HOUSTON (March 29, 2019) – Houston’s leading multidisciplinary performing arts presenter, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA), is pleased to announce its 2019-2020 Season filled with music, dance, comedy and theatrical artists and companies.
“I am delighted to share our 2019-2020 Season with Houston, my first as CEO of this terrific organization with a 53-year history presenting a full spectrum of exciting and significant national and international artists in Houston,” said Meg Booth, SPA’s new CEO. “Throughout the season, we celebrate extraordinary artistic collaborations and inspirational artists. We’re proud to present many Houston debuts as we continue to introduce the next generation of virtuosic artists. We also look forward to extending the reach of these artists through our education and community programs. SPA is eager to dive into a season filled with inspiration, imagination and hope.”
In a renewed commitment to commission new work from the world’s best artists, SPA presents MacArthur “genius” Kyle Abraham and his phenomenal contemporary dance company in their Houston debut, A.I.M (Abraham in Motion), performing the world premiere of An Untitled Love. A.I.M’s full evening work is set to a D’Angelo playlist and will be SPA’s first commission in five years. SPA will also proudly present the Houston debut of The SpongeBob Musical, an award-winning hit fresh off Broadway that will entertain audiences of all ages. Chicago-based Manual Cinema brings a multimedia production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein created by an ensemble cast of musicians, actors, cinematographers and puppeteers. Bon Iver & TU Dance will grace the stage of Jones Hall with the dynamic collaboration entitled Come Through, a fusion of contemporary dance and brand-new music from Justin Vernon performed live by Bon Iver.
In addition to the Houston debuts of A.I.M and Bon Iver & TU Dance on SPA’s Tudor Family Dance Series, Martha Graham Dance Company returns to Houston for the first time in 15 years performing Chronicle and other works from The EVE Project, which celebrates the hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The series will also present Mark Morris Dance Group with Pepperland, a unique tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Pepperland features an original score by Ethan Iverson performed live, which blends arrangements of songs from the groundbreaking album with new Pepper-inspired music.
SPA’s robust Music Series features an evening with the iconic Broadway legend Bernadette Peters. The Latin Grammy Award-winning singer Lila Downs brings her powerful show with songs sung in Spanish, English and the languages of the Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya and Mahuati cultures. Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will perform French Enchantment, a program that begins and ends with early works by Saint-Saëns and Fauré. The Brubeck Brothers Quartet will honor the centennial of their father, Dave Brubeck, and Black Violin arrives in Jones Hall blending hip hop and classical music into an electrifying mix. We Shall Overcome, created by Houston Grand Opera’s Composer in Residence, Damien Sneed, was inspired by the words and actions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We Shall Overcome showcases repertoire from across the African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches.
The Music Series will also include several Houston debuts, such as the legendary Jurassic Park actor Jeff Goldblum and his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, who will bring a delightful evening of jazz standards to Jones Hall. Mexican-born songstress Magos Herrera and the string quartet Brooklyn Rider will perform works from their award-winning 2018 album Dreamers. Audiences will enjoy the Houston debuts of classical artists, including Ray Chen, a charming violinist and social media guru; Camille Thomas, the first cellist signed by Deutsche Grammophon in 40 years; and Andrew Tyson, a pianist with a distinctive and important new musical voice. EMN - Ensemble Mik Nawooj will deliver a thrilling performance that combines hip hop and classical music into a fresh musical blend.
The 2019-2020 season will welcome the return of several Houston favorites. STOMP will fill Jones Hall with energizing beats as they celebrate their 25 years of being in NYC with their inventive and invigorating stage show that has captivated audiences around the world. Drum TAO, internationally-acclaimed percussion artists, also returns to Houston after a sold-out show in SPA’s 2017-2018 season with a new modern, high-energy show that showcases the ancient art of Japanese drumming. The Peking Acrobats will mesmerize patrons with their death-defying antics while David Sedaris brings his sardonic wit and speaks about his latest book, Calypso. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Houston and continues to push the art form into fascinating new territory while still honoring signature classics like Ailey’s masterpiece of hope and redemption, Revelations.
After the success of its inaugural season at SPA, the National Geographic LIVE! series will bring three of National Geographic’s daring explorers: Jodi Cobb, Kevin Hand and Nizard Ibrahim. Cobb, a veteran National Geographic photographer, will present her lecture Stranger in a Strange Land that takes you on a whirlwind retrospective of her distinguished career, spanning the social and cultural milestones of four decades of global history. Kevin Hand, an astrobiologist on the hunt for real extraterrestrials, will speak about The Search for Life Beyond Earth. Paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim will introduce Houston to Spinosaurus, the largest predatory dinosaur that’s been discovered.
SPA’s new season includes Samin Nosrat, a New York Times bestseller and author of the award-winning book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, which has a documentary series based on the book that is now streaming on Netflix.
The Tony-Award winning musical The Color Purple, a joyous American classic about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South, conquered Broadway and will come to Houston in an all-new revitalized production. Houstonians will be able to laugh the night away with a few comedians, including Jay Leno, the hardest working man in show business. Jane Lynch & Kate Flannery will fill the Cullen Theater with music and laughter during their cabaret and comedy special, Two Lost Souls; and Vicki Lawrence & Mama, A Two Woman Show will be a hilarious Mother’s Day treat.
Families will delight in creating new memories at the theater together with shows like Wild Kratts LIVE 2.0 - Activate Creature Power and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer: The Musical.
In addition to mainstage performances, SPA’s education and community programs in the 2019-20 Season will provide affordable opportunities for arts access, discovery and creation throughout Houston. These programs include master classes, backstage experiences, the Behind the Curtain Lecture Series, student and sensory-friendly performances, artist residencies, teacher workshops and ongoing programs like the Collaborative Arts Project (CAP), the H-E-B Performance Preludes, Westwood Trust Creative Chats and the Wells Fargo Student Art Contest, now entering its 22nd year.
Subscriptions for the 2019-20 Season are on sale now! For more information regarding performance dates, times and details, call 713.227.4772 between Monday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit www.spahouston.org.
About Society for the Performing Arts
Founded in 1966, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) is the largest independent non-profit presenting organization in the Southwest. Since its inception, SPA has sponsored more than 1,000 performances of the world’s finest music, dance and theater events, in adherence to the belief that the arts are fundamental to the overall enrichment and quality of life within a community. In addition to presenting artists, SPA seeks to provide a variety of learning experiences for adults and children through master classes, lectures and special student performances, as well as build relationships between the performing arts and other interests within the greater Houston area and throughout the state of Texas.
JEFF GOLDBLUM AND THE MILDRED SNITZER ORCHESTRA
Friday, September 20, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
With an acting career spanning four decades and film credits including Jurassic Park and Independence Day, legendary actor Jeff Goldblum will bring a delightful evening of jazz standards to Jones Hall. Goldblum and his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, released their first album in November 2018, which quickly became the number one selling jazz album on the Billboard charts. Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra will play hits, such as Straighten Up and Fly Right, Nostalgia in Times Square, Cantaloupe Island and more!
MAGOS HERRERA & BROOKLYN RIDER
Saturday, October 12, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Performing works from their award-winning 2018 album Dreamers, Mexican-born songstress Magos Herrera and the omnivorous string quartet Brooklyn Rider join forces for an unforgettable musical journey, reinterpreting classic songs from Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Spain, and celebrating texts by Octavio Paz, Federico García Lorca and Rubén Darío.
Magos Herrera, vocalist
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Michael Nicolas, cello
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE!
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
Photographer Jodi CobbTuesday, October 15 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall=
Join veteran National Geographic photographer Jodi Cobb on a whirlwind retrospective of her distinguished career, spanning the social and cultural milestones of four decades of global history. Known for breaking through barriers and going undercover to reveal hidden societies, Cobb has captured fascinating glimpses of worlds such as Japan’s secret Geisha culture and the cloistered lives of Saudi Arabian women. Travel with this inspiring woman as she chronicles her public—and private—path from young photojournalist to world-renowned photographer.
MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY
Friday, October 18, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Martha Graham, the mother of American modern dance, single-handedly defined the genre with her groundbreaking style. The Martha Graham Dance Company has been an artistic world leader since its founding in 1926 and returns to Houston for the first time in 15 years. The company will perform works from The Eve Project including Chronicle which honors the centennial of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Love, loss and creation merge in unexpected ways in this thrilling classic gothic tale conceived by Manual Cinema. Stories of Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein and his Monster expose how the forces of family, community, and education shape personhood - or destroy it by their absence. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques and innovative sound and music to create an immersive visual retelling of Frankenstein for the stage and screen.
NPR Humorist and Best-selling Author of Calypso
Friday, November 1, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. He is the master of satire and one of today’s most observant writers addressing the human condition. His latest book is a New York Times best-selling collection of his essays entitled Calypso, which will be the center of the discussion in the Wortham Center.
Saturday, November 2, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Throughout her illustrious career, Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage, film and television, in concert and on recordings. Best known for her work on stage, Bernadette recently starred on Broadway as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the hit musical, Hello, Dolly! Her talent has garnered numerous accolades including three Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, three Emmy and four Grammy Award nominations and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hear Bernadette’s hits Let Me Entertain You, No One Is Alone, Fever and more!
JANE LYNCH & KATE FLANNERY
Two Lost Souls
Friday, November 8, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Dynamic duo Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery will fill the Cullen Theater with music and laughter during their cabaret and comedy special, Two Lost Souls. Glee’s Jane Lynch and The Office’s Kate Flannery will entertain the audience with a combination of their comedic timing, singing chops and witty banter.
RAY CHEN, VIOLINIST
Accompanied on the piano by Julio Elizalde
Saturday, November 9, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Ray Chen is a violinist who redefines what it is to be a classical musician in the 21st Century. With a media presence reaching out to millions, Ray Chen’s remarkable musicianship transmits to a global audience that is reflected in his engagements with the foremost orchestras and concert halls around the world. Program includes works from Grieg, Saint-Saens, J.S. Bach, Debussy and Ravel.
CAMILLE THOMAS, CELLIST
Accompanied on the piano by Roman Rabinovich
Friday, November 22, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center
The first cellist signed by Deutsche Grammophon in over 40 years, Camille Thomas blends a brilliant command of her instrument with a rare musicality to offer truly memorable concerto and recital appearances. Whether she is playing Saint-Saens, Dvorak, Lalo, Haydn, Schumann or some neglected works that she champions, this award-winning cellist will deliver a passionate and compelling performance that will leave you awestruck with her talent. Program includes works from Brahms, Beethoven, Messiaen and Franck.
AN EVENING WITH JAY LENO
Friday, December 6, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Acclaimed TV late night show host, admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, much-in-demand corporate speaker, lovable TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic and philanthropist…it’s no wonder that Jay Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.”
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL
December 26-27, 2019 | 3 Shows | Jones Hall
The beloved TV classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See all of your favorite characters as they come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL.
THE COLOR PURPLE
January 3-4, 2020 | 3 Shows | Jones Hall
THE COLOR PURPLE is the 2016 Tony Award® winner for Best Musical Revival! Hailed as “a direct hit to the heart” (The Hollywood Reporter), this joyous American classic about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South has conquered Broadway in an all-new “ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold” (The New York Times).
CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center
Experience the grace, wit and charm of French music. The program begins and ends with early works by Saint-Saëns and Fauré that recreate the elegant atmosphere of 19th-century Parisian salons. In between, the Ravel sonata, written soon after World War I, uses just two string instruments to produce a composition of unique, austere beauty. These three inimitable works capture the essence of pure melody in its most delightfully fundamental form. Program includes work from Saint-Saëns, Ravel and Fauré.
Wu Han, piano
Paul Huang, violin
Matthew Lipman, viola
Clive Greensmith, cello
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE!
SPINOSAURUS: LOST GIANT OF THE CREATACEOUS
Paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim
Tuesday, January 21, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Spinosaurus was nearly lost to science before Nizar Ibrahim, a remarkable young paleontologist, discovered this prehistoric giant. With amazing video recreating the lost world of the Cretaceous-era Sahara, Ibrahim tells the story of Spinosaurus’ discovery, loss and rediscovery, and explain what—other than its size—makes this ancient monster unique.
January 23-25, 2020 | 4 Shows | Jones Hall
Celebrating 25 Years in NYC, STOMP is explosive, inventive, provocative, witty and utterly unique—an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages. Year after year, audiences worldwide keep coming back for more of this pulse-pounding electrifying show. As the Boston Globe says, “If you haven’t seen STOMP, GO! If you have seen it, take someone and share the pleasure!” STOMP. See what all the noise is about.
WILD KRATTS LIVE 2.0
Activate Creature Power!
Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 1 p.m. | Jones Hall
It’s going to be WILD! Young fans and their families are in store for even more adventure on the creature trail when the world-famous Kratt Brothers hit the road with an all-new stage adventure! Wild Kratts® LIVE 2.0 – Activate Creature Power®!, the theatrical production starring Martin and Chris Kratt, based on the Emmy-nominated hit PBS KIDS series, will bring audiences along on a “wild” ride with a dynamic mix of live-action and animation.
MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP
January 30 – 31, 2020 | 2 Shows | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Mark Morris Dance Group’s unique tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, resounds with all the ingenuity, musicality, wit and humanity for which the company is known. Pepperland features an original score by Ethan Iverson performed live that blends arrangements of songs from the groundbreaking album with new Pepper-inspired pieces.
WE SHALL OVERCOME
A CELEBRATION OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
With Music Director and Composer Damien Sneed
Sunday, February 9, 2020 | 4 p.m. | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Damien Sneed’s We Shall Overcome showcases repertoire from across the African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches.
BON IVER & TU DANCE
February 20-21, 2020 | 2 Shows | Jones Hall
Electrifying” (City Pages) contemporary dance troupe TU Dance, known for navigating complex themes of social change “with variety and innovation” (Star Tribune) and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, whose “rustic chamber pop with an experimental edge” (Pitchfork) and “hyper-modern balladeering” (The Guardian) has garnered Grammy Awards and significant international acclaim, come together in an unprecedented collaboration of powerhouses. This evening-length program features new music from Vernon performed by Bon Iver as well as new choreography from TU Dance’s Uri Sands.
Saturday, February 22 | 2 Shows | Jones Hall
THE PEKING ACROBATS®, a troupe of China’s most gifted tumblers, contortionists, jugglers, cyclists and gymnasts complemented by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments will bring their 2,000 year-old tradition of acrobatics to Houston.
ANDREW TYSON, PIANIST
Saturday, February 29, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center
Hailed by BBC Radio 3 as “a real poet of the piano,” Andrew Tyson is emerging as a distinctive and important new musical voice. In Summer 2015, he was awarded First Prize at the Géza Anda Competition in Zürich, as well as the Mozart and Audience Prizes. Program includes works from Rameau, Rachmaninoff, Chaminade, Franck and Schumann.
Friday, March 6, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Iconic Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning singer Lila Downs is one of the world’s most singular and powerful voices, whose compelling stage presence and poignant storytelling transcend all language barriers. Raised in Minnesota and Oaxaca, this global music icon sings in Spanish, English and the languages of the Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya and Mahuati cultures. Her exquisite artistry bridges traditions from across the Americas, with influences ranging from the folk and ranchera music of Mexico and South America to North American folk, jazz, blues and hip-hop.
All New Show!
Friday, March 27, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Drum TAO, internationally-acclaimed percussion artists, return to Houston with another modern, high-energy performance that showcases the ancient art of Japanese drumming. Drum TAO has transfixed audiences across the globe with the combination of highly physical, large-scale drumming, contemporary costumes, precise choreography and innovative visuals that create an energetic and unforgettable production.
Tuesday, April 7 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Black Violin is led by classically trained string players Wil B. and Kev Marcus. Joining them onstage are DJ SPS and drummer Nat Stokes. The band uses their unique blend of classical and hip-hop music to overcome stereotypes while encouraging people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds to join together to break down cultural barriers.
Wil B., viola
Kev Marcus, violin
Nat Stokes, percussion
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE!
THE SEARCH FOR LIFE BEYOND EARTH
Kevin Hand, Planetary Scientist & Astrobiologist
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Astrobiologist Kevin Hand is searching for life beyond Earth. Working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, he designs instruments that will travel to Jupiter’s moon Europa to search for a possible subsurface ocean there that may support primitive forms of life. His work often takes him out of the lab to visit some of the world’s most forbidding environments—such as Antarctica and the deep sea—to investigate how microbes eke out a living under extreme conditions. Don’t miss this firsthand report on the search for real extraterrestrials.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
April 24-25, 2020 | 3 Shows | Jones Hall
Now more than ever, the world needs the power of dance to bring people together and connect us all by our common humanity. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues to push the art form into fascinating new territory while still honoring signature classics like Ailey’s masterpiece of hope and redemption, Revelations.
Friday, May 1, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Miller Outdoor Theatre
Daymé Arocena draws inspiration from the intertwining musical legacies of her native Cuba. A singer, composer and choir director, she’s a bright-shining performer carrying the flame for a new generation of Cuban musicians. Approaching jazz, soul and classical influences with an innate sense of rhythm, she released her second album Cubafonía in early 2017. With her home country’s rich musical traditions serving as the album’s springboard, she uses its different musical styles as the basis for each of Cubafonía’s tracks, finding outside influences from her tours of the world these past two years to build upon them.
VICKI LAWRENCE & MAMA, A TWO WOMAN SHOW
Friday, May 8, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Jones Hall
Vicki Lawrence is a multi-talented actress, comedian and singer known for the many characters she originated on CBS’s The Carol Burnett Show. She has multiple Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominations and won an Emmy Award in 1976. She approaches everything with her characteristic sense of humor, reminding us all that “Life is much too serious to be taken seriously!”
EMN - ENSEMBLE MIK NAWOOJ
Friday, May 15, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Led by composer/pianist, JooWan Kim, hip hop orchestra Ensemble Mik Nawooj (EMN) creates new concert music based on the musical materials of hip-hop and by sampling compatible classical compositional techniques. Executed with MCs/lyricists Do D.A.T. and Sandman, a lyric soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, drums and bass, the music is rigorous, nuanced, accessible, and free from the dogmas of Western European concert music aesthetic. The result is seamless tête-à-tête with “textures swimming through the sound...like the world’s fastest ping-pong game” (Pitchfork) and is considered the “cutting edge of hip-hop” (Huffington Post).
Joowan Kim, composer and pianist
Do D.A.T., MC and lyricist
Sandman, MC and lyricist
BRUBECK BROTHERS QUARTET
Saturday, May 16, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Celebrate Dave Brubeck’s centennial birthday with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet! To celebrate his life and legacy, Dave’s sons, Chris and Dan Brubeck, who performed and recorded with their father since the 1970s, curated a multimedia show with their own Brubeck Brothers Quartet. Through stories told by his sons, video interviews with Dave and musicians he influenced and music performed by the quartet, the show invites audiences to travel along the timeline of Dave’s extraordinary life and career.
A.I.M (Abraham in Motion)
World Premiere & SPA Commission of Until the End of Time
June 4-5, 2020 | 2 Shows | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
With A.I.M’s mission to create an evocative interdisciplinary body of work, MacArthur “genius” Kyle Abraham brings his company in their Houston debut for the World Premiere of Until the End of All Time. This evening-length dance work is sonically rooted in R&B and soul music. Comprised of the catalogue of Grammy Award-winning R&B legend D’Angelo, this work serves as a creative exaltation, centered on the often overlooked love and unity that exists within the black community.
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Friday, June 12, 2020 | 8 p.m. | Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Chef and food writer Samin Nosrat travels the world to explore four basic keys to wonderful cooking, serving up feasts and helpful tips along the way. Her award-winning book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, is a New York Times bestseller and has a documentary series based on the book that is now streaming on Netflix. In 2018, she was named the “Eater Chef of the Year” and is also one of five food columnists for the New York Times Magazine.
The SpongeBob Musical|
June 23-28, 2020 | 8 Shows | Jones Hall
A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what do you get? The musical The New York Times declares, “BRILLIANT!” Broadway’s best creative minds reimagine and bring to life the beloved Nickelodeon series with humor, heart and pure theatricality in “a party for the eyes and ears” (Daily Beast). Explore the depths of theatrical innovation in THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL, 2018 Best Musical winner of the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, where the power of optimism really can save the world.