Best Ballet Houston 2007 - Carnival of Animals, Houston Ballet
Houston Ballet's opening-night performance of Christopher Wheeldon's Carnival of Animals had the audience roaring, thanks to a special performance by two-time Tony Award-winner John Lithgow. The multitalented actor and children's book author wrote the dialogue for this family-friendly ballet, and he performed it with scene-chewing zeal in Houston for two nights during the May premiere. He danced the part of Mabel Buntz, the school nurse who does a waltz as a "pert pachyderm." Even without the legendary Lithgow, this cute, sassy ballet is the best one for children since The Nutcracker (and more fun for the parents, too). But with him, it was an elephantine event.