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Best Virtual Bets: Jazz, Heathers, and A Woman Scorned

Stages Studio Sessions return this week with Teresa Zimmermann.EXPAND
Stages Studio Sessions return this week with Teresa Zimmermann.
Photo by Josh Morrison
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Here’s a “Happy Awkward Moments Day” to you! (And a belated “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” too!) Check out this week’s list of best virtual bets and rest assured that from the comfort of your own living room, you will not only minimize the chances of infectious disease, but also the chances of awkward moments. Hopefully.

Following a freeze-related postponement, you can now join DACAMERA on Friday, March 19, at 7 p.m. when they finally present their virtual recital with jazz pianist Sullivan Fortner. Recorded at the Steinway Piano Factory in New York City, Fortner – who’s been said to have “mastered the ability to shift musical shapes using myriad ideas to bring new life into classic jazz tunes” – will play both original works and standards from the American Songbook. After the recital, the Grammy winner will join DACAMERA Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg for a live talk back. You can register for the free event here.

You may have caught Teresa Zimmermann across a number of Houston stages – maybe shining as one of the Hilton twins in Side Show, impressing with her voice in Violet, or as a “revelation” in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Now you can see Zimmermann in her own installment of Stages Studio Sessions on Friday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. The episode will premiere on YouTube Live and will be available on demand through Sunday. You can register for the premiere here or you can reserve yourself a socially distanced pod to watch it from The Brown Foundation Lawn at The Gordy for $25 per person. Sessions continue through April 18 with artists including Muhammad F. Khaerisman, John Ryan Del Bosque, Anna Maria Morris, and Carolyn Johnson.

Remember that saying about a woman scorned? The Alley Theatre will open a new, full-length digital production of the OG woman scorned this Friday, March 19, when they premiere Mary-Kay Gamel’s translation of Euripides' Medea. Resident Acting Company member Elizabeth Bunch will tackle the lead role in the free production, which runs through April 11. You can register for free here. The production will also be available with Spanish subtitles, and as part of the Alley’s El Zócalo initiatives, they will present an online panel discussion centered around Medea for bilingual theatregoers. You can join the first Community Cuentos y Charlas event on Friday, March 26, on Facebook.

Speaking of the Alley, if you haven’t caught Artistic Director Rob Melrose’s translation of Luigi Pirandello’s The Man with the Flower in His Mouth, it’s down to last call. Due to the big freeze, the Alley extended the run through this Sunday, March 21, but time’s about to run out. You can register to view the show here.

Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke leads the Houston Symphony in Musical Storytellers: Winds of the Houston Symphony this weekend.
Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke leads the Houston Symphony in Musical Storytellers: Winds of the Houston Symphony this weekend.
Photo by Bertuzzi Photography

On Saturday, March 20, at 8 p.m. the Houston Symphony will turn the spotlight toward their woodwind, brass, and percussion sections during Musical Storytellers: Winds of the Houston Symphony. The program includes works from jazz specialist Omar Thomas, film composer extraordinaire John Williams, and Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke, whose own Pilatus: Mountain of the Dragons will be performed. Associate Principal Trumpet John Parker says what he “likes most about the Musical Storytellers program, and wind ensemble music in general, is that none of the music fits into a preconceived mold of how the trumpet should function in the ensemble.” You can purchase a ticket to Saturday's livestreamed concert here for $20.

Peace is the word for the Houston Chamber Choir’s next concert, A Time to Journey Inward. Beginning Sunday, March 21, at noon you can view the program, which includes the American premiere of James Whitbourn’s “Solitude,” drawn from an Oxford priest, John Henry Newman, who was sainted by Pope Francis; a movement from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in b minor in celebration of the composer’s 336th birthday (also March 21); and a Pentatonix-arranged take on Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.” Local psychotherapist and writer Patti Henry will also be featured to offer advice on balance and inner peace. You can rent the concert for $9.99 or purchase unlimited access to the performance for $24.99. For more information about the Houston Chamber Choir Digital Stage, visit here.

DACAMERA presents jazz pianist Aaron Diehl in recital this weekend.EXPAND
DACAMERA presents jazz pianist Aaron Diehl in recital this weekend.
Photo by Ben Doyle

DACAMERA pops up on this list again because on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. they will present pianist Aaron Diehl in recital. Diehl will play Dick Hyman, Aaron Copland, and Mary Lou Williams, whose music was described as “perpetually contemporary” by the great Duke Ellington. The Williams piece on the program, Zodiac Suite, is a 12-movement work written in the 1940s with each movement representative of each sign of the zodiac and her musical friends that fell under each sign (for example, Ellington himself is evoked during “Taurus”). You can register to watch the free recital here.

If you’re in the mood for something “very,” check out the screening of Heathers over at Market Square Park on Wednesday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. You can watch the free screening of the Winona Ryder/Christian Slater cult classic from the safety of your own 8-foot wide circle on the lawn. Bring your own blankets or chairs and hunker down in your circle, which will give you just enough room to protect your neighbors from your endless quoting of this very quotable 1989 film. The Houston Downtown Management District will continue their spring run of 80’s and 90’s films through May, with future films like The Bodyguard, The Princess Bride, and Coming to America all on the schedule.

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