Room Arts The Houston premiere of Ike Holter’s Put Your House in Order (Oct 20–Nov 12) explores what happens when a first date gets a bit out of control, pitting the protagonists in a battle with an invading force. recroomarts.org

ROCO Fortune (Nov 12) features two ROCO world premiere commissions: William Bolcom’s Dedication and the sun begins to fade by Judah Adashi. The rest of the season features several other new commissions. roco.org

TUTS kicks off its season with Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Sept 20–Oct 2), celebrating the music of the incomparable Fats Waller and the lasting impact of the Harlem Renaissance. tuts.com 

Share
Show Comments