21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Night-Time Dog, Acro-cats and Antiquing

BBVA Compass Broadway at the Hobby Center presents The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Shown: Alex Sharp as Christopher Boone.EXPAND
BBVA Compass Broadway at the Hobby Center presents The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Shown: Alex Sharp as Christopher Boone.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Tuesday, January 24

A neighbor’s dog is dead and young Christopher Boone sets out to solve the mystery. What makes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time all the more interesting is that Christopher has high-function autism and doesn’t like to be touched. Adapted from the best-seller by Mark Haddon, Simon Stephens’s play is touted as an affecting, immersive experience. As 15-year-old Christopher employs his math skills to discover the murderer of Wellington, he also negotiates the tricky curves of a world he knows has a lot of social rules, most of which he doesn’t understand. The play, presented as a play within a play, differs from the book in that Christopher’s teacher reads from his writings, only later stating that she’s asked him to turn them into a play. By all accounts this is can’t-miss theater, but be forewarned and bring a hanky. 7:30 p.m. January 24. Continuing 7:30 p.m. January 25 and 26, 8 p.m. January 27, 2 and 8 p.m. January 28, 2 and 7:30 p.m. January 29. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 800-952-6560 or 713-315-2525 or visit houston.broadway.com. $30 to $120. — Margaret Downing

Wednesday, January 25

Rick (John Feltch) throws himself an expensive engagement party, understandable since he’s the head of his private equity firm. What’s not so explainable is that he’s done this the same week his company forced huge layoffs at a national grocery store chain. How to repair the public relations damage? In Dry Powder, playwright Sarah Burgess set her play amid the tensions of a company’s profit motives after becoming fascinated by the subject of private equity firms. Jenny (Elizabeth Bunch) operates with a profit-first outlook but, as Burgess says, she’s not evil. “She’s very honest and she’s often right.” Meanwhile Seth (Jay Sullivan) has proposed a deal to his boss to invest in an American luggage company run by Jeff (Chris Hutchison). The Alley Theatre production is a Texas premiere and the first showing outside New York City, where Claire Danes, John Krasinski and Hank Azaria starred. 7:30 p.m. January 25. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. January 29 and February 12; 2:30 p.m. February 5. January 25 through February 12. 615 Texas. For information call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $30 to $93. — Margaret Downing

“Harry is a brilliant actor and a failure as a human being; he has no identity,” says director Sally Edmundson about one of the main characters in Who Am I This Time? (& Other Conundrums of Love) at Stages Repertory Theatre. The setting is The North Crawford Mask & Wig Club, a small community theater in Connecticut. Tom (Philip Lehl), functioning as narrator at the start (his role changes later), states from the beginning that this is a play about love. Aaron Posner (Stupid F**king Bird) adapted three comic short stories by Kurt Vonnegut (“A Long Walk to Forever,” “Who Am I This Time?” and “Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son”) into parts that become a whole by the end of the play. Edmundson says the middle story, a play within a play about theater, is an apt strategy for the message conveyed. “Theater is a marvelous metaphor for not only life but love. It’s seductive; you can enhance things with light and sound and that’s what love is or at least that’s what makes it so indescribable.” 7:30 p.m. January 25. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. January 25 through February 12. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $21 to $65. — Margaret Downing

Though Texas has been the home to killer horror for decades — The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Dean Corll, the current state of Texas politics — a published anthology featuring writers in the horror, paranormal and supernatural genres didn’t exist until Eakin Press dropped Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers last October. “There’s a good mixture of stories in the book, not just the typical vampire tales,” says co-editor and contributing writer E.R. Bills. “Horror can be escapism and it can be titillating, but with good horror, especially in writing, you don’t often walk out of the mental theater and forget it.” Nacogdoches-based Joe R. Lansdale (Bubba Ho-Tep, the Hap and Leonard series), who Bills calls “the Stephen King or James Patterson of Texas,” is one of the 17 writers included in the 238-page paperback. Co-editor Bret McCormick, writer Misty Contreras and native Houstonian Carmen Gray are scheduled to attend the reading and book signing. 7 p.m. January 25. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. — Steve Jansen

Mommies, drop the tots with a sitter because the Pump and Dump show is in town. As part of their 2017 “Band of Mothers” National Tour, comedians Shayna Ferm and Tracey Tee are hitting H-Town with two nights of moms-only humor, games, prizes and original music. “We’re really stoked to come back,” says Ferm. “Houston was one of our favorite stops on our last tour, and it was an awesome venue with awesome moms!” “This is a mom’s night out that’ll have you home by 10 p.m.,” Ferm says. The variety show, which started as a bar show in northwest Denver in 2012, has earned the twosome rave reviews across the country. “For a lot of moms with five-and-unders, they are in the thick of it,” Ferm commiserates. “That’s where we were when we started the show, so we get it. Hopefully, we can give everyone who comes out a good, hard laugh you can take home to help you do what you gotta do.” 7:30 p.m. January 25 and 26. Houston Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $30 to $40. — Vic Shuttee

These flicks are wild and visually stunning, and they're all about effecting change through art. Now The Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour is back in Houston for two nights of outdoor adventure, climate activism, David and Goliath stories and just being one with nature. It's a pared down showing of the larger festival held annually in Nevada City and the Citizens' Environmental Coalition had to make some tough choices in curating the event, but it looks like a good line-up of 24 short documentaries that both celebrate our planet and highlight environmental concerns. Wednesday screenings include the comedic Nature Rx and the inventive Filtering a Plastic Ocean. Come back on Thursday to view things from a child's perspective in Parker's Top Fifty Favorite Things About Northwest Rivers and the introspective To Slow Down & Breathe. 7:05 p.m. January 25 and 26, Landmark River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-524-2175 or visit cechouston.org. $15 to $20. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, January 26

It seems that apples don’t fall far from the tree. J.A. Davis and Heidi Barnes, who both spent time in Houston attending The Kinkaid School, saw their father’s success penning the submarine thriller Shadow of Peril, so it comes as no surprise that they tried their hand at writing. They’re each celebrating the release of a debut novel at a two-for-one book signing at Brazos Bookstore.
Davis drew on his background in emergency medicine to write Crisis: Blue: A Rex Bent Thriller, which he says was inspired by the devastation he observed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and how properties remained abandoned years later. He said he took a step back and said, “I need a bigger plot. Give America a wake-up call with terrorism coming to our shores, nuclear biological warfare. I can see the East and West coasts becoming uninhabitable and seeing people fleeing inland,” says Davis. “The big message here is we’re not prepared for a massive attack on our shores.”
For The Bellman, Barnes stepped back to her time in Bar Harbor, Maine, where their father built a hotel next to their summer home. “It’s about a young man growing up. He’s 18 years old and has his first job as a bellhop,” says Davis, adding that his sister’s book is filled with both humor and warmth, and shows the struggles a young man goes through when striking out on his own. 7 p.m. January 26. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Following the intensity of The Crucible and before the seriousness of this spring’s production of Romeo and Juliet, Moores Opera Center decided to go with two Italian comedies for its winter presentations: The Secret Marriage, which director of Moores Opera Center Buck Ross calls “after the Mozart operas, the most famous comic opera of the 18th century,” and The Inspector, a modern work that somehow derives comedy from Mussolini’s Italy in the 1930s. “Inspector premiered in 2011 at Wolf Trap [performing arts center in Virginia], and one of my former students was in the premiere and called me while they were in rehearsal and said, ‘You’re going to want to do this piece. It’s very funny,’” Ross says. The Inspector: 7:30 p.m. January 26, 28 and 29. The Secret Marriage: 7:30 p.m. January 27 and 30, 2 p.m. January 29. For information, call 713-743-3313 or visit uh.edu/cota/music/opera. $12 to $20. — Margaret Downing

The songs of Mahalia Jackson, the Grammy Award-winning singer and activist, come to life in Tom Stolz’s musical Mahalia. “This play touches on the civil rights movement and the struggles that black folks had to endure to survive, especially in the performance arena between 1928 and 1960,” says Shirley Marks Whitmore, who is directing the production for The Ensemble Theatre, with musical direction by Melanie Bivens. “We are attempting to re-create her sound, which was so iconic. Her music was Southern gospel, but we’ve taken a few theatrical liberties to maybe modernize it a bit and capture the perspective of all our patrons no matter their age. The music and dance pieces help us to focus on the similarities of the times, between then and now.” Come hear more than 20 gospel numbers in this moving tribute to the Queen of Gospel. 7:30 p.m. January 26. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through February 26. 3535 Main. For information, call 713?520-0055 or visit ensemblehouston.org. $42 to $61. — Vic Shuttee

Here's one band that will never be considered for a Super Bowl halftime show: It's Tuna and the Rock Cats, billed as the only cat band in existence and featuring actual feline musicians. Headliner Tuna plays the cowbell and is backed by guitarist Oz, drummer Asti and keyboardist Nue. Between being fascinated by the fact that these cats are so talented and embarrassment that your own Fluffy is such a doofus, there won't be any dull moments when The Amazing Acro-cats take the stage. Trainer Samantha Martin has been scouring shelters and auditioning street cats, looking for the most talented kitties, then fine-tunes their performances to purr-fection with reinforcement-only clicker training. Heck, they've even appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Now the Acro-cat Bus is rolling into town, bringing skateboard-riding, tightrope-walking and jamming cats to The Pilot on Navigation. A portion of the proceeds benefits the League City Animal Shelter. 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 3 and 7 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 5 p.m. Sundays. January 26 through February 5. 5102 Navigation. For information, call 281-979-4982 or visit freneticore.net or circuscats.com. $23 to $33. — Susie Tommaney



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