Wednesday, the Houston Symphony announced updates to its schedule, and the orchestra's highly anticipated return to Jones Hall after a series of Harvey-related repairs to the venue forced it to relocate or cancel several productions. A prepared statement mentioned the ongoing repairs to the 51-year-old venue had necessitated this decision to delay the Symphony's return.
It's a good news/less-than-good news scenario.
First, the good news. The Hook’d: Pirates in Concert! will go on. Originally planned for Saturday, October 7, the event has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 11, at 10 and 11:30 a.m. at Jones Hall. According to Amanda Dinitz, the symphony's interim executive director/CEO, the orchestra will return to the venue for a program led by Mozart's Symphony No. 41 ("Jupiter") from October 20-22.
Now, the south-of-pleasant news. Superhero Soundtrack, originally scheduled for October 6-8, has been canceled. This follows the cancellation of Ella at 100, making Broadway Today the kickoff to the 2017-18 BBVA Compass POPS Series. It will run November 10-12 at Jones Hall.
Broadway Today features Betsy Wolf and Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan as guest entertainers. Both possess solid Broadway chops; Wolf is the current star of Waitress, and Jordan played in Newsies.
The show promises to celebrate the best of the Great White Way, with songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Once, Chicago, The Book of Mormon, Les Misérables and the showstopper “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret.
This news marks a much-anticipated return to Jones Hall for the group. Like many arts groups in the Theater District, it was forced to cancel shows that were scheduled leading up to and immediately after Harvey.
Once it had the time to regroup, the Symphony was able to work out deals to host most of its programming at Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall. It also worked with the University of Houston to host Garrison Keillor at Cullen Performance Hall.
Like other groups helping the Symphony, the organization also did its part to pitch in. The group gave a weekend’s worth of free concerts once it moved into the Rice University space. Musicians performed at relief centers around town for several days, and a woodwind quartet provided entertainment at a community event in south of Houston that provided free pizza to area residents.
"Our friends at Rice University and University of Houston have done an incredible job not only accommodating our rehearsals and performances, but also making sure our patrons, musicians and guest artists feel comfortable and at home," says Dinitz. "We couldn’t have offered such wonderful concert-going experiences if not for the support of these institutions. We will be forever grateful for their generosity, partnership and flexibility in these times of need."
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The company’s new composer-in-residence, Jimmy Lopez, in a previous interview, mentioned something quite fitting for the Symphony’s efforts to help provide comfort to others even though it was temporarily displaced.
“Houston has been through some tough times, and I want to be a part of that recovery. Houston is resilient,” he said. "I think music has a power to heal, and I’m glad the musicians have decided to go on and the management has decided to continue. We all want to go back to normal.”
"The Houston Symphony is and will always be Houston’s Symphony, and we’re prouder than ever to serve this resilient community with exceptional orchestral music," Dinitz adds. "Hurricane Harvey presented an incredible challenge for our community, so we will continue to do what we do best — help our city heal through the comfort and joy of music."
For more information, see houstonsymphony.org.