Top 12 Theater & Arts Performances in Houston: May 2021

Houston Ballet Reignited | Photo courtesy of Houston Ballet

Take in virtual or live performances this spring with our roundup of theater and performing arts productions happening online and in-person in May 2021.

Houston’s performing arts community is nothing if not resilient. So many performance companies have moved to online events, in many different ways. Some offer all shows for free, others offer ticketed events, and a few industrious companies are staging socially distanced in-person concerts.

Each venue has detailed information on their efforts to make concert-going experiences safe, so please check with the event organizer before deciding whether to attend. In some cases, venues are also hosting live-stream performances alongside in-person options so you may find a way to enjoy this month’s concerts based on what is safe for you.

Note: Performances are not numerically ranked in order of our enthusiasm. Rather, they are listed first in chronological order of their performance date or viewing availability, and then secondarily by the final date of the performance or streaming availabilty.

Top 12 Performing Arts Events in Houston: May 2021

  • 4th Wall Theatre Company presents White Rabbit Red Rabbit | Through Sunday, May 2 | Live on Zoom – Performed more than 2,000 times and translated into 25 languages since its 2011 debut, this ambitious, exciting production makes its way to 4th Wall. The play is sealed in an envelope. The actor performing it has never seen it, and may only perform it once. This is a show for lovers of contemporary theater, who enjoy the thrill of a one-of-a-kind event. Note that the play contains mature themes. $30. Showtimes vary.
  • Alley Theatre Presents Old Black & White Hollywood | Through Sunday, May 16 | FREE | Virtual Taking place in 1954 Hollywood, this new play tells the story of Black comedienne Doris Jean, who finds herself cast as a maid in a floundering TV show, despite her protestations. But, how far will her newfound TV career take her? Free with registration. Stream anytime during available dates.
  • Stages presents Late Night Catechism Las Vegas: Sister Rolls the Dice | Through Sunday, May 23 | Virtual – Continuing Stages’ popular, long-running series, Sister is back and she’s organizing the convent’s Las Vegas Night. In a performance that tackles everything from show girls to drive-through marriage chapels, this uproarious production might be virtual, but Sister will see you on Zoom, so be ready to get schooled. $25. Showtimes vary.
  • A.D. Players presents Apollo 8 | Monday, May 3 through Sunday, May 16 | FREE | Virtual – Part of the Metzler New Works Festival, this play was commissioned by A.D. Players. It tells the story of America in 1968, divided by Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, and the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Amid the tumult, it’s possible Russia might beat the U.S. to the moon. In an incredible feat of American innovation and vision, NASA ups the timeline for its moon orbit expedition, giving those involved four scant months to make it happen. Blending facts with fictional characters, Apollo 8 captures a seminal moment in space exploration and is an examination of wonder and humanity. Free with registration. Stream anytime during available dates.
  • Moonshot: The Remarkable Journey of Apollo Chamber Players at Moonstruck Drive-In Cinema | Thursday, May 6 | FREE with Registration | In-Person – Catch a screening of documentary tells the story of the Houston-based chamber quartet that’s taken the world by storm since its founding in 2008. The classical ensemble has made a commitment to diversity, commissioning multicultural works along with playing the classical canon. The film explores the group’s founding and its desire to share music with diverse audiences. Free with registration. 8:15pm.
  • Houston Ballet Reignited at Miller Outdoor Theatre | Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8 | FREE | In-Person – On stage for the first time in more than a year, the Houston Ballet and Houston Ballet Orchestra bring their incredible talents to Miller Outdoor Theatre for two free shows. The evening combines dance, film and music, with dancers reflecting on the creativity of the last year and how the organization will move forward. Free covered seating requires tickets, which can be reserved online. 8pm both nights.
  • The Ensemble Theatre presents Pretty Fire | Friday, May 7 through Sunday, May 30 | Virtual – This comedy explores family dynamics and the enduring power of faith. Telling the story of three generations of Black women, it brings audiences from Albany, New York to small-town Georgia, and is based on playwright Charlayne Woodard’s life. $25. Stream anytime during available dates.
  • Houston Grand Opera presents My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music at TDECU Stadium | Saturday, May 8 | In-Person – It would be hard to imagine a musical more beloved than Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. This family-friendly singalong features members of the principal cast of HGO’s originally-planned, full production of the show, cancelled due to the pandemic. Dazzling Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique stars as Maria, opposite hometown favorite baritone Michael Mayes as Captain Von Trapp. Held at the University of Houston’s stadium for maximum social distancing, this crowd pleaser is sure to be a memorable evening. $10; $7.50 for ages 16 and under7:30pm.
  • Houston Equity Festival presents Miss American Pie | Monday, May 10 through Sunday, May 16 | Virtual When Maggie, a Midwestern food critic, learns her Pakistani co-worker has been forced out of the country following the events of 2016’s election night, she takes to the kitchen to make pies. But she also makes a video to her friend, in an effort to work through her grief and loss. Free with registration. Stream anytime during available dates.
  • Houston Grand Opera presents Marian’s Song at Miller Outdoor Theatre | Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15 | FREE | In-Person & Virtual – HGO continues its return to live shows with two performances of its original, family-friendly commission based on the life of Marian Anderson, one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century. Anderson broke racial barriers throughout her storied career and became the first Black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955. Free covered seating requires tickets, which can be reserved online. 8pm both dates.
  • Classical Theatre Company presents The Well of the Saints: A Three-Part Radio Play | Friday, May 14; Friday, May 21; and Friday, May 28 | FREE | Virtual – Rural Ireland. The turn of the last century. Follow the story of Martin and Mary Doul, an old blind couple who are visited by an itinerant holy man, who comes to give them back their sight. Presented as a radio play in three parts, the comedy stars Houston favorite Rutherford Cravens as Martin and Hollie Hare as Mary. Free with registration.
  • Mildred’s Umbrella presents Everybody’s Dead | Friday, May 24 through Thursday, June 3 | FREE | Virtual – Part of the company’s Femfest Houston: Virus Edition, this is the story of Annika, holed up inside her doomsday bunker. The multi-millionaire made her fortune as the CEO of a company selling doomsday prepper subscription boxes. But now, she’s got cabin fever—and a sex robot—and she’s having second thoughts about everyone she left behind. Free with registration or pay-what-you-can. Stream anytime during available dates.

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Holly Beretto
Holly Beretto writes about food and wine, the arts and interesting people for a variety of local and regional publications. In addition to 365 Things to Do in Houston, her work has appeared in the Arizona State University Alumni Magazine, Arts + Culture Texas, Bayou City Magazine, Downtown, Galveston Monthly and Houston Woman. She is also a regular contributor to Eater.com's Houston site. She earned her B.A. in mass communication with a minor in professional writing from Franklin Pierce College (now Franklin Pierce University) and her M.A. in communication studies with an emphasis in journalism from St. Louis University. She has worked in television news production, public relations and marketing in Rhode Island, Maine, New York and Texas. A native Rhode Islander, she has lived in Texas since 1997. She is the author of Christ as the Cornerstone: Fifty Years of Worship at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, published by Bright Sky Press.

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