When those Houston summers get too hot, it’s a joy to head into the theatrical shade for the coolest of live local theater. And each year it seems our theater companies are offering more and more selections and genres of shows to entertain every type of drama lover. So whether you’re looking for shows that sing, a world premiere story, silly comedy or even the type of thought-provoking sci-fi you won’t see at the multiplex, Houston theater has just the production for you.
So to get ready for four months of sizzling outstanding theater, check out our guide for all those can’t-miss shows.
Wanda, Daisy and the Great Rapture from The Landing Theatre Company and Obsidian Theatre (runs through June 9)
First presented in Houston during Landing’s 2017 New American Voices Play Reading Series, this magical realism story depicts two step-sisters struggling to remain connected with the world outside their South Carolina trailer as one parent has died and the other battles a mysterious illness. David Rainey, Landing’s artistic director and Alley company member, directs while Obsidian’s executive director Tom Stell, takes an acting turn onstage.
Replica at Stages Theatre (runs through June 10)
Mickey Fisher who has created several science fiction shows for television including Extant and the soon to debut Reverie brings this new scifi play to Stages. With help from a doctor/scientist, a dying woman signs on to a very experimental procedure in an attempt to hold on to her family. Spoiler hint: along with one of Houston’s dramatic favorites, John Feltch, the show stars identical twins Janna and Julie Cardia.
The Tamarie Cooper Show: Field Trip! from Catastrophic Theatre at the MATCH (June 20-August 12)
For some Houston theater-lovers, Cooper’s summer comedy/musical/cabaret of chaos is as much an annual tradition as Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker. This year she harks back to her early creative years when she and her crew performed on a school bus. Her fan legions have gotten too large to cram onto even a monster truck sized vehicle, so in this new show, the Catastrophic gang takes the audience on a comic metaphysical field trip, instead, to explore the meaning of life according to Tamarie.
Guys & Dolls from Theatre Under the Stars (June 12-24)
TUTS gets set to rock the boat with this new revival of the musical filled with gangsters, gamblers and the women who try to reform them. Nick DeGruccio, who last directed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights for TUTS, returns to Houston with a Latin-inspired reimagining of the 50s classic.
Sistas: The Musical at Ensemble Theatre (June 23-July 29)
Three sisters, their white sister-in-law and the daughter of one the sisters come together to prepare for the funeral of the family matriarch. The five women share memories, laughter and sorrow as they decide on the perfect song to celebrate their grandmother and all their lives.
Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash at Stages Theatre (July 11-September 2)
Stages Theatre begins their 2018-2019 season in the heat of the summer with the scorching music of Johnny Cash. This musical portrait of the man in black features over two dozen Cash hits, including “I Walk The Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “Ring of Fire.”
Holmes and Watson at Alley Theatre (June 22-July 22)
Sherlock Holmes is dead, or is he? Doctor Watson sets out to discover if one of three patients at a (probably mysterious) medical asylum is his old friend and the world’s greatest detective. Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, who also wrote Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club gives us this twisty, latest addition to the Holmes mythology.
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at Alley Theatre (August 10-September 2)
No long after Holmes and Watson solve their case, the Alley turns to the great dame of murder, Agatha Christie, to add even more mystery to the summer with their annual Summer Chills offering. Mousetrap, which has being running for 66 years on London’s West End, traps a group of strangers together in a boardinghouse during a snowstorm. Our guess is they won’t spend the evening having a lovely dinner followed by a restful night’s sleep.
The Cake at Alley Theatre (June 1-July 1)
Another work that Houston first discovered as part of a reading series, the Alley All New, in this case, this dramedy is cooked up by This Is Us writer/producer, Bekah Brunstettter. A bride goes back to her small hometown for her dream wedding and asks a family friend to bake the big cake. But what happens when the baker, who’s also about to compete in a reality show baking contest, objects to making a cake for a wedding with two brides? Comedy and moral quandaries are just icing on the cake of this sounds-delicious Alley offering.
Buyer & Cellar at Main Street Theater (July 14-August 12)
This one-man show chronicles the unlikely (and entirely fictional) friendship between Barbra Streisand and a struggling actor hired to watch over her basement filled with glorious possessions. Not-as-struggling actor Doug Atkins plays both sides of this friendship, actor/cellar curator Alex More and Queen Babs herself.
Shakespeare in Vegas from 4th Wall Theatre (run through June 9)
Summer always brings Shakespeare to Miller Outdoor Theatre, but to get us ready, 4th Wall gives us some comic insight into the lengths a serious Shakespearean actor will go to play all the great roles. She might even join a Vegas acting company backed by a wise guy producing the classics to honor his mother.
Houston Shakespeare Festival at Miller Outdoor Theatre (July 27-August 5)
Since 1975, the University of Houston School of Theatre has brought together local and nationally acclaimed artists to deliver to Houston free performances of the Bard’s greatest (and occasionally lesser known) plays. This year, the Festival will present quite the difference in tone with arguably literature’s greatest tragedy, Hamlet, and one of Shakespeare’s broadest, yet timeless comedies, the Comedy of Errors, featuring not one, but two set of identical twins for the height in mistaken identity hijinks.