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The Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Rodeo Kickoff and Cinderella

Get in touch with the energy of the rodeo in downtown Houston at this year's Downtown Rodeo Parade.EXPAND
Get in touch with the energy of the rodeo in downtown Houston at this year's Downtown Rodeo Parade.
Photo by Lisandro Sanchez
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Dust off your western gear because rodeo season is here. That time of year that takes over all parts of Texas and lets Texans be the caricaturized version of themselves. Don your 10 gallon hats, your favorite pair of boots (hopefully already broken in) and your shiniest belt buckle. So even if you're not headed directly to the rodeo this is still the most acceptable time of year to wear your favorite gear and collect looks of admiration rather then the looks of confusion.

A tradition since 1938 the Downtown Rodeo Parade packs staple favorites every year, like the plethora of horses that gallop through the streets.EXPAND
A tradition since 1938 the Downtown Rodeo Parade packs staple favorites every year, like the plethora of horses that gallop through the streets.
Photo by Lisandro Sanchez

Some advice for Go Texan Day rookies: If you’re going to wear a brand-new pair of cowboy/girl boots for the citywide kickoff celebration for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™, please break those puppies in beforehand. Because by hour number four of an eight-hour workday, especially if you’re on your feet a bunch, you’ll be hating life, no matter how awesome you look in your (most likely) all-new western wear. Double bonus: Your feet will be much more comfortable the next day while running or walking in the 5k/10k Rodeo Run and taking in the Downtown Rodeo Parade — we’re told that the best viewing spots are from Louisiana to Smith and from Bell to Lamar. Go Texan Day is all day Friday.

The run, which costs $35, starts at 9:20 a.m. March 4 at the corner of Walker and Bagby and is followed by the free parade at 10 a.m. at the same intersection. For information, call 832-667-1000 or visit rodeohouston.com.

A fantasy love story of a vampire and a human, but will it have a happy ending?EXPAND
A fantasy love story of a vampire and a human, but will it have a happy ending?
Photo by Lawrence Peart

Oskar is a lonely boy who doesn’t have any friends and is bullied at school. A new girl moves in next door and, although she is about his age, she strangely doesn’t go to school. Unexplained killings occur in the neighborhood and, amid all that fear and tension, the two are drawn together. Let the Right One In is presented by the Alley Theatre, courtesy of the National Theatre of Scotland, and under the direction of John Tiffany (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), who has done this play to great acclaim elsewhere. “At the heart it’s a love story and they seem to sit quite well on our stages. A love story between two alienated people,” says Tiffany. There is, of course, a blood-curdling reason for all the killings, so be prepared for screams to resonate throughout the theater. “I love the challenge of putting vampires onstage and people biting each other’s necks,” Tiffany says. “All of that is like mother’s milk to me.” The Alley’s promotion says it is “recommended for fearless 15-year-olds, mature teens and up.” Let this eerie love story haunt your Saturday night.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. February 22 through March 19. 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $30 to $93.

The headlines these days give Bill Maher plenty of stage ammo, so the question is: where will he start?EXPAND
The headlines these days give Bill Maher plenty of stage ammo, so the question is: where will he start?
Photo by David Becker WireImage

Bill Maher has been doing this whole comedy thing for a long while, and somehow he’s still making the news. The stand-up and 14-year host of HBO’s Real Time recently raised the ire of the media after booking then-Breitbart writer and alt-righter Milo Yiannopoulos — a move Maher defended as simply his right to confront the opposition. And, weeks later, the stunt seems to have worked. The Odd Couple twosome had a spirited debate, Yiannopoulous came across as charming as a wrestling villain and the YouTube views speak for themselves: more than a million in less than a week. Now Maher is bringing his biting wit and humor to Smart Financial Centre in An Evening with Bill Maher, and he’s sure to draw inspiration from headline news and the dysfunction in Washington.

8 p.m. Saturday. 18111 Lexington, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit smartfinancialcentre.net. $49.50 to $150.

In one play, a man returns to his former home to present his wife with his new girlfriend and his wife decides some striking back is needed. Another takes a new look at Medea and the breakup of her marriage. Three other plays have a common theme of survival at their core: Detroit workers facing the foreclosure of their plant, a classically trained actress doing Shakespeare in Las Vegas and a Polish immigrant who needs some financial security. It’s all part of the 11-day inaugural play reading festival, 4th Wall Reads: Women’s Voices, featuring the works of five female playwrights, including Theresa Rebeck, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Talk-backs are moderated by Dr. Rob Shimko, director of the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance, and 4th Wall co-founder Kim Tobin-Lehl; there’s also a late-night poetry slam on March 4. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The variety is show times are there however this is our best bet for a great weekend closer on your Sunday afternoon.

Continuing 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 2:30, 7:30 and 10 p.m. March 4; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. March 11; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. March 2-12. 4th Wall Theatre Company, Studio 101, 1824 Spring. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit 4thwalltheatreco.com/reads. Free with reservations.

Ian Casady and Melody Mennite in Cinderella
Ian Casady and Melody Mennite in Cinderella
Photo by Amitava Sarlar

There are no flowing locks — well, at least not on the title character. “She’s a little more rough and tumble” than the Disney version, says Melody Mennite, principal dancer for the Houston Ballet, who dances the lead in Cinderella. As for the twist, the stepmother and stepsisters Grizabella and Florinda are played by men dancing en pointe. Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch, who created the choreography to Sergei Prokofiev’s beautiful music, takes a few turns with the storyline that are unexpected to those familiar with the classic version of girl meets Prince, loses shoe and wraps up with a happily-ever-after with the heir to the kingdom. “I just really like the heart of the story and the character,” says Mennite. “It feels much more genuine to me.” Take in the classic fairy tale that takes on Houston to give us the the magic that comes from the combination of ballet and classic love stories this Sunday.

7:30 p.m. Thursday. Continuing 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. March 4 and 11, 2 p.m. March 5 and 12, 7:30 p.m. March 10. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $25 to $195.

Margaret Downing, Steve Jansen and Vic Shuttee contributed to this post.

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