Arts & Entertainment

 

Christoph Eschenbach conductor Photo credit LucaPiva

HOUSTON (Feb. 17, 2017) – Former Houston Symphony Music Director Christoph Eschenbach returns to Houston to conduct a spiritually-uplifting program of works by Austrian composer Anton Bruckner at 8 p.m. March 3-4, and 2:30 p.m. March 5.

Eschenbach is best known by Houston audiences for heightening the orchestra’s national and international reputation in addition to broadening its repertoire during his time as music director from 1988-1999. Under his leadership, the orchestra toured Japan and Europe several times and made several recordings with Koch International Classics, Virgin Records, RCA Red Seal, Telarc, and Carlton Records. Eschenbach is credited with supporting young talented musicians and helping launch the careers of many of today’s most popular classical artists including pianist Lang, cellist Claudio Bohórquez, and soprano Marisol Montalvo.

The Houston Symphony Chorus and young vocalists Lindsay Russel, Zoie Reams, Jack Swanson and Kyle Albertson will join Eschenbach and the orchestra to perform Bruckner’s grandiose first symphony and thunderous Te Deum, based on an ancient Latin text praising God. Making their Houston Symphony debuts, Russel, Reams, Swanson and Albertson are among the next generation of opera virtuosos who have already made a name for themselves in Houston.

Young Artists Make Their Houston Symphony Debuts

Soprano Lindsay Russell is quickly gaining recognition in the opera world for her strong acting ability and vocal versatility. Currently in her first season on the Houston Grand Opera’s roster, Russel has starred as Addie Mills in The House Without a Christmas Tree, appeared in its production of It’s a Wonderful Life and sang the roles of Bettie/Bea in the world premiere of David Hanlon’s new opera After the Storm with HGOco.

In her first year as a studio artist with the Houston Grand Opera, mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams has been a featured artist in the world premieres of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life and Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges, in addition to John Adam’s Nixon in China. Reams joined the Houston Grand Opera after competing with almost 600 young opera professionals from across the country for the opportunity to study and perform under the HGO’s highly respected staff of teachers and performers.

A graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, tenor Jack Swanson is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after voices in the opera world. He was a finalist in both Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum competition and Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Competition. In 2015, Swanson made his debut at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and in 2016, he performed scenes from Rossini’s La Cenerentola with HGO studio artists and world-renowned mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato, at the Houston Grand Opera’s 60th anniversary gala.

Bass-baritone Kyle Albertson is known for his versatile voice, confidence, style and ability to bring a character to life. After singing Mr. Rodriguez in Past the Checkpoints with HGOco, Albertson made his Houston Grand Opera main-stage debut as Sacristan in Tosca and most recently appeared in its two productions of Manon. Additionally, recent debut performances in Texas include roles as Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Fort Worth Opera and Zuniga in Carmen at the Dallas Opera. As a concert artist, Albertson’s solo performances include a concert version of Der Rosenkavalier with Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.

ESCHENBACH CONDUCTS BRUCKNER

Friday, March 3, 2017, at 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 4, 2017, at 8 p.m.

Sunday, March 5, 2017, at 2:30 p.m.

Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

Lindsay Russell, soprano

Zoie Reams, mezzo-soprano

Jack Swanson, tenor

Kyle Albertson, bass-baritone

Houston Symphony Chorus

            Betsy Cook Weber, director

Bruckner: Te Deum

Bruckner: Symphony No. 1

Tickets from $25

 

All performances are always free

Fun facts and frequently asked questions at the bottom

HOUSTON ─ Since 1923, Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park has been one of Houston’s most beloved cultural treasures, a gathering place for the community and the site of thousands of memorable free performances.  That’s over 90 years of memories.

Miller is unique in the United States, offering an eight month season of professional, artistically-excellent and culturally diverse entertainment completely FREE of charge to the public. This is the largest “always free” program of its kind in the country and it attracts hundreds of thousands each season.

From daytime programs especially for young children to family friendly evening performances of classical music, jazz, ethnic music and dance, ballet, Shakespeare, musical theatre, popular concert artists, films and more, this is Houston’s best entertainment value.

 

For more information go to www.milleroutdoortheatre.com

 

FOOTLOOSE, The Musical

March 30, 31 and April 1, 6, 7, 8 at 8 p.m.

Lose your blues, cut loose, and kick off your Sunday shoes as HITS Theatre presents the finger-snapping, toe-tapping musical, FOOTLOOSE.

One of the most explosive movie musicals in recent memory bursts onto the live stage with exhilarating results. When Ren and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school. What he isn’t prepared for are the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, determined to exercise the control over the town’s youth that he cannot command in his own home. When the reverend’s rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren’s reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid.

The heartfelt story that emerges is of a father longing for the son he lost and of a young man aching for the father who walked out on him. To the rockin’ rhythm of its Oscar and Tony-nominated top 40 score and augmented with dynamic new songs for the stage musical, FOOTLOOSE celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Produced by HITS Theatre

 

Concert Band & Soldiers’ Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band

April 14 at 8 p.m.

 

The Concert Band & Soldiers’ Chorus are the oldest and largest of The U.S. Army Field Band’s performing components. Founded in 1946 and 1957 respectively, these two ensembles combine to present joint concerts on their national tours. They have performed in all 50 states and 30 foreign countries for audiences totaling hundreds of millions.

Their mission is to serve and inspire the American people by telling the Army story and honoring our Soldiers and Veterans at home and abroad as The Musical Ambassadors of the Army.

Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DADmZdbQ9x8

The 65-member Concert Band and 29-member Soldiers’ Chorus perform regularly in some of the most famous concert halls in the world, and just as often in the humblest auditoriums in the smallest of communities. The joining of these two ensembles allows them to offer unparalleled versatility of programming, ranging from orchestral masterworks and operatic arias to Sousa marches, jazz classics, and Broadway musicals.

The band and chorus also perform independently, and have recently shared the stage with such ensembles as the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra. In addition to their national tours, formal concerts, chamber recitals, and educational outreach, members of the Concert Band & Soldiers’ Chorus frequently represent the Army at formal and ceremonial functions, including the Presidential Inaugural Parade, presidential funerals, the Army All American Bowl, and diplomatic efforts overseas.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Presented by Miller Outdoor Theatre

  

Houston’s Got Bollywood – The Red Carpet

April 15 at 8:15 p.m.

 

NAACH Houston brings you a brand new India House production with the sheer global spirit of Bollywood Dance Theatre, conceived and directed by Mahesh Mahbubani.

Lavish costumes, innovative choreography, dynamic dancers and breathtaking visuals are all woven together, creating a spectacular Bollywood theatrical production.

  1. NIGHT AT THE MOVIES – a tribute to the spirit of Bollywood cinema, showcasing a variety of song and dance using different situations from Indian films.
  2. MAUSAM – SEASONS – Celebrating the four seasons, Bollywood style.
  3. LA GALLERIA D’ARTE – This act is inspired by Indian paintings.
  4. SUPERSTAR – Capturing the sheer essence of a superstar.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Produced by India House and NAACH Houston

 

Charlotte’s Web

April 19, 20 at 11 a.m.

 

“Friendship is one of the most satisfying things in the world,” says Wilbur the pig in Charlotte’s Web. And he should know. His life is saved by his kind and ingenious friend Charlotte — a barn spider with some serious web-weaving skills!

This adaptation of E. B. White’s classic children’s story features enchanting characters, including Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton the rat, and Fern — a young girl determined to help her pet pig avoid becoming bacon!

Charlotte’s Web is presented by A. D. Players, one of Houston’s oldest resident theater companies.

Seating for daytime performances is on a “first come, first served” basis for the covered seating area. NO TICKETS ARE NECESSARY. NO RESERVATIONS CAN BE MADE. As always, open seating on the hill. The show goes on rain or shine. More information for school groups can be found ere.

Produced by AD Players

 

Music That Should Be Danced

April 21 at 8 p.m.

 

“This unique showcase of inspired new collaborative works by Houston musicians and dancers reflects our city’s richly diverse creative spirit and includes the premiere of a work commissioned and choreographed for Foundation for Modern Music (FMM)’s resident performing group, Avalon Ensemble and dancers.

Juxtaposition of various music and dance styles of multiple cultures alongside “serious” classical art music is FMM’s way of departing from a typical stuffy concert atmosphere — a signature of the organization that reflects Houston’s unique embrace of our wonderfully varied treasures.

Participants include Greenbriar Consortium, Houston Symphony musicians, HSPVA, Meyerland Middle School Dance Dept., Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA), Urban Souls Dance Company, and more.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Produced by Foundation for Modern Music

 

Che Malambo

April 22 at 8 p.m.

 

This powerhouse all-male Argentinian dance company excites audiences with their percussive dance and music spectacle: a dynamic blend of precision footwork, rhythmic stomping, drumming, and song born from the heart of the South American gaucho (cowboy) tradition.

Malambo began in the 17th Century as competitive duels that tested skills of agility, strength, and dexterity among the gaucho. It soon evolved to include its hallmark zapeteo — the fast-paced footwork inspired by the rhythm of galloping horses. In addition to zapateo, Malambo features the drumming of traditional Argentine bombo, and whirling boleadoras — a throwing weapon made up of intertwined cords weighted with stones.

Che Malambo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D29JCHlioPI

Che Malambo, created by French director and choreographer Gilles Brinas, has been thrilling audiences around the world since its premiere in Paris in 2007. Brinas first learned about Malambo while researching traditional dances. He soon fell under its spell and travelled to the Pampas region of Argentina to engage with the gaucho and further his exploration of their traditions. Inspired by the dance and the talent of its exponents, he created Che Malambo to share this powerful, passionate form with international audiences.

Gilles Brinas is a dancer, director, and choreographer and has performed with prestigious dance companies throughout Europe, including Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon (under the direction of Vittorio Biagi and Miklo Sparemblek), the Ballet of the Twentieth Century by Maurice Béjart at La Scala in Milan (choreographer Amedeo Amodio), the Grand Ballet de France, and in the company of Robert Hossein (choreographer George Skibine). In addition to founding the Ballet DEA in 1979, Brinas has choreographed works for Beinnale de la Danse. Among his many honors are awards from the Bagnolet competition and the Charles Oulmont Foundation.

Don’t miss this thrilling production of Che Malambo!

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Presented by Miller Outdoor Theatre

 

Swing, Jive and Pop! Into Dance

April 26 at 11 a.m.

METdance’s “Swing, Jive & Pop! Into Dance” incorporates history, fashion, music, and the arts in an interactive blast of excitement. The company dances its way through the eras — Lindy Hops through the 1930s, bops into the 1950s, grooves into the 1970s, and revs things up with the Hip Hop music of today.

Students, teachers, and audience members have the opportunity to converse with the dancers and participate in an energy-filled hour of dance while learning fun, historical tidbits of information along the way.

Seating for daytime performances is on a “first come, first served” basis for the covered seating area. NO TICKETS ARE NECESSARY. NO RESERVATIONS CAN BE MADE. As always, open seating on the hill. The show goes on rain or shine. More information for school groups can be found here.

Produced by METdance

Freedom Train

April 27 at 11 a.m.

A mother and son escape a plantation in Texas and journey to freedom along the Underground Railroad to Mexico in 1844.  Based on actual events in Texas history. Written by Celeste Bedford Walker and Tim Fried-Fiori.

Seating for daytime performances is on a “first come, first served” basis for the covered seating area. NO TICKETS ARE NECESSARY. NO RESERVATIONS CAN BE MADE. As always, open seating on the hill. The show goes on rain or shine. More information for school groups can be found here.

Produced by Express Children’s Theatre

East Meets West XV

April 29 at 8:15 p.m.

 

This performance is a collaboration between Dance of Asian America and some of Houston’s most elite dance companies including Texas Ballet Theatre, Revolve Dance Company, Houston Ballroom Company, Ad Deum Dance Company, Artisan Ballet Company, and FLY Dance Company.

 

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Produced by Dance of Asian America

 

Fun Facts and Frequently Asked Questions about Miller Outdoor Theatre

Where is everyone going?

Since 1923, Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park has been one of Houston’s most beloved cultural treasures, a gathering place for the community and the site of thousands of memorable free performances.  That’s over 90 years of memories!

Miller is unique in the United States, offering an eight month season of professional, artistically-excellent and culturally diverse entertainment completely FREE of charge to the public. This is the largest “always free” program of its kind in the country and it attracts hundreds of thousands each season.  From daytime programs especially for young children to family friendly evening performances of classical music, jazz, ethnic music and dance, ballet, Shakespeare, musical theatre, popular concert artists, films and more, this is Houston’s best entertainment value.

 

What to expect at Miller Outdoor Theatre?

Leave the neckties and high heels at home. Expect quality entertainment from around the world without the daunting dress code of a traditional theater. Miller Outdoor Theatre offers audiences a relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to enjoy one another’s company as well as a great performance.

 

The price is right. All performances are always free!

 

To the Right, or to the Left on the hill?

Take a family vote on where you’d like to sit to enjoy the performance. Tickets are not necessary for hillside seating. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome. Please note that lawn chairs must be placed on the left side of the hill. Sit on the right side of the hill if you prefer to sit on a blanket.

 

How do you get a seat in the covered seating area for evening performances?

Approximately 1,700 new seats were installed under the canopy in 2009. Admission is free for all performances. All evening shows (except movies) require tickets for admission for seats under the canopy. For those performances, assigned seat tickets are available, on a first-come basis and while supplies last, on the day of performance only between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the box office behind the theatre.  A maximum of four tickets per person over age 16 is allowed.  Any remaining tickets are released one hour before curtain. TICKETS MAY NOT BE RESERVED BY PHONE.

 

Can I lose my seat even though I had a ticket?

All unclaimed seats are released 5 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin. We encourage all patrons to be in their seats 15 minutes before show time to insure that their seat will not be released. Again, there is NO charge for tickets.

Please note: At management’s discretion, all unoccupied seats may be released at any time for any reason.  

 

How do you get a seat in the covered seating area for daytime performances?

The Daytime Children’s Series offers teachers and parents alike an excellent opportunity to expose youngsters to the delights of the performing arts with a series of productions designed especially for children.  Performances begin at 11 a.m. and last approximately 1 hour. No tickets are necessary for covered seating area. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Paper or Plastic?

You choose. But, definitely NO glass containers of any kind are allowed.

 

You’ll never go hungry here

Miller Theatre’s concession stand offers refreshments and other supplies for picnics. Purchasing concessions at Miller Theatre supports the free performances.

 

No Smoking

Miller Theatre is a NO SMOKING zone.  Smoking is not allowed in any City of Houston Park, including Hermann Park. No smoking at the theatre, on the plaza or on the hill. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

 

What to pack

Decisions, decisions…there are so many choices. Pack a picnic basket with fried chicken or caviar. It’s up to you. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Definitely bring the whole family.  Yes, you may even pack alcohol.  But please, leave the glass containers at home.

 

 

Event Will Showcase the Park’s Many Amenities and Activities, with Houston Mayor Turner in Attendance

The Levy Park Conservancy is holding a Grand “re-Opening” for Levy Park, free and open to the public, with an all-day celebration that promises something for everyone, including a concert by Grammy-Award winning Latin funk band, Grupo Fantasma. It will be a perfect opportunity to showcase this amazing urban park which should prove to be a destination for families from throughout the metropolitan area, as well as out-of-town visitors. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will assist with the ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. to kick off the event, which runs from 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Grupo Fantasma will close out the day with a concert on the new Pavilion stage beginning at 6 p.m.

At the celebration, expect to see programming that covers a wide range of areas: health and fitness, food and horticulture, performing arts, music, poetry and spoken word, literacy, natural science, animal rescue. You can hear a piano concert and other music and experience face painting, interactive displays, workshops with local organizations, gardening demos, food trucks, dance, yoga, and much more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Pets on leash are welcome. The event is rain or shine.

Levy Park is located at 3801 Eastside, Houston, TX 77098. Street parking is available on Wakeforest Avenue and Eastside Street, and garage parking is available at 2925 Richmond (entrance on Richmond) for $2/hour.

Renovation partners include: Levy Park Conservancy, Upper Kirby District Foundation, Upper Kirby Management District, Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority, Houston Parks & Recreation Department, City of Houston, Midway Companies, Office of James Burnett, Natalye Appel + Associates Architects, BRV (Biederman Redevelopment Ventures), Gunda Corporation and Burton Construction.

Go to levyparkhouston.org for more details about the Grand (re)Opening or call 713-522-7275.

  • Twitter: @levyparkhouston
  • Instagram: levypark
  • Facebook: LevyParkHou

Levy Park Amenities:

  • Performance Pavilion: A beautifully designed structure with an arching roofline, 1,600 square-foot stage, 23 skylights, nighttime up-lighting, and a mini-amphitheater for kids’ programs, family and public restrooms and a staff office.
  • Event Lawn: A 17,500 square-foot lawn that provides an audience area facing the Pavilion stage, accommodating up to 3,000 people for bands, symphonic orchestras, movie screenings, concert simulcasts, sports simulcasts, dance, and performances of all types.
  • Activity Lawn: A 22,000 square-foot lawn devoted to an unlimited range of activities, including a putting green, yoga, tai chi, fitness boot camp, petanque, badminton, fitness classes, imagination playground building blocks, picnicking, astronomy, etc.
  • Play Area: A 24,000 square-foot area devoted to kids, families and play, the Play Area includes non-traditional play features, including a climbing wall and seven-foot-wide slide, the Cosmo (a 14-foot climbing sphere), lighted tunnels, dance chimes, turning sculptures, a three-tiered water feature, a mini amphitheater, and the Overlook, a colorful boardwalk structure that winds gradually up into the live oak canopy.
  • Community Gardens: 27 community garden beds for volunteer cultivations of edible plants and flowers, including beds for classes and youth programs focused on sustainable agriculture, organics, healthy eating, and farm-to-table, plus cooking demos and collaborations with the park restaurant.
  • Dog Park, with sections devoted to large and small dogs, includes turf-covered mounds for play, trees for shade, a water feature, and a double-gated safety entrance.
  • Outdoor furniture, including bistro tables and chairs and rocking chairs, will serve visitors in every nook and corner of the Park
  • Foosball, ping pong, board games, art supplies, a reading rack with books and periodicals and professional piano players will be commissioned to play our moveable park piano.
  • 30 live oak trees, 60-70 years old, plus 180 newly planted trees, cover much of the park with a shady canopy, and provide cool spots for reading, eating and taking in the Park’s day-to-day activity.

Coming Soon:

  • Beer Garden: A refurbished double-decker bus will serve beer, wine and small food items, and seating and umbrellas will fill out a citrus grove garden surrounding the bus.
  • Food Kiosk: The second of three concessions will serve park goers rotisserie chicken, beverages and other food items in the northwest corner of the park.
  • Restaurant: Projected to be open in mid-2018, the Park’s restaurant will be an homage to all things grilled, roasted and slow-cooked.
  • Park-wide Wi-Fi, free and regularly available to the public.

LaDonna Gatlin

The Volunteers of OakBend Medical Center are holding their second Power of the Purse fundraiser to raise money that will be donated to the renovation of the hospital’s Skilled Nursing Unit.

Each year, the volunteers donate money that has been raised through various events such as craft and bake sales and through the sales of popcorn, pickles and items in the gift shop. Last year, the volunteers raised $17,000 at the Power of the Purse to help with renovations in the Skilled Nursing Unit, the only part of the original hospital.

This year’s event will take place on Thursday, April 6th from 11AM – 1PM at Safari Texas. The Power of the Pur$e event will include lunch and a silent auction of a variety of purses ranging from everyday purses to designer bags.

Melissa Wilson of Fox 26 will be emceeing the program. The keynote speaker this year will be LaDonna Gatlin. LaDonna, a native Texan, is the sister of County Music’s Gatlin Bros. and is a performer, professional speaker and author.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.oakbendmedcenter.org under the events section or call (281) 341-2864. For additional information for tickets or sponsorships email ldrummond@obmc.org.

 

Children’s Entertainment Center Makes Improvements to Better Family Experience 

Monkey Joe’s, a children’s entertainment center, announces the opening of eight new inflatables for children and toddlers in the Katy and Copperfield locations. In addition to the new obstacles, the local owners improved the location’s floorplans to create a more family-friendly environment, considering parents, children and toddlers.

Monkey Joe’s Katy installed three new jumps featuring a Monkey Joe’s themed Dual Slide, Pirate Ship and a new toddler Pirate Ship. In addition, the location made improvements to its party rooms with new party chairs and overall design updates and new interior paint. Monkey Joe’s Copperfield also installed new jumps for children and toddlers, including a super-sized Monkey Joe’s Fortress, Artic Plunge, Crayola Obstacle Course and two new toddler jumps featuring a Monkey Joe’s themed Candy Slide and Hello Kitty Jump.

The new owners of Monkey Joe’s Katy and Copperfield noticed parents were increasingly bringing both their elementary-school aged children and toddlers in to play, so they wanted to ensure children of all ages can have a safe and entertaining experience. The local owners also considered feedback from parents to create a designated Mini-Monkey Zone with special wrist-bands for children ages three and under, so that parents and younger children can easily enjoy their experience. In addition to opening new jumps, both locations updated its floor plans to add a dining area near the concession stand and to incorporate better pathways around the inflatables.

Monkey Joe’s offers a discounted admission of $4.99 to children ages two and under and offers a Toddler Tuesday discount, which includes $5 admission to children ages five and under, between 10am – 3pm. Monkey Joe’s Katy is located at 511-A S. Mason Rd., Houston, TX 77450.  Monkey Joe’s Copperfield is located at 15540 FM 529, Houston, TX 77095.

Operating hours are Monday – Thursday, 10am – 7pm, Friday – Saturday, 10am – 8pm and Sunday, 11am – 7pm. For more information, visit www.monkeyjoes.com.

 

March 27 event will raise funds for scholarships, subsidized programming

From left to right, Jennifer Ramsey, group exercise instructor at Monty Ballard YMCA, Ralph Fluker and Melanie Ellis, past board members for Katy Area YMCAs, and Bill Griffin, current Katy Area YMCA board member, pose after last year’s Spring Golf Classic Tournament.

Fort Bend County, Texas – On March 27, the Fort Bend Family YMCA, T.W. Davis Family YMCA, Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch, and the YMCA at Katy Main Street – all four located in Fort Bend County – will be hosting the 11th Annual YMCA Golf Classic, sponsored by Fort Bend Toyota and Sterling McCall Lexus.

The event will serve as a fundraiser for the YMCA’s Annual Campaign and ultimately provide support for scholarships and subsidized programming.

The YMCA is in the process of rounding up teams and sponsors who will support this charitable event. The deadline for signing up is March 20.

“We are excited to be teaming up once again with an organization that does so much for youth and families in our region,” said Joey Dupuis, a co-sponsor of the event and general manager at Sterling McCall Lexus.

This year, the tournament will be held at Pecan Grove Country Club with a shotgun start at 11:30 a.m.

The Y event will have a best ball scramble format and include several on-course competitions, including the Hit the Green Contest sponsored by Thom Polvogt Insurance Group. It will also include a lunch donated by Swinging Door BBQ and dinner donated by Macaroni Grill. Golfers will enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks during their rounds. And, each golfer will receive a goodie bag that includes a shirt, balls, snacks and more. During the dinner and awards ceremony, golfers can participate in both silent and live auctions.

Supporters already on board include: Fluor, Staff Force, NtheZone Photography, NRG-WA Parish Plant, and Direct Energy.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Annual Support Campaigns of the Fort Bend Family YMCA in Missouri City, the T.W. Davis Family YMCA in Richmond, the Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch, and the YMCA at Katy Main Street. Combined, the campaigns provide scholarships or subsidized programming for more than 7,000 youth, families and individuals in YMCA programs, outreach and memberships.

“With the generosity of those in the community, we can continue to serve our neighbors by providing educational and healthy experiences for all, regardless of a person’s ability to pay,” said Brian Haines, District Executive Director for the YMCA.

For information on available sponsorships or team registration call Connie Stirgus or Brian Haines at 281-392-5055.

Already planning their costumes for the Le Cirque Gala shown front row (L to R) are: Cynthia Barratt (holding Princess), Kay Carlin and Jacque Burgess (holding Max). Back row (L to R) are Thomas Mason, Marilyn Parker, George Haines and Clayton Reeves.

 OCuSOFT, Inc. will join Exchange Club of Sugar Land as Ringmaster Sponsor for Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s 17th annual gala – Le Cirque, a whimsical, fantastical ball on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. “We’ll have Cirque du Soleil style entertainment, a live auction, silent auction, raffle, wine pull, dinner and dancing,” stated Event Chair Lisa Moore. “New for this year is our magical, mystery jewelry pull. We’ve teamed with the folks at Kendra Scott for this fun, new addition to our event. Guests will pay $50 to select a box containing a piece of jewelry from Kendra Scott’s current signature collection worth at least $50 and up to $200.”

Michele Fisher will serve as the evening’s emcee. Ray Aguilar will be the auctioneer. Black tie and costumes are optional. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are available ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. Individual tickets are $150. To attend the Gala, become a sponsor or for more information, go to https://www.cafb.org/events/gala/sponsorship-opportunities/ or contact Lisa Moore at 281-344-5108 or lmoore@cafb.org.

Proceeds from the three-day outdoor fine art festival will benefit six local charities

The 2017 Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park, produced by the Art Colony Association, Inc. (ACA), has selected six local non-profits that will benefit from a portion of the proceeds of the event. The three-day celebration will be held Friday – Sunday, March 24- 26, 2017, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and will spotlight over 300 artists from 19 different disciplines in Memorial Park. “The Art Colony Association is dedicated to producing fine art festivals and providing financial support to its local non-profit partners,” said Bridget Anderson, Executive Director of Art Colony Association. “The support from our sponsors and festival attendees help us raise funds, and we are truly grateful for our success in supporting local charities during the past 46 years.” Each non-profit provides volunteers and has the option to host an art station in the Children’s Creative Zone.

The six non-profit partners benefiting from the 2017 Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park include:

• A Cause to Give us Paws
• ESCAPE Family Resource Center
• Fresh Arts • Lawndale Art Center
• Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
• The Arc of Greater Houston

As the nation’s premier outdoor fine art event, the three-day festival will feature music, food trucks, beverages, entertainment, a Children’s Creative Zone and much more. For the past 46 years, ACA, has provided a venue for more than 20,000 artists to showcase their artwork to thousands of art lovers from all over the world. The participating artists, some new and some returning are selected by a new jury every year.

This year’s featured artist, Amanda Bennett, is a mixed media artist that transforms mid-century advertising, acrylic mediums and photography into a mash up on plywood, inspired by pop art and funk style. As a child, she use to paint with her grandmother and used a spatula as her primary tool. Now, Bennett resides in New Orleans where the city’s rhythm, color palette and energy stirs and ignites her creative process.

Sponsors for this year’s Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park include Direct Energy, Green Mountain Energy, LeafGuard Gutter Protection, Power Home Remodeling, Renewal by Andersen and Stella Artois. Media Partners include Absolutely Memorial, Art Houston, CKW Luxe, Culturemap, Greensheet Media, H Texas, Hot in Houston, Houston CityBook, Houston Family Magazine, Houston Lifestyles & Homes, Houston Modern Luxury, Houstonia, JMG, Key, La Subasta, Patch Houston, River Oaks Living, TravelHost Houston and Ultra.

Online tickets are on sale now until the day of the event at www.artcolonyassociation.org. Tickets online are $12 for adults and $5 for children 6 – 12; children five and under are free. Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults. Also available online are two-day passes for $20 and family passes (two adults, two children tickets) for $30. Discounted tickets for Veterans and Seniors will be available at the gate. Donations are also being accepted online.

For updates on social media, follow the official event hashtags #HouArtFest and #BCAF, like the Facebook page, or follow on Twitter and Instagram. About Bayou City Art Festival: Now entering its 46th year, the Art Colony Association has raised $3.5 million for local non-profit programs through the festivals. A percentage of the proceeds support local art organizations and nonprofits.

The Festivals are funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, corporate sponsorships, private contributions, in-kind support and volunteer assistance. Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, please visit www.artcolonyassociation.org.

 

February 6, 2017 – April Fool’s Day is right around the corner, and the Spring Sip n Stroll could be called April Food’s day with the most anticipated culinary, wine and craft beer tasting event in Katy. Katy Sip n Stroll, presented by Kroger, is scheduled for April 1, 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the Villagio Town Center at 22762 Westheimer Parkway and benefits The Ballard House.

Food

It’s no joke! Attendees will enjoy 35 food tasting stations from the area’s best restaurants, 35 wine tables and 20 craft beer tables. While noshing and sipping there are activities and presentations to enjoy such as live music on the Aruba Courtyard stage and the Xochitl Street Music stage, The Cane Island Home Zone, seminars and cooking demonstrations in the Chef’s Corner, local artisans and vendors and a charity wine pull.

Wine Pour

Guests who want to enjoy the finest of wines can upgrade to the Firethorne VIP Zone with premium wine selections, finer foods, a VIP swag bag and a dedicated area with relaxed seating and great people watching. VIPs enjoy the whole event one hour ahead of general admission with access to the Bubbles @ Villagio champagne pre-party and the Kroger Beer Club connoisseur craft beer tasting with rare and special selections.

Attendees will cast their vote for their favorite dishes and one deserving restaurant will take away the 4th annual Premier Culinary award presented by Eat Prime Foods. Everyone is a winner with the delectable selections to please their palate.

Even though it’s April Fool’s Day, it’s no joke. All this starting at just $25 per ticket through March 1st at midnight when general admission tickets go back to $35.

Kroger Display

Katy has embraced this signature community event that they welcome each spring and fall”, says Constance McDerby, Founder & Co-Producer, Food & Vine Time Productions. “Villagio Town Center is the perfect location to host this Katy celebration of food, wine and festivities. It’s a party with a purpose as we raise funds for The Ballard House. It’s an honor and a privilege to assist with their service and mission.”

Volunteer

The Ballard House, a Cinco Charities, Inc. 501(c)3 non-profit, provides temporary housing in a warm, safe environment for individuals and their families who are hospitalized or receiving treatment for a serious medical condition. The Ballard House through Cinco Charities® has been providing housing since 2008, to patients and their caregivers who travel to the Katy/Houston area for medical treatment.

Last year, the fest helped generate more than $40,000 for The Ballard House. ““The Ballard House is able to support patients and their families while they receive treatment for a life-threatening illness because of the generosity of the Katy community. I’m exceedingly proud of our town and how folks participate in Sip N’ Stroll!” says Kathy Alt, Executive Director of The Ballard House.

Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available until March 10. Volunteers have a great time and are always needed and appreciated. For details, contact the Food & Vine Productions office at 713-557-5732.

Tickets are only $25 until March 1 – the No Joke Special. From March 2 tickets return to normal prices ranging from $35-$65 and $15 for designated drivers. Tickets will be $5.00 more at the door. For more information, visit www.sipandstroll.com.

March scheduled performances

All performances are always free

Fun facts and frequently asked questions at the bottom

All photo credits: Courtesy Miller Outdoor Theatre 

HOUSTON ─ Since 1923, Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park has been one of Houston’s most beloved cultural treasures, a gathering place for the community and the site of thousands of memorable free performances.  That’s over 90 years of memories.

Miller is unique in the United States, offering an eight month season of professional, artistically-excellent and culturally diverse entertainment completely FREE of charge to the public. This is the largest “always free” program of its kind in the country and it attracts hundreds of thousands each season.

From daytime programs especially for young children to family friendly evening performances of classical music, jazz, ethnic music and dance, ballet, Shakespeare, musical theatre, popular concert artists, films and more, this is Houston’s best entertainment value.

2017 Season Opener: Michael Londra’s Celtic Fire

March 17 at 8 p.m.

Celtic Fire, starring renowned Irish tenor Michael Londra, presents the culture of Ireland, with a focus on Irish dance. Its electric energy sweeps audiences away to the Emerald Isle – its culture, its music, its pubs, its heart.

World-class Irish dancers take the stage with brilliant flashes of speed and exuberance. The jigs and reels they perform with precision are a joy to watch. The innovative choreography is original to the show, presenting an exciting style of Irish dance that perfectly complements the live band. Intricate group numbers and looser solo spots are the hit of each performance. Many want to join in… and younger audience members usually do!

Michael Londra’s CELTIC FIRE YouTube video https://youtu.be/hJlxKr7fnF8

The music of Celtic Fire is traditional at its core, with all of Ireland’s national instruments included: the fiddle driving frenetic reels; our great drum, the bodhran, beating out the driving rhythms of the band; the plaintive uileann pipes calling back to days of yore with beautiful and haunting slow airs.

A native of Wexford, Ireland (the singing capital of Ireland), Michael Londra is a driving force in Irish arts worldwide. He is described as “one of the greatest Irish singers of our time” by CapitalCeltic. He was lead singer in Riverdance on Broadway and his Michael Londra Beyond Celtic concert aired on PBS stations nationwide more than 300 times in 2011. He has performed on the world’s biggest stages, from Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, to Kremlin Palace in Moscow and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Presented by Miller Outdoor Theatre

Noche Caliente featuring Ray De La Paz

March 18 at 8 p.m.

Diaz Music Institute presents legendary salsa singer Ray De La Paz performing with Houston’s premier youth group “Caliente”, directed by Grammy Music Educator Finalist Jose Antonio Diaz.

RAY DE LA PAZ was born in the late 1940s in Harlem, NYC and grew up in the Bronx listening to rock, doo-wop and Mexican influenced music. He took vocal lessons as a child, but it wasn’t until 1970 when he stood in as a last minute replacement vocalist for El Conjunto de Don Juan that he first sang Latin music. That night the band opened the concert that also featured Joe Cuba with Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater, Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz, and Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta with Ismeal Quintana.

Ray played with Don Juan for almost two years before hooking up with Chino y su Conjunto Melao, singing on their self-titled first album (1975) that contained the hit “Que Bien Te Vez.” During this period he met Louie Ramírez, who asked de la Paz to sing coro on “La Pollera Colora” on the album Conquista Musical with Sonora Ponceña (1976). 1976 was also the year of his recording debut with Ray Barretto on Barretto Live, the first of four records he would cut with Barretto that also included Rican/Struction (1979), Giant Force (1980), and Rhythm of Life (1982).

In 1982, de la Paz was tapped by Louie Ramírez, along with José Alberto “El Canario” and Isidro Infante to be part of a novel recording project of doing salsa arrangements of hit ballads, with the result being the album Noche Caliente, which spawned the monster hits “Estar Enamorado” and “Todo Se Derrumbó” and created a new style of music now called Salsa Romántica.

Ramírez and de la Paz began to tour together and recorded three massively successful Gold records, ¡Con Caché! (’84), Alegres y Romanticos (’85), and Sabor con Clase! (’86), before de la Paz started his solo career, releasing Como Tu Quieras in 1990 on RMM. He reunited with Ramírez in ’92 to record Otra Noche Caliente, containing the hits “Suddenly”, “Definitivamente”, and the ever-popular “Medley”.

In 2000 he joined the Spanish Harlem Orchestra as lead vocalist and their Grammy nominated debut release Un Gran Dia En El Barrio (2002) was honored with the Latin Billboard Award for Salsa Album of the Year. 2004’s Across 110th Street won the Grammy for Best Salsa/Meringue Albumb, and in 2010 they won the Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Album for Viva La Tradicion. Their latest record, the self-titled Spanish Harlem Orchestra was released in 2014.

Diaz Music Institute YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRm-g6KOH4w

Todo Se Derrumbo – Ray De La Paz video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjBAqVae6Kc

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m.,

Presented by Diaz Music Institute

FOOTLOOSE, The Musical

March 30, 31 and April 1, 6, 7, 8 at 8 p.m.

Lose your blues, cut loose, and kick off your Sunday shoes as HITS Theatre presents the finger-snapping, toe-tapping musical, FOOTLOOSE.

One of the most explosive movie musicals in recent memory bursts onto the live stage with exhilarating results. When Ren and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school. What he isn’t prepared for are the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, determined to exercise the control over the town’s youth that he cannot command in his own home. When the reverend’s rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren’s reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid.

The heartfelt story that emerges is of a father longing for the son he lost and of a young man aching for the father who walked out on him. To the rockin’ rhythm of its Oscar and Tony-nominated top 40 score and augmented with dynamic new songs for the stage musical, FOOTLOOSE celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Produced by HITS Theatre

Fun Facts and Frequently Asked Questions about Miller Outdoor Theatre

Where is everyone going?

Since 1923, Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park has been one of Houston’s most beloved cultural treasures, a gathering place for the community and the site of thousands of memorable free performances.  That’s over 90 years of memories!

Miller is unique in the United States, offering an eight month season of professional, artistically-excellent and culturally diverse entertainment completely FREE of charge to the public. This is the largest “always free” program of its kind in the country and it attracts hundreds of thousands each season.  From daytime programs especially for young children to family friendly evening performances of classical music, jazz, ethnic music and dance, ballet, Shakespeare, musical theatre, popular concert artists, films and more, this is Houston’s best entertainment value.

What to expect at Miller Outdoor Theatre?

Leave the neckties and high heels at home. Expect quality entertainment from around the world without the daunting dress code of a traditional theater. Miller Outdoor Theatre offers audiences a relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to enjoy one another’s company as well as a great performance.

The price is right. All performances are always free!

To the Right, or to the Left on the hill?

Take a family vote on where you’d like to sit to enjoy the performance. Tickets are not necessary for hillside seating. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome. Please note that lawn chairs must be placed on the left side of the hill. Sit on the right side of the hill if you prefer to sit on a blanket.

How do you get a seat in the covered seating area for evening performances?

Approximately 1,700 new seats were installed under the canopy in 2009. Admission is free for all performances. All evening shows (except movies) require tickets for admission for seats under the canopy. For those performances, assigned seat tickets are available, on a first-come basis and while supplies last, on the day of performance only between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the box office behind the theatre.  A maximum of four tickets per person over age 16 is allowed.  Any remaining tickets are released one hour before curtain. TICKETS MAY NOT BE RESERVED BY PHONE. 

Can I lose my seat even though I had a ticket?

All unclaimed seats are released 5 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin. We encourage all patrons to be in their seats 15 minutes before show time to insure that their seat will not be released. Again, there is NO charge for tickets.

Please note: At management’s discretion, all unoccupied seats may be released at any time for any reason.  

How do you get a seat in the covered seating area for daytime performances?

The Daytime Children’s Series offers teachers and parents alike an excellent opportunity to expose youngsters to the delights of the performing arts with a series of productions designed especially for children.  Performances begin at 11 a.m. and last approximately 1 hour. No tickets are necessary for covered seating area. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Paper or Plastic?

You choose. But, definitely NO glass containers of any kind are allowed.

You’ll never go hungry here

Miller Theatre’s concession stand offers refreshments and other supplies for picnics. Purchasing concessions at Miller Theatre supports the free performances.

No Smoking

Miller Theatre is a NO SMOKING zone.  Smoking is not allowed in any City of Houston Park, including Hermann Park. No smoking at the theatre, on the plaza or on the hill. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

What to pack

Decisions, decisions…there are so many choices. Pack a picnic basket with fried chicken or caviar. It’s up to you. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Definitely bring the whole family.  Yes, you may even pack alcohol.  But please, leave the glass containers at home.