Live theater is vibrant and well in Houston, Texas. Venues include theatres hosting touring Broadway shows, concert venues, and outdoor theaters and arenas. Three of the most famous and well attended theaters in Houston are the Alley Theater, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, and Miller Outdoor Theater. Broadway touring shows and Broadway-bound performances are a mainstay in Houston. Of course Broadway shows are not the only type of performances enjoyed.
The Alley Theater
Nina Vance founded the Alley Theater in 1947 with a mere 85 seats. Today it is one of the premier nonprofit theaters in the United States. The Alley hosts a resident theater company who won the Regional Theater Tony Award in 1966. World premiers of shows such as Jekyll and Hyde played at the Alley. If you are a fan of ghost stories, attending a play at the Alley could be right up your "alley." News in the year 1982 reported a director on the fourth floor murdered by a former employee of the theater. Some say that the director's spirit haunts the theater to this day. One of the most popular performances held yearly in the theater is A Christmas Carol with all of its ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Talk about a perfect place for that show! Although some shows that could be considered musicals have played at the Alley, the theater is known for dramatic performances more so than musical theater.
Theater Under the Stars (TUTS) at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts is the venue most associated with musical theater productions, both touring shows and those put on by Theater Under the Stars, the musical production company housed there. TUTS, as the production company is better known, began in 1958. National Tours and World Premiers keep patrons visiting the beautiful new Hobby Center on multiple occasions throughout the year. Renovations in excess of $100 million brought the beautiful theaters in The Hobby Center to capacity of over 3,000 seats. Broadway premiers produced or co-produced by TUTS include Beauty and the Beast with Walt Disney Company in 1993 and Jekyll & Hyde. National tours sponsored by TUTS include The Unsinkable Molly Brown with Debbie Reynolds and Robert Goulet in The Man of La Mancha. The name Theater Under the Stars is in reference to an outdoor venue, Miller Outdoor Theater, in Hermann Park which was the first site of TUTS. A notable aspect of TUTS is that they host fabulous free musical theater productions to this day at Miller Outdoor Theater. An all-time favorite with attendance 91,000 was the musical, Grease. In 1972 TUTS moved to a downtown, indoor theater. Today, six yearly productions are held at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts downtown plus a continued tradition of one free show a year at Miller Outdoor Theater. If travel takes you to Houston, be sure and check to see if a free production is playing at Miller Outdoor Theater. The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts is at 800 Bagby downtown while Theater Under the Stars outdoor venue's address is 6000 Hermann Park.
Get the DVD or book of plays and musicals to view the movie or listen to the story before attending a performance. The compare and contrast between the live version and other published interpretations brings to life many great conversations!