Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) recently announced their 2010-2011 Season. The tagline for this season is Experience the Magic, as in the magic of experiencing a live performance. I worked at SPA for almot 5 seasons, and each season featured a handful of performances that were truly magical. The major drawback for you, the patron, was that you probably wouldn’t know much about the performances that had that magic. Furthermore, the most magical performances are those we attend as a leap of faith.
The mainstream patron is going to be drawn to the performances of Buena Vista Social Club, Ira Glass, Drumline LIVE, Handel’s Messiah Rocks, the Peking Acrobats, Blue Man Group, and, of course, David Sedaris. Don’t get me wrong, that is a very entertaining and wonderful line-up of performances, but you should really stretch yourself. If you’re really looking for magic in the Theater District, you’re going to have to get off the beaten path. There’s nothing to be scared of, think of it as a personal adventure full of thrills and excitement.
The first stop on your new adventure should be MOMIX, and their new piece Botanica. MOMIX is a company that combines dance and performance art into a whimsical, ethereal experience for your senses. You might think of it much like Cirque du Soleil, but with a stronger artistic feel. It is important to note MOMIX will be debuting a new piece when they visit October 15-16 at Jones Hall. Unless you travel around the world attending performing arts performances, this is one of those great opportunities to see something new right here in Houston.
If you read the my Curtain Call series covering my years as Group Sales Manager at Society for the Performing Arts, you will remember how much I gushed over Mariza in the final entry, Take a Bow. In any SPA season, there will be at least one musical artist who you’ve never heard of or performs a musical style of which you are unfamiliar with. This is always going to be a performance you need to attend. Whether it was Mariza, Chava Alberstein, Esperanza Spalding or Gilberto Gil, the artists I have discovered through SPA have quickly become some of my favorites. So it with great confidence I can recommend Buika when she arrives for her Houston debut on Friday, November 12 at the Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater. Buika will be absolutely MAGNIFICENT.
The 2010-2011 Season was my last season at SPA to have a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the season. I know much about these artists because of my time working at SPA. I am curious to know how I will feel about next season when I will be like you, unaware of these hidden gems. For instance, I am incredibly excited about seeing Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet because they have been on the radar for a while now. That and, well, I just love seeing new contemporary dance companies. I have now mentioned two dance performances in my little list. That is because dance is one of the most overlooked, yet most rewarding offerings from Society for the Performing Arts. I would also HIGHLY recommend Diavolo this season. They were one of my favorite performers during my stint at SPA.
In the end, the trick to experiencing the magic the folks at SPA are promising you this season is to mix a little of the unknown with your regular favorites. I hope to be a resource for you now and in the future, so comment below if you have questions. I spoke to the Netsquared group back in October about the Theater District, and I’ll close with what I felt was the most important point of my presentation:
If you are not taking advantage of the offerings of the Theater District at least a couple of times a season, you’re missing out on one of the greatest benefits of being a Houstonian. There be magic there, my friends, and SPA is one of many organizations making it available to you. So slip on your glass slippers (or loafers for the guys), and ride your pumpkins to Downtown Houston for a magical evening! It’s as easy as those three magical words . . .