On The Town

Houston Summer Arts Guide

A guide to all things arts and entertainment this summer.

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

Hugh Hayden: Boogey Men pictured at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami will be at Blaffer Art Museum, June 10-August 21. Image: Zachary Balber.

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Theater / Dance / Visual Art / Live Music
Comedy / FilmEvents


Houston summers are notoriously scorching hot, but that shouldn’t hinder your plans for the season. Thankfully, the city is packed with exciting events to get your mind off the heat. Watch the broadway version of Mean Girls at the Hobby Center and relive all the hilarious quotes, or attend the free Rainbow on the Green event to celebrate Houston’s LGBTQ+ community. Purchase tickets early to attend the Leon Bridges concert at the White Oak Music Hall in August, or watch the classic film The Breakfast Club at Market Square Park.

Whether you beat the heat with an indoor show or enjoy summer nights out at Discovery Green, we’ve put together a list of the hottest entertainment happenings in Houston. Start planning your summer with the list below:


Theater

Noir

June 2-July 3 | Alley Theatre, from $33

From the creators of Spring Awakening and The SpongeBob Musical comes this world-premiere musical homage to the era of femmes fatales and hapless saps, as a sad sack soothes his broken heart by spying on the couple next door. Knowledge of classic film noir not necessary to guess how this all plays out, but it’ll certainly help.

Mean Girls

August 16-21 | Broadway at the Hobby Center, from $40

Tina Fey adapted her highly quotable script for the 2004 film starring Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams into this fetching musical, which turns a suburban high school into a battlefield between a winsome homeschooled outsider and the viciously on-trend clique known as the Plastics. Fey’s husband, 30 Rock composer Jeff Richmond, wrote the music.

Dance 

Originals at Houston Ballet, June 2-12.

Originals

June 2-12 | Houston Ballet at Wortham Theater Center, from $25

Longtime principals turn choreographers when the Houston Ballet rolls out a pair of world premieres created by Melody Mennite and Connor Walsh, two pieces from longtime artistic director Stanton Welch: “Orange,” a collaboration with Dance Theatre of Harlem, and an all-hands presentation of Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”

Proceed

June 17, 8:30pm | Miller Outdoor Theatre, free

Houston Contemporary Dance Company reflects on its past three seasons by revisiting some of its most memorable dances and premiering a work by Harlem-based choreographer Ja’ Malik; also on tap are an appearance by second company Houston Contemporary 2 and a collaboration with quirky local indie-pop act Say Girl Say. 

Visual Art

Hugh Hayden: Boogey Men

June 10-August 21 | Blaffer Art Museum, free

Evoking cartoonish ghosts and a Klansman’s hood, a police car covered by a white sheet forms the centerpiece of this exhibition by the New York-based Dallas native, who elsewhere explores his Gulf Coast roots through the bald cypress sculpture Nude and cooking/musical installation Soul Food.

Leandro Erlich: Seeing Is Not Believing

June 26-September 5 | Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, $19 (nonmembers)

A former resident at MFAH’s Glassell School of Art, the Argentinian conceptualist delights in messing with peoples’ heads through staircases that seem to go nowhere, for example, or a swimming pool depicting different sets of people above and below the water. This homecoming exhibition features Erlich’s famous room-size installations Bâtiment (Façade) and Le cabinet du psy (The Psychoanalyst’s Office).  

Live Music

Mandy Moore

July 7, 7pm | Heights Theater, from $48

The Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated star of NBC’s This Is Us began as a prototypical early ’00s teen pop singer, but the recent album Silver Landings and her upcoming album In Real Life locate her in a much different musical orbit, that of latter-day L.A. folk-rockers Dawes, whose frontman Taylor Goldsmith Moore married in 2018.

Leon Bridges comes to White Oak Music Hall Aug. 3.

Image: Ben Houdijk

Leon Bridges

August 3, 6pm | White Oak Music Hall, $69.50

The dynamic Fort Worth-reared soul singer now has plenty of distance from the Sam Cooke-throwback accolades that greeted his debut LP, 2015’s Coming Home. He’s since cut a pair of EPs with Houston psych-funk trio Khruangbin, and his latest LP Gold-Diggers Sound continues modernizing his sound without sacrificing that original spark of authenticity.

Swedish House Mafia

August 27, 7pm | Toyota Center, from $39.50

The trio of superstar DJs — Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso, responsible for countless club anthems and frenzied festival crowds — bring their first proper international tour in a decade to Houston. It comes on the heels of their first full-length album, well, ever: Paradise Again, whose abundant guest stars include A$AP Rocky, Ty Dolla Sign, Sting, and The Weeknd. 

 

Comedy

Sarah Sherman

July 28, 8pm | The Secret Group, from $25

Now best known for roasting “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost without mercy on SNL, the mulleted comedian, also known as Sarah Squirm, tickles audiences’ gag reflexes as often as their funny bones, hatching elaborate gross-out scenarios that double as feminist rejoinders to toxic masculinity and body-shaming, to name a few of the Long Island native’s twisted specialties.

 

Film

Cabaret

July 17, 20 | Various, from $13.53

Director Bob Fosse’s cynical, high-camp adaptation of Kander and Ebb’s 1966 musical won eight Oscars, including best actress for Liza Minelli as a hedonistic ingenue in 1931 Berlin who joins with other denizens of the Kit Kat Klub — including fellow Oscar winner Joel Grey — to willfully shut out the looming Nazi menace.

The Breakfast Club

August 5, 8pm | Market Square Park, free

Reluctantly introspective teens and slamming New Wave tunes proved an irresistible formula for writer-director John Hughes’s generation-molding 1985 classic starring members of Hollywood’s so-called Brat Pack — Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, et al. — at the peak of their smoldering, pouty powers.

Events

Wonka!

June 10, 8:30pm | Miller Outdoor Theatre, free

The search for the Golden Ticket meets a cornucopia of modern dance styles in Open Dance Project’s high-flying interpretation of Roald Dahl’s children’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Keep your eyes peeled for a tap-dancing Mr. Bucket, breakdancing Oompa Loompas, and the silk-climbing young aerialists of “Chocolate River.” 

Rainbow on the Green

June 24, 7pm | Discovery Green, free

The Texas state government’s ongoing war on trans adolescents injects a political charge into Discovery Green’s annual LGBTQ+ celebration. Families of said youths will be honored, while America’s Got Talent powerhouse Christina Wells and San Francisco “Dragapella” quartet the Kinsey Sicks kick the party into high gear.

Rhyme & Reason: A Celebration of Black History

July 12, 11am | Miller Outdoor Theatre, free

Express Children’s Theatre and two recent Houston poets laureate, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton and Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean, incorporate music, dance, and performance poetry into a tapestry of Black history spanning from ancient Africa to present-day Houston. 

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