Things To Do

Best Bets: Bastille Day, Shōgun and The Wizard of Oz

Summer Symphony Nights return to Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Summer Symphony Nights return to Miller Outdoor Theatre. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

It’s been quite the week, huh? Post-Beryl, we hope everyone is safe and well, and we wish you all working electricity and Wi-Fi, air conditioning and refrigeration, and (hopefully) a well-deserved break from recovery efforts. If you were lucky enough to come through unscathed, or just need a place to go with working AC, we’ve put together a list of this coming week’s best bets. Keep reading for musicals, classical music, a non-American holiday celebration and more.

One of the most beloved animated Disney films-turned-musical will open tonight, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. when Broadway at the Hobby Center presents The Lion King. Peter Hargrave, who’s playing the villainous Scar in the national tour, recently told the Houston Press that The Lion King is “one of those incredible stories that means something different to you in your childhood than it does as an adult,” adding that though “the adversity” in the show can be scare for kids, he thinks “that what children experience most of all is the potential of what a life can become.” Performances will continue at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays through August 4. Tickets are available here for $35 to $140.

The Wizard of Oz is an American classic, and many have tried to explain why, including Salman Rushdie, who noted that the 1939 MGM film “is that great rarity, a film that improves on the good book from which it came.” On Friday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m. you can see a reimagining of L. Frank Baum’s “optimistic American fable about one group of friends’ path toward happiness” when Queensbury Theatre opens their main stage production of The Wizard of Oz. And of course, it will include the music you love from the MGM film. Performances will continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays through July 28. Tickets can be purchased here for $30 to $65.

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Get an early start on Halloween at Insomnia Gallery's Summer Slashers - Horror Art Show + Night Market at Hardy & Nance Studios.
Photo by Natalie de la Garza
We are officially 112 days from Halloween, so there’s no better time to celebrate all things horror, which you can do on Friday, July 12, from 8 p.m. to midnight when Insomnia Gallery presents their annual Summer Slashers – Horror Art Show + Night Market at Hardy & Nance Studios. The art show will showcase the works of local artists, all putting their unique spins on different scary movies and TV shows, while the horror-themed night market will feature vendors that specialize in spooky. Of course, you can also expect complimentary drinks from City Orchard, Equal Parts Brewing, Bad Astronaut Brewing Co. and Eureka Heights Brewery as well as food from Boom Box Tacos. The show is free and there’s no ticket required for entry.

In 1938, Aaron Copland halted his work on Billy the Kid to compose a piece of music for a high school orchestra, and the result, An Outdoor Overture, will open the program of the first of four Summer Symphony Nights over the next two weekends at Miller Outdoor Theatre on Friday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. when the Houston Symphony returns to Miller to present American Masterworks. Guest conductor Kellen Gray will lead the Symphony in the all-American program which, in addition to Copland, will also include George Gershwin’s Catfish Row, a concert suite from Porgy and Bess, and Florence Price’s Symphony No. 3 in C minor. Tickets for the free show can be reserved here starting today, July 11, at 10 a.m., though you can always sit on the no-ticket-required Hill instead.

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Ian Lewis and Danny Hayes in Main Street Theater’s production of The Woman in Black.
Photo by Andrew Ruthven
There’s nothing better than a ghost story in the summer, and Main Street Theater has one for you: The Woman in Black, opening on Saturday, July 13, at 7:30 p.m. The play, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from a novel by Susan Hill, is about a man named Arthur Kipps, who’s sure his family is cursed. Danny Hayes, who plays the actor Mr. Kipps hires to help tell his story, told the Houston Press the play is “really unsettling,” but that it is “not just scary for scary’s sake or trying to be scary with silly jump scares,” noting that the characters “are very human” and the play is “so well crafted.” Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. through August 11. Tickets are available here for $39 to $59.

For the second of four Summer Symphony Nights at Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Symphony, under the baton of conductor Gonzalo Farias, will turn to a double bill of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky on Saturday, July 13, at 8:30 p.m. during Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. William Grant Still’s “Summerland” and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 35 (featuring violinist Blake Pouliot) will set the stage for the concert’s finale: Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony which, though “not explicitly nationalistic,” has “a distinctively Russian flavor” and “stands as one of [the composer’s] most loved large-scale creations.” You can reserve free tickets in the covered seating area here beginning on Friday, July 12, at 10 a.m. or you can plan to sit on the no-ticket-required Hill.

Shōgun, “FX’s most watched show ever (based on global hours streamed),” is “one of the year’s most outstanding shows” and has been described as “rollicking, violent, transcendently silly, often incisive, and most importantly, totally legible.” We’ll know within a week whether or not the show, based on a novel by James Clavell, will nab an Emmy nod for Best Drama Series (an award it could easily win), but on Sunday, July 14, at 2 p.m. the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will welcome local filmmaker Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, who directed the eighth episode of the series, during Shōgun: A Director’s Perspective. Osei-Kuffour will introduce the episode, titled “The Abyss of Life,” which will be screened and then followed by a Q&A. Admission is free and you can get your ticket here.

The 14th of July is Bastille Day, a public holiday in France that commemorates the day Parisians stormed the Bastille – a prison that at one time held Voltaire (as well as the Marquis de Sade) – and kicked off the French Revolution. You can find a little “liberté, egalité, fraternité” right here in the Bayou City on Sunday, July 14, at 5 p.m. when the Consulate General of France in Houston hosts Celebrate Bastille Day at Rice University Stadium. Francophiles can enjoy a showcase of sports (remember, the Olympics are in Paris this year), music, space and cuisine during the festivities. We’ll also go out on a limb and bet you’ll hear at least one rendition of “La Marseillaise.” Admission is free, but registration here is mandatory.

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Natalie de la Garza is a contributing writer who adores all things pop culture and longs to know everything there is to know about the Houston arts and culture scene.