The bells are jingling and the carolers are singing as we quickly approach the homestretch this holiday season, and we’ve rounded up some of the best of the best seasonal offerings across Houston’s virtual stages in the coming week. From irreverent to wistful, there’s a little something for everyone.
If you’re in the mood for something heartwarming, familiar and family friendly that’s not seasonally on the nose, how about a musical retelling of a classic fairy tale? The Ensemble Theatre is currently presenting an archival production of the African American Shakespeare Company’s Cinderella, which the Ensemble staged three years in a row. In a 2011 review, the Houston Press said that the show, developed by the San Francisco-based company and enhanced by original music by Chika Kaba Ma’atunde and choreography by Patdro Harris, had “vitality, strength, and a vivid, contemporary flavor.” Tickets to rent Cinderella for 48 hours are available here for $25 now through December 27.
Join Main Street Theater on Thursday, December 17, at 7:30 p.m. for the live premiere of the December edition of Main Street at the Mic, 2020 Holidays: Passover to New Year’s! Main Street’s Associate Artistic Director Andrew Ruthven will direct performers including Kara Greenberg, Carl Masterson, Chaney Moore, Amanda Passanante, Rodrick Randall, Celeste Roberts, Jim Salners, Tamara Siler, and Gerardo Velasquez from Main Street’s Rice Village stage accompanied by pianist Claudia Dyle. You can register for the free event here (though donations are appreciated) and watch any time on YouTube between the premiere and Sunday night, December 20.
Let Tamarie Cooper, a professed Jew who loves Christmas, entertain you this holiday season during Tamarie Cooper’s Holiday Super Show. Cooper returns to cyberspace, her second virtual venture after moving her annual summer musical online, to show off her Christmas cred, belt out some musical showstoppers, and bring the “self-aware, self-parodying humor” that made Tamarie Cooper’s 2020: Quarantine Edition! a “surprising delight” this fall. Tamarie Cooper’s Holiday Super Show will begin streaming this Friday, December 18, and will be available until January 31. Tickets are pay-what-you-can with a suggested price of $35. You can purchase a ticket here.
If you’re looking for some deep cuts this holiday season, look no further than Ars Lyrica this Friday, December 18, at 7:30 p.m. when the ensemble premieres their holiday program Comfort & Joy featuring mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte, soprano Camille Ortiz, and flautist Colin St Martin. On the program are Allessandro Scarlatti’s Christmas cantata O di Betlemme altera; Antonio Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus, “Psalm 127 in the form of a solo motet for mezzo soprano and strings”; and Georg Philipp Telemann’s Concerto in D Major for Flute and Strings, his best-known work for traverso and strings. A collection of noëls from Marc-Antoine Charpentier, who “wrote a lot of music for Christmas,” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Erwünschtes Freudenlicht round out the program. You can purchase a single event pass for the program here for $10.
Following the Zoom-based run of Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon's Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Main Street Theater will quickly follow up with its companion piece, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, which opens on Zoom this Friday, December 18, at 7:30 p.m. The Houston Press described the sequel to Miss Bennet, itself a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, as “a warm and comfy immersion in Jane Austen” and “a winking nudge to the PBS crowd who can't get enough of Downton Abbey or the nostalgic ghosts of Upstairs Downstairs.” Fans of Regency fare can enjoy the live, staged readings through December 20. Tickets are free but registration is required here. Performances continue on Saturday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 20, at 3 p.m.
Houston Grand Opera is getting in on the seasonal festivities this Friday, December 18, at 7:30 p.m. with the release of the HGO Studio Holiday Celebration. The HGO Digital showcase will feature current artists from the HGO Studio, including sopranos Raven McMillon and Elena Villalón, mezzo-sopranos Lindsay Kate Brown and Sun-Ly Pierce, baritone Blake Denson, bass-baritone Nicholas Newton, basses Cory McGee and William Guanbo Su, tenor Ricardo Garcia, and pianists Alex Munger and Bin Yu Sanford. The performers, six first year and five returning, will sing both traditional and contemporary holiday tunes. The recital can be viewed for free on Friday and will be available for a month following its premiere.
It rarely looks a lot like Christmas around here, but it’s definitely fruitcake weather, i.e. a perfect time to enjoy Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory.” The short story, originally published in the December 1956 issue of Mademoiselle , “captures the folksy atmosphere of Capote’s youth with the aroma of pecan pies and the flickering of candles in the windows of homes back in December of a 1930s Alabama.” David Rainey (Alley Theatre Company Member and Artistic Director of The Landing Theatre Company) will join Mercury Chamber Orchestra for a dramatic reading along with music arranged by Mercury Artistic Director Antoine Plante. A Christmas Memory will premiere online on Saturday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $20 here through December 26, with the program available to view through January 3.
Though audiences can't experience the Houston Chamber Choir's annual holiday concert within the walls of the beautiful Chapel of the Villa de Matel, you can still enjoy the traditional carols and contemporary tunes from all around the world during A Time to Bring Hope. The concert, which features both new performances and looks back at past years, will be released on Sunday, December 20, at 12 p.m. on the Houston Chamber Choir Digital Stage. You can rent the one concert for $9.99 or buy access to the show for one year for $24.99. You can also subscribe to all of the Houston Chamber Choir’s concerts for $40 annually with a seven-day free trial.
Join Pitch Me This (PMT) Productions for their last performance of the year this Sunday, December 20, at 8 p.m. for their fifth annual PMT Pop Up: Holiday Cabaret. During the one-night-only event streamed live from The Continental Club, Jon Teverbaugh will host almost a dozen local artists and The PMT Band performing holiday tunes like “Santa Baby,” the Eartha Kitt classic almost too sexy for Greek royalty; “Little Saint Nick,” the Beach Boys’ ode to Santa Claus and his hot rod-like sleigh; and Frank Loesser's "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" You can decide who sang the 1947 song, because you’ve got a lot of artists to choose from, including Ella Fitzgerald. You can purchase a ticket to the livestream here for $10.
Though now considered a masterpiece, when Franz Schubert first performed Winterreise for his friends, they “were utterly dumbfounded by the mournful, gloomy tone of these songs.” Performed during DACAMERA’s 30th anniversary season, “No Place Like Home,” the haunting 24-song cycle features a protagonist, who doesn’t belong anywhere, wandering alone in a cold winter. Metropolitan Opera baritone Tyler Duncan joined pianist and DACAMERA Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg for the recital, titled A Stranger I Arrive, A Stranger I Depart, which will be premiere online on Monday, December 21, at 7 p.m. Following the recital, you can tune in to a discussion that ties Schubert’s work to the plight of refugees around the world. You can register to view the free virtual recital here.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.