Houston Ballet kicks off its 50th anniversary season with the supernatural Giselle, the Houston Equity Festival explores the human connection in Wit, and Broadway powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth headlines NPR's Ask Me Another. Rounding out this weekend in Houston is an expo for indie gamers and designers, a doo-wop Stages production at Miller Outdoor, and the talented Music Boxers get brassy.
For tough as nails university professor Vivian Bearing, Ph.D., the pursuit of knowledge has always been more important than the human connection. That is, until she finds herself dying of ovarian cancer and realizes there's nobody to lean on: her parents are deceased, she never married, has no children and doesn't even have an emergency contact. Wit, a one act play that won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for playwright Margaret Edson, is presented locally by the Houston Equity Festival during its 20th anniversary season. Is there one more lesson for this sarcastic patient with a quick wit and love of John Donne's sonnets? Will she recognize the value of human kindness before it's too late? You'll have to see for yourself, but word on the street is that audience members will definitely leave with a deeper appreciation for the loved ones in their orbit. Directed by Vance Johnson, the play stars Pamela Vogel as Dr. Vivian Bearing, Tracy Ahern as Susie Monahan R.N., Gabriel Regojo (one of our talented young actors to watch) as Dr. Jason Posner, and John William Stevens as Harvey Kelekian M.D. Authentic props, too, courtesy of Medical Bridges Inc. which works to bridge the healthcare gap by distributing medical equipment to underserved communities.
Performance of Wit are scheduled for September 5-15 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays at MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org/events/2019/wit or daingeist.wixsite.com/htownequityfestival. $29.
Travel back to the 1960s with Stages Repertory Theatre when it brings doo-wop favorites to the Hill as Denny and the Dreamers try to make it to the big time by entering the Big Whopper radio contest. Upbeat and fun, Life Could Be A Dream offers plenty of excuses for these crooning buddies to sing classic favorites including "Earth Angel," "Unchained Melody," and "Only You." Our prediction? We'll have a few next-gen converts for this genre of music before the curtain goes down.
Performances of Life Could Be A Dream are scheduled for September 6-7 at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, visit milleroutdoortheatre.com or stagestheatre.com. Free.
Ballet isn't always sugary sweet, and there's no further proof than in the classic Giselle with its supernatural death corps known as Willis — comprised of virgins who died before being married — whose vengeful goal is to dance men to death. Giselle is the Houston Ballet's first offering of its 50th anniversary season, with choreography by Artistic Director Stanton Welch, and we'll see Principals Yuriko Kajiya and Connor Walsh reunited as the betrayed Giselle and unfaithful Duke Albrecht. The production is beautiful and haunting, with familiar themes of love and betrayal, faithfulness and redemption — and the choreography by Welch has expanded the production to include extra music.
Performances of Giselle are scheduled for September 6-15 at 7 p.m. September 6, 7:30 p.m. September 7 and 13, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. September 14, and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $25-$200.
It looks like Houston won the lottery with NPR's Ask Me Another Texas Tour. With different VIP guests at each stop, Houstonians will see Emmy and Tony Award winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth take on her own Ask Me Another Challenge. The film, television and stage superstar is funny and talented, taking this ultimate rodeo of trivia, comedy and music to new heights. During the evening, host Ophira Eisenberg will be inviting local contestants and the audience to test their wits and brainpower; house musician Jonathan Coulton is on tunage.
NPR's Ask Me Another Texas is scheduled for September 6 at 8 p.m. Friday at Cullen Performance Hall, 4300 University. For information, visit npr.org/about-npr/752738111/catch-nprs-ask-me-another-in-texas. $32 to $62.
Where Monopoly ends is where Euro-style board games like Carcassonne, Alhambra, Pandemic and Settlers of Catan enter the picture. It's easy to get lost in the mix with hundreds of city building, train, zombie, negotiation and other titles from which to choose; that's why we appreciate Game Theory Expo 2019 for shining its light on indie and small publishers. There's something for everybody here. Emerging game designers can attend workshops with pros, network or learn how to pour a resin dungeon; the featured guest is prolific game designer and illustrator Liz Courts. Players can try out new titles in the Ettin Games and Hobbies library, demo something from Skirmisher Publishing, or escape through RPG.
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Game Theory Expo 2019 is scheduled for September 6-8 from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday, midnight to midnight Saturday and midnight to 5 p.m. Sunday at Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake, 3000 East NASA Parkway . For information, call visit tabletop.events/conventions/game-theory-expo-2019. $25 to $80.
What does it take to truly pay tribute to the music of Chicago, Sinatra, Bruno Mars and the Temptations? Not more cowbell, silly; it calls for adding a three piece horn section and that's just what The Music Box Theater is doing for its third iteration of Keep It Brassy 3. The cast of Luke Wrobel, Cay Taylor, Kristina Sullivan, Rebekah Dahl and Brad Scarborough — also known as The Music Boxers or the Fab Five — will always freshen up and change recurring productions so even if you think you've seen Keep It Brassy before, you haven't seen this show. Last year's set list included a nice mix of Amy Winehouse, Etta James and Frankie Vallie; and Wrobel certainly has the gift when it comes to channeling Ol' Blue Eyes.
Performances of Keep It Brassy 3 are scheduled for September 7-October 18 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. September 22 and October 13 at The Music Box Theater, 2623 Colquitt. For information, call 713-522-7722 or visit themusicboxtheater.com. $31 to $41.