It wasn't easy, but the Houston Symphony snagged Seth MacFarlane for a one-night-only cabaret-style evening of crooning this Sunday. But before that all goes down, we've got a full weekend of fun in Houston, beginning with a dethroning and a few beheadings onstage at Main Street Theater. The fun kicks off early on Saturday, with hot muscle cars over at Memorial City Mall and the ultimate tailgating fiesta at NRG as The Suffers headline the kickoff to college football season. On Saturday night, don't miss the neon-colored spectacle with the super-awesome Foam Glow 5K™. And, for everybody who is off on Monday, have a safe Labor Day holiday.
Playwright Lauren Gunderson’s re-imagining of a time during the Reign of Terror in France unites four women trying to counter the craziness: playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, activist Marianne Angelle and former queen Marie Antoinette (and yes, you read that correctly). “Marie, we catch her right as she has been dethroned, a couple months before her untimely end,” says Gunderson, who describes The Revolutionists as “a ferocious comedy” set in 1793. Houston’s Main Street Theater is only the third theater in the country to produce this new work; it had great success with Gunderson’s Silent Sky last season. Olympe de Gouges is the hero of the story and in real life was one of the first feminists, Gunderson says. “She’s this incredible figure that [gave me] a way to talk about a lot of things I care about.” As for Corday: “She’s this amazing person who killed [Jacobin leader] Jean-Paul Marat with a steak knife. She’s this incredible assassin who’s this young fiery woman, and I thought, ‘You belong in a play.’” Angelle, the Caribbean woman, is an amalgam of several people who were fighting for freedom for Haiti from the French at the same time the French Revolution was going on. Directed by Andrew Ruthven, the play stars Bree Welch, Shannon Emerick, Molly Searcy and Callina Situka. And, of course, given the time period, there will be guillotines and beheadings. It all sounds like fascinating drama onstage, putting The Revolutionists on our list for Friday night entertainment.
7:30 p.m. Friday (preview). Opens September 3, continuing 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Through October 2. 2540 Times. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit mainstreettheater.com. $36 to $39.
One thing's a given – there's always a surprise at the early-morning round-up of Houston Coffee and Cars. Spotted (and ogled) at previous gatherings have been the Hennessey Venom, a classic D-Type tribute race car, and, one glorious year, the extremely rare but highly covetable Gumpert Apollo. It looks like we'll be seeing some Lamborghinis this Saturday, helping to cross-promote the 2016 Lamborghini Festival, coming up in October. Coffee and Cars is always free, and Memorial City has more than 1,300 spaces for display cars. If you're showing a car, enter through the Barryknoll Lane or Memorial City Way entrances, and remember: no burnouts and no revving, because we don't want to wear out our welcome.
The Coogs are going up against the Oklahoma Sooners, kicking off college football season and bringing the party to NRG Stadium. Our only problem? The tailgating begins at 7 a.m. at Bud Light FanFest, so we’re not sure if it’s better to just stay up all night or set our alarm clocks for the gawd-awful rooster-crowing crack of dawn. AdvoCare Texas Kickoff is nationally televised, with the game broadcast beginning at 11 a.m., and things are going to get loud. “University of Oklahoma is a huge brand; they have a tremendous alumni base here in the region. I anticipate both will be very well represented here,” says David Fletcher, director of Lone Star Sports & Entertainment and executive director of the Texas Bowl and AdvoCare Texas Kickoff. The FanFest zone is free for ticketholders, with The Suffers hitting the stage at 9 a.m. along with rapper Bun B.
7 a.m. Saturday. NRG Stadium, Two NRG Park. For information, call 832-667-2390 or visit advocaretexaskickoff.com. $45 to $170.
The same glow-tastic folks who brought us July's Blacklight Run™ are back at it, but this time it's the Foam Glow 5K™. There's not a whole lot of training involved – wear a white T-shirt and, as you walk, run or stroll through the three-mile course, pass through the orange-, pink- and blue-colored foam and watch yourself glow under the high-intensity black lights. Come out the other side, all tie-dyed up, and get down with a rockin' after-party, beats and more black lights. And don't worry, your kids won't be born with three heads or six fingers; the foam is 100 percent natural and nontoxic. VIP tickets get you a shirt, LED jelly rings, a bottle of liquid glow, shades and first crack at the course. Saturday's event benefits a local charity, so it's a good time for a good cause.
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Check-in starts at 5:15, the race begins at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West. For information, visit foamglow.com/houston-tx. $20 to $65.
Seth MacFarlane’s pretty busy. Beyond the usual gig writing and starring in his two long-running animated sitcoms, Family Guy and American Dad, he likes directing movies (Ted, A Million Ways to Die in the West), producing (Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos), hosting the Oscars, engaging in politics and cutting the occasional Grammy-nominated record. Now, he’s on tour. Lesley Sabol, director of popular programming with the Houston Symphony, was thrilled to grab the gifted multihyphenate for the only night he was free. “I had been trying for a couple years, just trying to find a date that worked with his busy schedule,” she says. Harkening back to bygone days of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Sabol describes MacFarlane’s act as a “crooner evening” with “cabaret-style interludes,” for those interested in seeing the singer flex his considerable comedic chops. For those in fear that MacFarlane’s raunchy roots might seep into Jones Hall, Sabol promises the night will be very family-friendly. “I think you might get a glimpse at [Seth’s] more cerebral, intellectual humor,” she says, “rather than just some dirty words.” This looks like a rare opportunity, putting baritone Seth MacFarlane on our list for a great Sunday night.
7:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $29 to $139.
Margaret Downing, Vic Shuttee and Bill Simpson contributed to this post.