By Randall Jobe
The tumultuous beginning of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency was dramatized by Robert Schenlekkan in his Tony Award-winning All The Way, seen as a spectacular Alley Theatre production last season. The LBJ journey continues in part two, The Great Society. From 1965 through 1968, LBJ struggles to fight a war on poverty even as his war in Vietnam spins out of control. Besieged by political opponents, Johnson marshals all of his political wiles while the country descends into chaos over the war and backlash against civil rights. Directed by Kevin Moriarity. January 26 through February 18. The Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. Tickets: 713-220-5700.
Stages Repertory Theatre kicks off the New Year with a limited two-week engagement with popular Denise Fennell returning as Sister in Late Night Catechism 2 by Maripat Donovan. Filled with laughs for Catholics and “heathens” alike, Sister imparts important guidance for our eternal wellbeing. Armed with banners, filmstrips, handouts, historical facts and hysterical insights she offers her personal views on new sins for the modern millennium. Sister seeks to conquer that sin with wit, wisdom and laughter. Through January 14. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday, 2:30 p.m. Stages also presents the regional premiere of Alma en vent (Soul on Sale) by Philip Boehm, in which painter Arcadio Rogers Rodriguez has made quite a name for himself crafting images. But what does it take to really bring a canvas to life—a visit from your dead mother? A Faustian deal with a devilish muse? The play is a lyrical, magical, realist examination of the cost one Latino artist has to pay to save a soul. For mature audiences. January 24 through February 11. Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday, 2:30 p.m. 3201 Allen Parkway.
Tickets: StagesTheatre.com or 713-527-0123.
An Iliad is the 2018 opener for Main Street Theater. This modern-day retelling of Homer’s classic, the ancient tale of the Trojan War and the collision with the modern world, is told with poetry and humor in this captivating theatrical experience with actors Guy Roberts, Fanette Ronjatz and Jessica Boone. Directed by Rebecca Udden-Green and Guy Roberts. Through January 14. Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 3 p.m. 2540 Times Boulevard. Tickets: 713-524-670.
Talented cast members Rebekah Dahl, Brad Scarborough, Luke Wrobel, Cay Taylor, Kristina Sullivan and guest performer John Gremillion reflect on the past year in a musical celebration, 2017: The Year in Review. Through February 10. Fridays and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 21, 2 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Music Box Theater, 2623 Colquitt Street. Tickets: TheMusicBoxTheater.com or 713-522-7722.
For something different, Boiling Point Players present A New Life, a one-night-only, traditional annual cabaret performance of improv, songs and short plays. The evening features an all female cast in a wildly different exploration of what that means. In a huge twist, three male writers have contributed their take, writing short plays. Thursday, January 18. Rudyard’s British Pub, 2010 Waugh Drive. Tickets: BoilingPointPlayers@gmail.com or 832-303-1578.
Well, a play by Lisa Kron runs at Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre. Funny and touching, this comedy is about mothers and daughters, mind over body, social activism and theatre itself. Lisa, the onstage playwright, attempts a memory play about her force-of-nature mother, Ann, who though constantly ill manages to heal a community. As the carefully crafted narrative unravels, we find what it takes to get a group of people in any setting to improve their mutual wellbeing. January 18 through February 3. Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday, January 28, 3 p.m. Pay what you wish, Monday, January 29. Spring Street Studios, Suite 101, 1824 Spring Street. Tickets: 832-463-0409.
Obsidian Theatre presents For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf, the groundbreaking “choreopoem” written by Ntozake Shange. A nominee for a 1976 Tony Award nominee for Best Play, it is a spellbinding collection of vivid prose and free verse narrative capturing the brutal, tender and dramatic lives of black women. Directed by Dabrina Sandifer. January 25 through February 17. Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m. Saturday, February 10, 2 p.m. Industry Night: February 5, 8 p.m. 3522 White Oak Drive. Tickets: ObsidianTheater.org or 832-889-7837.