21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Menu of Menus and High-Flying Acrobats

Beautiful people, tasty bites and crafted cocktails. It's all on deck at the 15th Annual Houston Press Menu of Menus Extravaganza.
Beautiful people, tasty bites and crafted cocktails. It's all on deck at the 15th Annual Houston Press Menu of Menus Extravaganza. Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Tuesday, April 4

What’s for dinner? If it’s Tuesday night, then the world is your oyster when the 15th Annual Houston Press Menu of Menus Extravaganza opens its doors with tastings from more than 40 local eateries. It’s a can’t-miss event for Houston foodies and one of our favorite signature events. Don’t miss the 6th Annual Iron Fork Chef Competition, pitting defending Iron Fork champ Lyle Bento of Southern Goods against Underbelly’s Gary Ly (one chef to rule them all). Moderating this year is retired Iron Fork champ and Roost restaurateur Kevin Naderi; to add a big-city/small-world twist, Bento happens to be an Underbelly alum. Enjoy wine, beer and cocktail samples plus live music and beaucoup people-watching. Upgrade to VIP for first-in-line privileges and valet parking, but remember this one’s 21 and up. 7 to 10 p.m. April 4. Silver Street Station, 2000 Edwards. For information, call 877-987-6487 or visit $45 to $85. — Susie Tommaney

It starts with a trio of singers, members of a Chicago girl group discovered at an amateur talent show by the man who becomes their manager. As they negotiate their attempt to rise to the top, conflicts ensue, and one member is replaced while the others go on to stardom. The Broadway version of Dreamgirls, featuring music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen, went on to win six Tony Awards and two Grammys before being made into a movie that earned Jennifer Hudson an Academy Award; now it’s presented in Houston by Theatre Under The Stars. Zonya Love (Broadway’s The Color Purple) plays the left-behind Effie, who she describes as “a fun, sassy, spunky young lady who’s misunderstood. She’s a product of her environment as far as learning how to accept herself instead of what society tells you what’s acceptable.” Love also gets to deliver the show-stopper “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” 7:30 p.m. April 4. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. April 4-16. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information call 713-558-8887 or visit $46.50 to $135. — Margaret Downing

Wednesday, April 5

You’ve been dreaming about that sweet ride for so long, building your car online and picking and choosing all the right options (and color). But have you actually placed your butt in the seat and taken it out for a spin? Surprisingly, many shoppers who come to the Houston Auto Show with a particular car in mind end up switching allegiances. “We did a survey last year,” says RoShelle Salinas, public relations director for presenter Houston Automobile Dealers Association. “They test a vehicle and change their mind.” But don’t quaff any NRG brewskis just yet, because you’ll have to pass a breathalyzer first. “It’s a great place to do your comparison shopping efficiently,” says Salinas. “Then work your deal later. You’ll know what features you want.” Noon to 9:30 p.m. April 5. Continuing noon to 9:30 p.m. April 6 and 7, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. April 8, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 9. NRG Center, One NRG Park. For information, visit $5 to $12. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, April 6

Tommy’s not here, man. For most, Cheech will forever be tied to his buddy, Chong, as two groovy herb enthusiasts who found hijinks and a cult following in the ’70s. But for the younger set, the days of Los Cochinos are long gone, and many know the lovable Marin for his roles in kids’ fare (Pixar’s Cars, the original Spy Kids movies, The Lion King). “There’s a Cheech for every generation,” glows the 70-year-old funnyman, who is signing his new book, Cheech Is Not My Real Name…But Don’t Call Me Chong at an event presented by Brazos Bookstore and moderated by Houston Public Media’s Ernie Manouse. “There’s Mexican food and then there’s nouveau Mexican food. I get this great opportunity to be irreverent [and] insightful.” Without his stoner persona on display, expect to see a gentler side of Marin — the art collector, the academic, the Jeopardy! champ. 7 p.m. April 6. Landmark River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For information call 713-523-0701 or visit $27. — Vic Shuttee

In Franz Schubert’s wistful quartet “Death and the Maiden,” one hears the tussle between man and death as depicted by a defiant Schubert. Even as his health dissolved and his body succumbed to sickness, the composer looked skyward, locked eyes with the specter looming above, and laughed in its face. Schubert conjures death only to mock and tease, says Antoine Plante, artistic director for Mercury, which is performing the dark and lyrical quartet. “It is a lesson in contrasts,” says Plante. Playful. Gentle. Ominous. “The last movement is a great danse macabre. A dance of skeletons,” the conductor says. Listen, and you’ll hear the cracking of the bones. 8 p.m. April 6, The MATCH, 3400 Main. 2:30 p.m. April 8, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, 11612 Memorial. 7 p.m. April 8, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 5601 South Main. 7 p.m. April 9, Dosey Doe, 25911 North Freeway, Spring. For information, call 713-533-0080 or visit $9 to $35. — Katricia Lang

If you're partial to Cosmos and Manolos; have taken an online test to see if you're more Charlotte, Carrie, Amanda or Samantha; or even if you're solidly committed to Team Aidan or Team Mister Big; then it's time to take a trip down memory lane during One Woman Sex And The City: A Parody on Love, Friendship and Shoes. Kerry Ipema delivers the laughs as our favorite characters brunch, banter, argue and support each other with snippets from all six seasons. Remember the naked dress, the tantric sex demonstration, the "He's just not that into you" episode and the humiliating breakup via Post-it® Note? We've been promised puns, Cosmopolitans and even audience participation, so brush up on your SatC trivia and bring it. 8 p.m. April 6. The Secret Group, 2101 Polk. For information, call 832-898-4688 or visit $25 to $30. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, April 7

They say comedy is seldom pretty, and Steve Martin and Martin Short are masters of exposing the uglier side of showbiz at its most fatuous and absurd. Their own humor is often sarcastic and juvenile, with nothing sacred except the laugh. The two seem to have little else in common other than a long friendship with SNL honcho Lorne Michaels and a tolerance to share the stage, which they do in this standup tour dubbed Steve Martin & Martin Short, An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life. Expect Short to revive obsequious TV host Jiminy Glick and the banjo-toting Martin to bust out a tune or two with Grammy-winning bluegrass boys the Steep Canyon Rangers, but mostly a flurry of one-liners at the other’s expense. As seen in the ’80s near-classic Three Amigos or 1991’s Father of the Bride remake (but not its best-forgotten sequel), neither man has any reservations about upstaging the other. 8 p.m. April 7. Smart Financial Centre, 11811 Lexington, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit $89.50. — Chris Gray

Frida Kahlo inspired more than bright colors, untamed eyebrows and flowered braids. My Dress Hangs There, her all-encompassing visual commentary on the superficiality of American capitalism, also inspired a new dance by former Houstonian Mario Alberto Zambrano. Volver makes its world premiere this Friday as part of a quartet of works in METdance’s United in Dance! Kahlo began the painting while in the United States, during a period when she was homesick and longed to return to Mexico, and Zambrano’s dance celebrates that idea of returning, of reconnecting with one’s culture and identity. Marlana Doyle, the company’s artistic director, tells us the evening also includes Andrea Dawn Shelley’s The Broken Column, inspired by the passionate but tumultuous relationship between Kahlo and husband Diego Rivera. 8 to 10 p.m. April 7. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-522-6375 or visit $9.50 to $39.50. — Susie Tommaney

“[It’s] every woman’s life — on comedy and steroids,” says Mimi Holloway, who directs Theatre Southwest’s production of Becky’s New Car. Steven Dietz’s wacky, fourth-wall-breaking play centers around Becky Foster, a woman firmly stuck in midlife purgatory until a millionaire walks into the car dealership where she works and offers her a glimpse of the road not taken. “She doesn’t quite, exactly, 100 percent cheat on purpose, only 85 percent,” says Holloway. “She winds up accidentally with two lives, which is what she wanted but is really too much to keep up with.” Holloway stresses that Becky is an everywoman, though exaggerated, and her story is relatable. “It’s [about] how much you’re willing to risk, how much you’re willing to pretend that those risks aren’t going to hurt anybody, and those things don’t ever go away.” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. April 23. April 7 through 29. 8944-A Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit $16 to $18. — Natalie de la Garza

Yuga Yamato, former top star of the musical-theater troupe Takarazuka Revue, is a pretty big deal. The otokoyaku (female playing a male part) is reprising the role of Tuxedo Mask, the caped crusader in defense of Sailor Moon, during an edited version of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical in what will be its first production outside Asia. “I saw the play twice in Japan, and every time she gets onstage, everybody starts screaming,” says John Leigh, CEO of Anime Matsuri Convention, who arranged for the national premiere. He tells us that 50 über-fans are flying in from Tokyo for a chance at an autograph. Tickets to the Japanese culture convention include the musical, but there’s plenty more fun to be had: cosplay, concerts and the popular “Honey, I’m home” maid and butler cafes. The musical is at 5 p.m. April 7; single-day passes are available at the door. 11:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. April 7, 9:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. April 8, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 9. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, visit $30 to $200. — Susie Tommaney

The Tony Award-winning drama Dancing at Lughnasa, penned by the late Irish playwright Brian Friel, was eventually made into a movie starring Meryl Streep. The main narrator reflects back on his childhood in the 1930s in rural Ireland, in a house with his mother and four spinster aunts. When his absent father returns home — on a motorcycle no less — upheaval sets in, compounded by the return of his uncle, a priest who spent a lifetime in Africa. It was also the summer the family got a wireless set, bringing music and dancing into the household; they named it Lugh after the old pagan god of the harvest. Now Playhouse 1960 presents this poignant summertime memory play about love, poverty and the eventual loss of hope. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. April 7 through 22. 6814 Gant. For information, call 281-587-8243 or visit $15 to $18. — Susie Tommaney

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