Best Bets: Thanksgiving, Shorts, and Double the Tchaikovsky [UPDATED]

Update 9:15 a.m.: The H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade has been cancelled this morning because of the rainy weather and thunderstorms in the area.

Before and after stuffing yourself with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and lots of pie, you’ll probably want to be entertained. You know, after the tryptophan wears off. If so, keep reading for a list of the best Houston has to offer this Thanksgiving weekend.

Cirque du Soleil will give Houstonians a sneak peek of the “playful humor, captivating dancing, and enchanting songs” of their show, Alegría – which has set up shop at Sam Houston Race Park through January 2 – when they kick off the 72nd Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade today, November 25, at 9 a.m. The parade will cover 20 city blocks across downtown Houston, complete with floats, giant balloons, marching bands, Santa Claus and much more. Deborah Duncan of Great Day Houston and KHOU’s Ron Treviño will emcee the parade, which will be led by Grand Marshal Dr. Peter Hotez, who’s been the go-to vaccine expert on local and national news channels. The parade is free to the public, and you can view a map of the parade route here. (You can watch catch the parade live on KHOU.)

TEATRX will present the 3rd Annual La Vida Es Cortos/Life Is Shorts Festival this Thanksgiving weekend, a showcase dedicated to presenting both short films and short plays. The selected plays, presented alongside 17 short films, include works by Angela Estela of Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble; recent graduate of the University of Houston Rebecca Dominguez; award-winning Josie Nericcio; and Adrienne Dawes, an Afro-Latinx playwright who was also featured during StagesSin Muros: A Latinx Theater Festival in 2020. You can also expect performances from Tres Tristes Teatreras, Teatro Pedro, and The Pilot Dance Project’s Adam Castañeda. You can catch the festival at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 26, and Saturday, November 27, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, November 27, and Sunday, November 28 at The MATCH. Tickets are available here, pay what you can with a starting price of $10.

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Houston Ballet Principal Soo Youn Cho as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Soloist Harper Watters as the Nutcracker Prince with Artists of Houston Ballet in Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker.

Photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy of Houston Ballet

‘Tis the season – finally – to welcome Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker back to the Wortham Theater Center for a total of 31 performances. On Friday, November 26, at 7:30 p.m. Houston Ballet marks the return of the classic holiday show about a young girl, Clara, who finds herself in the middle of an epic battle between a prince and a rat king and takes an unimaginable journey to the Land of Sweets, where residents where dessert on their heads and human-sized cats stand sentry. Between the “indulgent” divertissements, Tim Goodchild’s “sumptuous scenic and costume designs,” and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “endlessly enjoyable” music. The Nutcracker will run through December 24, and you can purchase tickets for $27 to $200 here.

Find a little happily ever after over at Jones Hall during the Houston Symphony’s Thanksgiving weekend concert, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. Experience Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s transformation of “a simple children’s story” into “a sophisticated parable” and his “melodic inventiveness” during the Sleeping Beauty Suite, which closes a program that includes Samy Moussa’s Nocturne, Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and selections from Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera Königskinder. Conductor Fabien Gabel will lead the Symphony, joined by violinist Simone Lamsma, for concerts at 8 p.m. Friday, November 26, and Saturday, November 27, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, November 28. Tickets are still available here for $34 to $140. Saturday night’s performance will also be livestreamed, and you can buy a $20 ticket here to enjoy the program straight from your couch.

click to enlarge Denise Fennell as Sister in Late Nite Catechism at Stages. - PHOTO BY CLAIRE LOGUE

Denise Fennell as Sister in Late Nite Catechism at Stages.

Photo by Claire Logue

You’re probably familiar with the wise men from the East who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. And, if you’re anything like the good people who bring us the Late Nite Catechism series, you’ve probably found yourself wondering, whatever happened to that gold? On Friday, November 26, at 8 p.m. you can look into the mystery when Stages opens Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold at The Gordy. Denise Fennell once again plays Sister, this time retelling the story of the nativity, in the show by Maripat Donovan, Marc Silvia and Jane Morris. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through December 31. You can purchase a ticket here for $25 to $79.

A.D. Players presents a new holiday offering this season when they open The Christmas Shoes on Friday, November 26, at 8 p.m. The commissioned play, adapted by Jessica Lind Peterson from Donna VanLiere’s New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, sees a jaded lawyer encounter the son of a woman dying of cancer. A.D. Players Artistic Director Kevin Dean recently told the Houston Press that it is “a charming story and a charming play,” one that “reminds you of what’s important in life.” Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and some Sundays; and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at The George Theater through December 26. You can purchase tickets here for $25 to $75.

click to enlarge DACAMERA brings Christian Tetzlaff to town to play an all-Bach program. - PHOTO BY GIORGIA BERTAZZ

DACAMERA brings Christian Tetzlaff to town to play an all-Bach program.

Photo by Giorgia Bertazz

The New Yorker once called Christian Tetzlaffa character actor in a field of matinée idols,” saying the German violinist “prefers to disappear into the sound world he creates onstage.” And speaking of that sound world, Tetzlaff himself said that “trying to turn lead into gold is nothing compared to taking something mechanical like an instrument—a string and a bow—and using it to evoke a human soul, preserved through the centuries.” On Tuesday, November 30, at 7:30 p.m. DACAMERA will welcome Tetzlaff to the Stude Concert Hall in Alice Pratt Brown Hall at Rice University to delve into the soul of Johann Sebastian Bach in Pure Genius: Solo Bach. Tetzlaff will play four of Bach’s sonatas and partitas as part of DACAMERA’s chamber music series. Tickets can be purchased here for $42.50 to $72.50.

On Tuesday, November 30, at 7:30 p.m. Dance Source Houston’s Mind The Gap series will return to The MATCH with a full slate of works by local dancemakers. The Pilot Dance Project’s Adam Castañeda contributes a work about the human life cycle, Group Acorde’s Roberta Paixao Cortes will perform an ocean-influenced solo, and Amanda Monteith revisits a “Hot Summer’s Night.” Rivkah French choreographed a new duet in collaboration with Isabella Vik, who is contributing a work that physically represents bipolar disorder. Duality will also be explored in works from Alexis Zanety and Nicola DeVries. Adele Nickel and Brian Lawson will re-imagine the traditional ballet pas de deux, while Bones and Memory Dance’s Heather vonReichbauer’s solo peeks into the mind of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. Tickets to the in-person program, or a ticket to view Tuesday’s livestream (on demand through December 6) can be purchased on a sliding pay-what-you-can scale for $15 to $35 here.

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