Society for the Performing Arts reveals its New Name as Performing Arts Houston
Live arts, new membership program and applications for annual Houston Artist Commissioning Project announced
Continuing a 55-plus year history of presenting diverse live arts programming and arts education in Houston, SPA rebrands as Performing Arts Houston and announces its 22/23 Season of nationally and internationally renowned touring artists and performers. Applications are now open for New/Now: The Houston Artist Commissioning Project, an initiative that spotlights artists’ voices in our own community through commissioning new works.
Focusing on audience engagement and access, a new membership program was launched on April 12, 2022. Information on all programs is live on their new website, performingartshouston.org.
SPA becomes Performing Arts Houston The new name, Performing Arts Houston, better reflects the organization’s mission and vision. It also captures the depth and breadth of their performances, arts education, and community engagement programs. Dropping the word “Society” from our name reflects our value of welcoming all Houstonians to participate in the performing arts.
“We have a strong 55-year legacy of providing high quality artistic programming and arts education to the city of Houston. We’re thrilled to carry this mission into a second half century with a new name and look,” says Performing Arts Houston CEO Meg Booth. “It also lets us lose the acronym, SPA. As therapeutic as the arts are, we’re happy not to be confused in google searches with spa treatments.”
Announcing the 22/23 Season
Performing Arts Houston presents touring artists from around the globe, from every genre. The 22/23 Season offers over two-dozen programs with leading musicians and music groups, speakers and comedians, contemporary and classical dance, and large theatrical productions. Additional artists will be announced as national tours take shape throughout the course of the year. Tickets are on
sale to members now, with public on-sales beginning on July 12. More at performingartshouston.org.
Dance highlights of the 22/23 Season include Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, the premier contemporary dance company in Taiwan; Ragamala Dance Company, a classical Indian Bharatnatyam company led by mother-daughter team Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy; Dance Theatre of Harlem, a New York City institution that performs both classical ballet and contemporary dance; and
Gregory Maqoma’s Vuyani Dance Theatre from South Africa, performing CION: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero.
The new season features a huge range of music performances, from jazz and gospel to mariachi and classical styles. Preservation Hall Jazz Band, New Orleans icons that Performing Arts Houston has presented since 1971, will celebrate their 60th Anniversary with us this season. Grammy Award-winning gospel titans The Blind Boys of Alabama will perform a Christmas show with The Voice finalist and
Houston’s own Sarah Grace & The Soul. Chicago-based multi-Latin Grammy nominee Mariachi Herencia de México will make their Houston debut with special guest Lupita Infante, herself a multiLatin Grammy nominee.
Continuing a tradition that goes back 50 years, Performing Arts Houston will present the Gold Medalist of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, to be held in Fort Worth, Texas in June. Acclaimed London-based classical choir Tenebrae, one of the premier vocal ensembles in the world, makes its Houston debut. Mnozil Brass, known as “the Monty Python of the music world,” will perform GOLD, the greatest hits of their 25-year career.
Classical violinist Randall Goosby, a protégé of Itzhak Perlman and recent recipient of a 2022 Avery Fisher Career Grant, makes his Houston debut with music of Beethoven and more. Grammy Award winners Third Coast Percussion return with music by Philip Glass, in a collaboration with street dance collective Movement Art Is. Jazz phenom Matthew Whitaker, the featured artist of Performing Arts Houston’s 2021 virtual gala and 2016 winner Showtime at the Apollo, makes his live Houston debut.
Family programming includes many large-scale productions. An America’s Got Talent favorite, DIAVOLO will perform Trajectoire and a new work honoring veterans. Cirque du Soleil’s Cirque Dreams Holidaze, is an experience that blends musical theater, holiday classics, and circus arts. Mutts Gone Nuts!, one of Performing Arts Houston’s all-time bestselling programs, is a family comedy act with astoundingly
talented canines. Gazillion Bubble Show, an off-Broadway success for over 15 years, will have Jones Hall overflowing with bubbles of all shapes and sizes. Our Planet Live in Concert, a reimagining of the acclaimed Netflix documentary series, featuring a live orchestra, takes audiences on an immersive tour of the wonders of planet Earth. Houston favorite, STOMP returns with evening performances and a student matinee.
Our speaker series offers three Performing Arts Houston debuts: YouTube success, My Name is NOT Mom, featuring social media stars Meredith Masony, Tiffany Jenkins, and Dena Blizzard, explores the realities (and hilarity) of motherhood. Twenty-year veteran stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and podcast host Tom Papa brings his Family Reunion Tour to Houston. He’ll also be selling copies of his latest book, You’re Doing Great, in the lobby. British cook, TV host, and writer Nigella Lawson, whose bestselling cookbooks have sold over 12-million copies worldwide, makes her Houston debut.
Applications Open for New/Now: The Houston Artist Commissioning Project
Performing Arts Houston launched New/Now: The Houston Artist Commissioning Project in 2020, with the goal to amplify Houston’s artists’ voices through commissions for the creation of new works across all performing arts disciplines.
“Now, more than ever, it’s critical for performing arts organizations to create connections within their communities,” Performing Arts Houston CEO Meg Booth shared. “New/Now celebrates the extraordinary talent and rich diversity of artists working and living in Houston and creates opportunity for our hometown artists to perform and be seen in the Theater District. The program also accelerates artistic innovation within Houston.”
Applications for awards are open until midnight on Friday, May 20, 2022. The organization welcomes project proposals for new 20–25-minute works from artists and artist groups working in the Greater Houston Metro Area. Details and applications at performingartshouston.org/newnow.
With the start of the 22/23 season, Performing Arts Houston is launching a new membership program. Starting at $25, members enjoy first access to best seats for upcoming performances, ticket discounts, invitations to exclusive events, and more.
“Our audiences want greater flexibility with their tickets, an easier way to support the arts and arts education they value, and behind-the-scenes experiences,” shared Performing Arts Houston’s Director of Development Jordan Drum. “Memberships provide greater value for our supporters, ease of access, and a more meaningful relationship with our organization, all while directly supporting Performing Arts
Houston and our impactful programs.”
Memberships are on sale now. More at performingartshouston.org/memberships.
Photos courtesy of artists