Houston's theater season kicks off this Sunday with the Theater District Open House, the annual free event that allows dedicated patrons and newcomers to the performing arts to wander the venues' halls in a scavenger hunt, learn the techie ropes in a backstage tour and even try playing a few instruments in a musical "petting zoo" (let's hope they disinfect those reeds). The event, which is going into its 18th year, encompasses four major downtown venues (Wortham Center, Jones Hall, The Alley Theatre and The Hobby Center) and nine performing companies (the Alley Theatre, Da Camera of Houston, Gexa Energy Broadway at the Hobby Center, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Society for the Performing Arts, Theatre Under The Stars and Uniquely Houston®).
"Some people might be intimidated by the ticket prices," says Melissa Fitzgerald, promotions director for Houston Downtown Alliance. "We want to get them familiar with the theater and see all the different things we have going on." Patrons will have a chance at one-day-only bargains the day of the open house (Gexa Energy will offer a 25 percent discount on a five-show season package as well as a limited number of $30 tickets to the October 25 and 26 performances of MEMPHIS).
But there will still be plenty of free entertainment, including a Houston Symphony concert, a TUTS musical revue and several performances by international juggling virtuosos The Flying Karamazov Brothers.
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And we'll be there, handing out free copies of the Houston Press Arts Guide, a handy-dandy little resource to help you know what's going on throughout the season. Be sure to swing by our table on the third floor of the Alley Theatre.
Noon to 4 p.m. August 28. For information, call 713-658-8938 or visit www.houstontheaterdistrict.org.