Texas by Night
The Theater District
When people think of performing arts, most think of Broadway super productions with star-studded plays and marquees or turn their heads west to Hollywood, the mecca of motion films.
But Houston´s love for performing arts cannot be overstated. With eight performing art centers, and spanning seventeen full blocks dedicated to the arts, Houston has the second largest Theater District in America. The Actors Equity Association placed the city in the top ten best places for actors to live and work in America and is among the only five cities in the US to have permanent residency for companies in all major performing arts disciplines.
Here are five places you should not miss if you ever visit the Houston Theater District.
The Houston Grand Opera
510 Preston St #1504 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 228-6737
In 1955, the vision of many art-loving Houstonians was realized when Walter Herbert, a German entrepreneur, and several high profile Houstonians founded the Houston Grand Opera. Its first season premiered only two operas, but it was enough to start a tradition that still stands today.
Performances are held in various exciting venues spread across the Houston Theater District, allowing the HGO to present 6 to 8 productions every season.
The HGO also prides itself on stimulating original productions with local and national talent, and funds one of the most comprehensive training programs in the US in this genre.
The Houston Symphony
615 Louisiana St. Suite 102 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 224-75757
The Houston Symphony´s story is that of Ima Hogg, a strong woman who fought hard to leave a legacy of culture more than 100 years ago. It is now the oldest performing arts organization in the State of Texas. Its modest start was in 1913 with what some might consider an amateur band with part-time musicians and little experience. However, cellist and conductor Julien Paul Blitz garnered great reviews and continued performing.
Today, the Symphony is a respected award-winning institution with renowned artists from all around the world. The legacy of Miss Hogg has come a long way.
501 Texas Ave. at Smith Street Houston, TX 77002 (713) 227-2787
Since 1970, the Houston Ballet Orchestra has accompanied the dance company, and has 61 professional musicians who delight audiences both locally and when touring. It also has an extensive outreach program. The Houston Ballet Academy has over a thousand students and has won several awards throughout its history.
Theatre Under The Stars
800 Bagby St Suite 200 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 558-8887
As it often happens in Texas, this theater was founded by a bright entrepreneur who, in 1968, saw a unique opportunity to promote the arts.
At that time, Frank M. Young, a pre-med student, was involved with the Houston Grand Opera. He was passionate about the performing arts and wanted to offer something unique for the public. At that time the Miller Outdoor Theatre had been recently finished and the slow season was closing in. Young offered to put together a free show with the help of volunteering artists. It was an instant success and the Theatre Under the Stars was born.
Well, there you have it, Houston’s Theater District is rich and varied for entertainment
A few suggestions to spice up your coming weekend. Here’s my information about Houston’s downtown nightlife but be sure to check out the hours. Also, check out my take on other things to do downtown Houston and some cool information about the downtown Houston tunnels. And if you go the theater route, you might really enjoy a post-theater nightcap at one of Houston’s fine midtown bars.