Theater District Houston Open House
Sample the season and get the best ticket deals

Downtown Houston boasts eight world-renowned performing arts organizations that bring drama, laughs and inspiration to more than two million theatergoers yearly. Spanning 17 Downtown blocks and four performance venues, exploring the offerings of each resident company can seem like a daunting task. Cue Theater District Houston’s annual Open House, a cultural festival that gives performing arts lovers from across the city the opportunity to experience Houston’s world-class performing arts organizations in one afternoon. Equally exciting, attendees will find attractive discounts on single performances and packages.

Staged with fun for the whole family, Theater District Open House offers everything from ballet classes for beginners to demonstrations and tips on the theatrics of stage fighting and face painting to mimic the elaborate makeup for onstage performances. The goal is to provide an engaging experience for attendees of all ages giving each a taste of the wide array of creativity and talent that is synonymous with Houston’s performing arts scene.  

“Every year, the Open House is a great reminder that we’re all creative beings, whether we use that creativity daily or just on special occasions,” said Kathryn McNeil, CEO of Theater District Houston. “We try to engage the community in activities that not only expose them to the tremendous performing arts organizations right here in Houston, but also give them a chance to express their own creativity and carry it into their daily lives.”

For theater enthusiasts looking to find the best deal on a season subscription or a coveted performance, the Theater District Open House is the largest day of discounted sales for both individual and season tickets from Houston’s major performing arts organizations. Reviewing the lineup for the 2019–2020 season, there are plenty of great choices and memorable moment ahead. 

Houston Grand Opera’s 65th season features a repertoire of operas in productions that have never been seen by Houston audiences, including several family-friendly performances. Highlights include:  

  • The company’s 67th world premiere of Javier Martinez and Leonard Foglia’s El Milagro del Recuerdo / The Miracle of Remembering. Set during the Christmas season in Mexico, the opera lovingly explores the themes of holiday traditions, familial bonds, and the dream of something more while contemplating life-changing decisions.
  • Verdi’s timeless Aida, directed by Phelim McDermott and featuring international star and Houston Grand Opera alumna Tamara Wilson singing the title role, along with rising star Russell Thomas making his role debut as Radames.
  • Barrie Kosky and Suzanne Andrade’s wildly inventive production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which evokes a silent-film style by incorporating an animated world created by artist and illustrator Paul Barritt.

Another timeless favorite, the Alley Theatre presents Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express during the annual ExxonMobil Summer Chills series. This plot-twist masterpiece also serves as the directorial debut of the Alley’s new Artistic Director Rob Melrose.

The Houston Symphony’s Bank of America Summer Sounds series melds symphony music and captivating concert experiences, such as animated feature films and orchestral arrangements of music by iconic artists. Highlights include:

  • Virtual Reality in Concert: Music Illustrated, the first full-length orchestra concert of its kind featuring Austin-based artist and dancer Topher Sipes creating life-sized 3D images via virtual reality in real time onstage, choreographed to iconic works of classical music.
  • An homage to the Queen of Tejano Music, the Houston Symphony performs Selena’s influential songs with a live orchestra.

More great musical performances await as Da Camera welcomes back National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and Tony Award-nominee Branford Marsalis, one of the most revered instrumentalists of our time. Marsalis leads a quartet featuring pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner, who are known for their daring, no-apologies artistry.

Houston Ballet celebrates its 50th anniversary season with a presentation of classics like Ben Stevenson’s The Sleeping Beauty and Stanton Welch’s Romeo and Juliet as well as world premieres from famed choreographers such as Trey McIntyre, Arthur Pita and Zhang Disha.

From Theatre Under The Stars, theater lovers will find a spectacular mix of touring musicals and self-produced shows including A Chorus Line, Spring Awakening, Elf The Musical, Once On This Island, Pure Country and Disney’s Newsies.

Society for the Performing Arts brings internationally acclaimed artists across the entire performing arts spectrum, traditional to avant-garde, from major orchestras and dance companies to intimate recitalists and solo performers. Here is a sampling of those coming attractions:  

  • Comedic performances by David Sedaris, Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery, and Jay Leno.
  • Musical stars such as Bernadette Peters, Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, and Lia Downs.
  • Family-friendly shows such as The Spongebob Musical, Peking Acrobats and Wild Kratts Live 2.0.
  • Instrumental performances from greats such as Ray Chen, Camille Thomas, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Andrew Tyson. 

Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center's upcoming season is anchored by the Tony Award and 2018 Grammy Award-winning Best Musical and pop-culture phenomenon Dear Evan Hansen; followed by Cats, the beloved musical filled with treasured songs; Hello Dolly!, winner of four Tony Award including Best Musical Revival; The Band's Visit, a breathtaking production having won 10 Tony Awards making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history; Come From Away, the true story, based on actual events that took place September 11, 2001 and the days that followed; Fiddler on the Roof, the heartwarming musical filled with hits you know and love; Roald Dhal's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a delectable treat of toe-tapping music and incredible inventions; Jersey Boys, the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical; and returning to Houston – Hamilton.

With eight performing arts organizations and hundreds of shows throughout the year, there truly is something for everyone interested in a world-class experience in the heart of Houston. There are also an unprecedented number of new food and beverage choices to make the pre- or post-theater experience an adventure as well. The best way to find the show for you? Mark your calendars for this year’s Theater District Houston Open Houston on Sunday, August 25 from noon – 5 p.m. Experience all that these groups have to offer and sign yourself up for the cultural experience of a lifetime! 

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