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Houston Performing Arts and Events February 2012


Dancers Melody Mennite and Connor Walsh in Cinderella. photo courtesy of Amitava Sarkar

Cinderella

HOUSTON BALLET, BEGINNING FEB. 23

Houston Ballet presents Stanton Welch’s staging of Cinderella, set to Sergei Prokofiev’s classic score, from Feb. 23-March 4. A fresh new take on the familiar tale, Cinderella features lavish scenery and spectacular costumes by the late New Zealand designer Kristian Fredrickson. In Welch’s staging, Cinderella is no downtrodden waif, but a gutsy tomboy who stands up for herself to fight against her stepsisters, and in the end chooses love over money in a twist to suit the 21st century. Houston Ballet will give seven performances at Wortham Theater Center. Tickets can be purchased by calling 713-227-2787 or visiting houstonballet.org.

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Fauré Quartett (photo courtesy of KASSKARA)

Fauré Quartett

HOUSTON FRIENDS OF MUSIC, FEB. 20

The Fauré Quartett appears on Feb. 20 for the first time as a Houston Friends of Chamber Music attraction. The quartet was founded 17 years ago in Germany and has achieved whirlwind success since then with extensive world touring, multiple festival prizes, and a Deutsche Grammophon recording contract that has resulted in CD’s of works by Mozart, Brahms, Dvorak, Schumann and Mendelssohn, among others. For more information, visit houstonfriendsofmusic.org.

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Cody Slaughter as Elvis Presley; Martin Kaye as Jerry Lee Lewis; Lee Ferris as Carl Perkins; and Derek Keeling as Johnny Cash in the national tour of Million Dollar Quartet. photo by Broadway.com

Million Dollar Quartet

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA, BEGINNING FEB. 28

Million Dollar Quartet is the smash hit musical from Broadway, inspired by the true story of the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time.

This thrilling musical brings you inside the recording studio with four major talents who came together as a red-hot rock ‘n’ roll band for one unforgettable night. Performances will be held from Feb. 28-March 4 at The Hobby Center. To purchase tickets, go to broadwayacrossamerica.com.

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Vienna 1828: Schubert’s Invitation Concert

DACAMERA OF HOUSTON, FEB. 4

It was not until the last year of Schubert’s life that a public concert in Vienna was devoted solely to this extraordinary composer’s works, a program at the Gesellschaft that presented vocal, choral and chamber works. Da Camera recreates this historic musical event on period instruments including an 1820s Viennese-style fortepiano.

Schubert-selected songs include Auf dem Strom for tenor, horn and piano; Standchen (D. 920b) for contralto and chorus; Schlachtlied (D. 912) for double chorus of male voices; and Trio No. 2 in E-flat Major (D. 929). The performance will be held at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. To purchase tickets, go to dacamera.com.

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Transference: Andy Paiko & Ethan Rose

HOUSTON CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY CRAFT, BEGINNING FEB. 4

Spinning glass vessels scale the walls and fill the small gallery with ethereal music in Transference, a multimedia installation at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. On view Feb. 4-May 13, this collaborative exhibition by glass artist Andy Paiko and experimental sound artist Ethan Rose explores the aural potential of glass vessels.

Transference is based on the artists’ mutual interest in recovering and repurposing forgotten objects and technologies. In past works, Paiko, a glassblower, has recontextualized bell jars, reliquaries and absinthe fountains, filling them with contemporary and personal meaning. Similarly, Rose’s musical compositions have combined modern electronics with obsolete instruments such as music boxes, pipe organs and player pianos.

In this piece, the duo derives its inspiration from the history of glass musical instruments, particularly the glass armonica and glass harp. The 18th-century takes on the “singing wine glass” consisted of a series of glass bowls, goblets or tubes of different sizes, which performers played by rubbing a moistened finger along the lip of the vessels to elicit a range of musical tones. In Transference, Paiko and Rose have removed the performer and mechanized the process, quite literally transferring the glass armonica’s historical format to fit a contemporary context. For more information, go to crafthouston.org.

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Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet

SOCIETY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, FEB. 4

After a 26-year hiatus, Canada’s premier ballet company returns to Jones Hall with its full-length, smash hit ballet. With high-kicking choreography, gorgeous costumes and sets, and an incredible French “soundtrack” ranging from La Vie en Rose to Debussy’s Claire de lune to Offenbach’s Gaite Parisienne. Moulin Rouge ® – The Ballet is a passionate story of love, ambition and, ultimately, heartbreak.

It’s turn of the century Paris where the heady elixir of personal freedom bred lifestyles both reckless and addictive. Drawn to the passion of Paris, a flame fueled by the hearts of lovers and the souls of poets, would-be artist Matthew and dancer Nathalie tempt fate as they seek love at the infamous cabaret, The Moulin Rouge®. The Feb. 4 performance will be held in Jones Hall. To purchase tickets, go to spahouston.org.

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Bring It On: The Musical

THEATRE UNDER THE STARS, THROUGH FEB. 5

Bring it On: The Musical is the explosive new musical comedy that raises the stakes on over-the-top high school rivalries. Set against the world of competitive cheerleading, this powerhouse new show hilariously proves that winning isn’t everything when it means losing something — or someone — you really care about. Performances through Feb. 5. For more information, visit tuts.com.

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The Seagull

ALLEY THEATRE, BEGINNING FEB. 8

Chekhov created, in his 1895 play that describes the romantic entanglements of a group of actors, writers and artists gathered on a Russian estate, one of the enduring masterpieces of the world theater. The Seagull’s ensemble cast includes James Black as the novelist Trigorin and Josie de Guzman as the actress Arkadina. This production includes mature themes, and is recommended for general audiences. Performances run Feb. 8-March 4 on the Neuhaus Stage. For additional information, visit alleytheatre.org.

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La Traviata

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA, THROUGH FEB. 12

Love, sacrifice and redemption: La Traviata’s dazzling heroine embodies all three in one of opera’s most beloved stories.

The story of Violetta Valéry, a Parisian courtesan who makes the fatal mistake of falling in love, has defined romantic tragedy since La dame aux Camélias, the Dumás novel that inspired Verdi, appeared in 1848.

Verdi’s opera paints a picture of a glittering Second Empire Paris, the serenity of Violetta’s country estate and the heroine’s fate on a cold, pre-Lenten morning. The opera is sung in Italian with projected translations. Performances will be held through Feb. 12 in Brown Theater I. For more information, go to houstongrandopera.org.

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Revelation: Major Paintings By Jules Olitski

THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON
BEGINNING FEB. 12

Widely regarded as one of America’s last classic modern painters, Jules Olitski (1922-2007) created brilliant color harmonies and chromatic shifts that became one of the hallmarks of Color Field Painting. Olitski enjoyed enormous acclaim in the 1960s and ’70s. In 1969, he was the first living American artist to be given a solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This exhibition offers a selective survey of approximately 35 paintings, ranging from the artist’s first forays into stain painting beginning in 1959 to his visionary last compositions in 2007. Revelation will be on view through May 6. For additional information, visit mfah.org.

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The Toxic Avenger

ALLEY THEATRE, THROUGH FEB. 12

The Toxic Avenger is a charming love story and laugh-out-loud musical that has it all —an unlikely hero, his beautiful girlfriend, a corrupt New Jersey mayor, an onstage band, and two guys who play … well, everyone else … bullies, mobsters, old ladies, and stiletto-wearing back-up singers. The Toxic Avenger features music from David Bryan and book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, the Tony Award-winning team of Memphis.

This production is not recommended for children under 10 due to language. Performances will be held through Feb. 12 on the Hubbard Stage. For more information, go to alleytheatre.org.

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

MASQUERADE THEATRE, BEGINNING FEB. 17

Based on the popular 1988 film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels follows two men living on the French Riviera and, of course, a dame. A hilarious battle of cons ensue, that will keep audiences laughing, humming and guessing to the end. Performances run Feb. 17-26 at Zilkha Hall. To purchase tickets, go to the hobbycenter.org.

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Hedda Gabler

THE COMPANY ONSTAGE, THROUGH FEB. 18

In Henrik Ibsen’s classic, Hedda Gabler returns from a long honeymoon dissatisfied and bored by her aspiring, academic husband. She foresees a life of tedious convention, so aided and abetted by her predatory confidante, Judge Brack. As a result, Hedda begins to manipulate the fates of those around her with devastating effect.

Catch one of this drama’s performances through Feb. 18. To purchase tickets, visit companyonstage.org.

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Shadowlands

TEXAS REPERTORY THEATRE, THROUGH FEB. 19

The life of famous British author and scholar, C. S. Lewis is the basis for William Nicholson’s inspiring play of love, family and faith. Lewis’ carefully guarded academic world is challenged by his friendship with the outspoken American poet, Joy Gresham. Lewis, a committed bachelor, Christian and Oxford professor, finds himself relearning the true meaning of life. In Shadowlands, their unlikely romance raises elemental questions about God and love, life and death, happiness and the meaning of family. To purchase tickets, go to texreptheatre.org.

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Mistakes Were Made

STAGES REPERTORY THEATRE, THROUGH FEB. 19

Passion is at a premium in Craig Wright’s funniest play, Mistakes Were Made, a story about the impulse to create art in a complex and commercial world.

Producing theater has never been easy. Just ask Felix Artifex, he’s a high-octane producer juggling Hollywood’s hottest star, Broadway’s break-out playwright, and an urgent problem with a truckload of sheep. Felix navigates the merry minefield of artistic egos and American foreign policy to develop what just may be the world’s greatest play ever. Performances through Feb. 19. For additional information, go to stagestheatre.com.


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