The Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Shakespeare and Soccer

Shakespeare, soccer and sneakers, oh my. From highbrow to lowbrow and everything in between, this weekend in Houston is quickly shaping up to have something for everybody. Take your pick of free Shakespeare on the hill all weekend, witness WWE's in-ring action with Shinsuke Nakamura, and see what's new when avid sneakerheads converge at NRG. They're turning on the new splash pad over at Guadalupe Plaza Park, and there's also an opportunity to take Buster downtown, because both the Houston Dash and the Dynamo are offering dog-friendly events Saturday and Sunday. 
It’s summer in Houston, which means, of course, it’s time for the Houston Shakespeare Festival, put together by the University of Houston and played out at Miller Outdoor Theatre, and our selection for Friday night fun on the hill. This year the offerings are the comic Much Ado About Nothing and the historical play Henry V. “There’s something really great about how Much Ado and Henry fit together because they are both plays that feature soldiers in the context of war, so there’s battles looming in the background of Much Ado and battles very much on the front burner in Henry V,” says Rob Shimko, the festival’s executive director. “The really big-scale notions of war and human conflict are balanced against the very human-scale struggles of love and romance and personal ambition.” Much Ado’s time frame has been reset to 1898 in the Teddy Roosevelt Spanish-American War era, and Henry has the feel of being set in the past albeit with contemporary costumes, Shimko says. A number of former UH students who’ve gone on to professional careers are back for the two productions performed in repertory, including UH graduate Lenny Banovez (who now runs the award-winning Titan Theatre Company in New York City), who directs Henry V. Jack Young, the festival’s artistic director, directs Much Ado About Nothing. Demetria Thomas, a graduate of the UH theater master’s program, has returned to play Beatrice in Much Ado. “Beatrice is a very sharp, courageous woman. She has essentially sworn off men and marriage and love and is just determined to be her own woman. She also has a tongue that may or may not get her in trouble.” Thomas’s goal? “That people [in the audience] are so engrossed in the story, they don’t finish their bottle of wine.”

All performances begin at 8:15 p.m. Much Ado About Nothing: Friday and Sunday and August 2, 4 and 6; and Henry V: Saturday and August 3, 5 and 7. 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 281-373-3386 or Free. 

All eyes this Saturday are on the East End, when the newly renovated Guadalupe Plaza Park officially opens. The Greater East End Management District brought in a few professionals to test the new splash pad, giving it a kid-approved A-OK. Saturday's festivities, which kick off at 10 a.m., include mariachi, brinca-brinca jump houses, a bicycle rodeo and ice cream. After remarks from program participants, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Parks Director Joe Turner and District H Council Member Karla Cisneros will start the water for the splash pad. Diane Schenke, the district's president, says that the East End Farmer's Market has had a successful first year, and that new improvements in the area have led to better walking, biking and transit. "Guadalupe Plaza Park, in particular, will become a hub for cyclists and pedestrians, with several important trails and bikeways connecting to this beautifully renovated green space," says Schenke.

10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Guadalupe Park Plaza, 2311 Runnels. For information, call 713-928-9916 or visit Free.

There was a time when NXT was simply the WWE’s minor league, a place for up-and-coming superstars to get camera time and experience in front of live crowds. Fans paid attention because of the high-quality action, the solid storytelling and the chance to get in on the ground floor of the careers of future main eventers. But over time, NXT evolved into a full-fledged brand of its own, not quite on the same level as Raw and Smackdown, but still arguably the place to see the best in-ring action in the WWE. A performer like Shinsuke Nakamura isn’t just a good wrestler; he’s one of the ten best in the world. To see him in the relative intimacy of Revention Music Center this Saturday night is something of a miracle given he’s headlined shows in front of 30,000 fans in Japan. Pay-per-views may have the glitz, but NXT Live! is where the real excitement is if you’re a wrestling fan.

7:30 p.m. Saturday. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-230-1600 or visit $20 to $75.

There won't be any sad puppy dog eyes when you get ready to leave the house Saturday or Sunday if you take advantage of the Dash and Dynamo Dog Days of Summer package. Party with your pup two hours prior to the game in the Bud Light Beer Garden, meet the famous Leroy Golden frisbee dogs and maybe even fall in love with one of Emancipet's adoptable dogs. "We'll have little pools for the dogs, a costume contest and a lookalike contest," says Valerie Holland, senior manager of community relations and corporate communications. She says that if you look alike or dress alike, you might win some autographed prizes, but everybody who participates gets a dog leash, courtesy of Tito's Handmade Vodka. At game time, shuttles will transport your pups over to the just-down-the-street doggie day-care facility The Green Bone, then will shuttle them back afterwards. Saturday's match-up pits the Houston Dash against one of the top teams in the league, the Western New York Flash, so we're hoping the Dash stays hot. On Sunday, the Houston Dynamo battles the close-in-the-rankings San Jose Earthquakes, so we'll be trying to gain some points there.

7:15 p.m. Saturday (party begins at 5:15) and 7:45 p.m. Sunday (party begins at 5:45 p.m.). BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. For information, call 713-276-7500 or visit Fans must complete required forms before their pet visits The Green Bone.

Sneakerheads are jockeying for position at this Sunday's HTown Sneaker Summit, with a chance to buy, sell, trade, ogle and celebrate vintage and collectible fashion footwear in the so-big-it-happens-twice-a-year culture convention, with attendance in the thousands. Get a look at what's trending this year, including the Bait x Dreamworks x Diadora N9000 “Felix the Cat,” the Kendrick Lamar x Reebok Classic Leather and LeBron James Soldier X NIKEiD, plus accessories like Common Crown Threads' new "Mid-Reign" ankle socks and the new line of SoCal beach-inspired socks from Richer Poorer. It's the place to see and be seen, with an all-star lineup of Houston's best DJs, celebrity guests and thousands of hardcore fans hungry for the next big thing. Come bask in the glory of the world's largest community-based sneaker event this Sunday.

3 to 8 p.m. Sunday. NRG Center, 1 NRG Park. For information, visit; for tickets visit $20 to $60.

Margaret Downing and Cory Garcia contributed to this post.
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney