Things To Do

Best Bets: La traviata, Oedipus Rex and Serial Killers

Photo by Pin Lim / Forest Photography
Ginger Mouton and John Johnston in Main Street Theater’s production of The Best of Everything by Julie Kramer.
It’s International Museum Day but, if we may, let us suggest some other events that are worth your time between and around your trips to Houston’s many museums. This week we’ve got premiere plays, a self-proclaimed psychic, and an expert specializing in serial killers. Keep reading for the full list of this week’s best bets.

The lives of three women in a Manhattan secretarial pool try to have it all in The Best of Everything, a one-act play by Julie Kramer (based on a 1958 book turned 1959 film) that is now making its regional premiere run at Main Street Theater this month. Kramer recently spoke with the Houston Press and said that the book was “an inspiration for Mad Men. I think people like these stories about back-talking dames and the cads who ruin them. I love these stories about girls in the city making their way and being witty and fabulous and broken. I think it's just a timeless tale for better and worse." Performances will continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through June 18. Tickets can be purchased here for $35 to $59.

The controversial practice of bullfighting, now legal in only eight countries, gets a closer look in the Alley Theatre’s production Torera, about a woman who dreams of becoming a matador, on stage tonight, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. Playwright Monet Hurst-Mendoza recently told the Houston Press that she grew up attending bullfights with her grandparents, noting that it is “very similar to theater” and that her one-act, workshopped during last year’s Alley All New Festival, “is about coming of age and coming into yourself.” Performances of Torera will continue at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through June 4. Tickets can be purchased here for $51 to $74, and note that performances on May 19 and 27, and June 3, will be presented with a simultaneous Spanish translation.

Theresa Caputo, the star of the reality TV show Long Island Medium, is bringing her psychic act to the Wortham Theater Center on Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. for Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience. The self-proclaimed medium recently explained to the Houston Press that the evening will see her walking into the crowd and channeling spirits for two hours, saying, “I will actually randomly stop in front of someone and channel their departed loved ones. We have cameras that follow me around and a big screen set up, so no matter where someone is seated, they will be able to witness and experience this up close and personal.” Tickets are available here for $55 to $125. Pre-show VIP photo opportunities are also available as an add-on here for $75.
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Houston Grand Opera will bring their 2022-2023 season-opening production of La traviata to Miller Outdoor Theatre for two free performances.
Photo by Lynn Lane
Giuseppe Verdi’s self-sacrificing courtesan Violetta will grace the stage at Miller Outdoor Theatre on Friday, May 19, at 8 p.m. when Houston Grand Opera brings their 2022-2023 season-opening production of La traviata to Hermann Park. Soprano Meryl Dominguez will play the tragic Violetta in the three-act opera, with tenor Ricardo Garcia taking the role of her lover Alfredo and baritone Anthony Evans playing Alfredo’s meddling father. You can nab a seat in the covered area here beginning this morning, Thursday, May 18, at 10 a.m. or you can take a blanket or lawn chair and head for un-ticketed seating on the Hill. La traviata will not be livestreamed, but it will be performed a second time at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 20. Tickets to the Saturday night performance can be reserved here starting at 10 a.m. on May 19. Both performances are free.

The Houston Symphony – joined by the Houston Symphony Chorus, five vocalists and actor Kyle MacLachlan – will close their season a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s 1927 opera Oedipus Rex, the name of which is synonymous with patricide and incest, on Friday, May 19, at 8 p.m. Creative director Adam Larsen told the Houston Chronicle that visually the production is “really lush,” and though “that isn’t necessarily something that Stravinsky envisioned when he was talking about moving statues,” Larsen feels “like it really helps to provide a compelling world that surrounds all these characters.Oedipus Rex will be performed alongside Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet, Lili Boulanger’s “Of a Sad Evening” and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Helix.” The concert will be performed a second time at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 20. Tickets to either performance, both to be staged in Jones Hall, can be purchased here for $29 to $109.

The “appeal” of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, “is not hard to understand,” with the “ambition of the first movement, beauty of the second, the breathlessness of the scherzo, and relentless energy of the finale” never failing in impressing audiences. On Saturday, May 20, at 8 p.m. Mercury Chamber Orchestra will perform the Symphony, deemed by the composer himself as “one of the happiest products of my poor talents,” during Beethoven’s Seventh. Conductor Antoine Plante will lead the orchestra in the work, which will be paired with a suite from the Beethoven’s 1801 ballet The Creatures of Prometheus. Tickets to the concert can be purchased here for $10 to $76. If you can’t make it out to the Wortham Theater Center, you can buy virtual access, via Mercury at Home streaming, here for $20.
The author of Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World's Most Savage Murderers, Dr. Scott Bonn, will stop by House of Blues Houston on Wednesday, May 24, for an evening titled The Psychology of Serial Killers. Bonn will analyze the psyche of well-known predators, as well as share his findings from communications with David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz and Dennis “BTK” Rader. For Bonn, it’s not just lurid fascination; he has said that “we as human beings are empathetic creatures, and we want to seek to understand and identify with all things – both the good and the bad,” adding “that the serial killer, in a way, is like a mirror reflection of ourselves.” Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets to this 18-and-up talk can be purchased here for $39.50 to $45.

Austin, Texas-raised author Ada Zhang when stop by Brazos Bookstore on Wednesday, May 24, at 6:30 p.m. to promote her first book, The Sorrows of Others. Zhang will discuss the collection of ten short stories, which explores “the intricacies of Chinese American families” and has been described as “remarkable” and a book that “will stay with readers,” during a conversation with Houston writer Chris Cander. On the subject of “the other,” Zhang has said “the feeling of being otherly is pretty essential to being a person. I think it accounts for a lot of our loneliness. But I think that is amplified for marginalized people and people whose lives don’t fit in to whatever the mainstream convention is.