The best plays, musical performances, and exhibits in Texas are enjoyed by record-breaking crowds, according to our cultural arts arbiter Leanne Raesener, who shares our favorite recommendations for what to enjoy this summer across the state.
BEHIND EVERY MAN
Irish novelist, James Joyce’s Ulysses was first published on February 2, 1922. The University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center commemorates its 100th anniversary with the exhibit Women and the Making of Joyce’s Ulysses. It explores women’s essential and largely unacknowledged role in realizing his famed masterpiece and its widespread notoriety and success. Through July 17. At HRC.UTexas.edu.
ON IMAGE: Sylvia Beach, who published Ulysses and James Joyce in the doorway of Shakespeare and Company (Alliance Paris, 1922). James Joyce Literary File Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Center.
A FLOCK OF SWANS ENCHANT
Join Ballet Austin Mother’s Day weekend for the world’s best-known ballet, Swan Lake. Marius Petipa’s original choreography is featured with breathtaking corps de ballet sequences. All set to Tchaikovsky’s sweeping score, featuring the Austin Symphony Orchestra. May 6‒8. At BalletAustin.org.
ON IMAGE: Courtesy of Ballet Austin
THE SOUND OF NOSTALGIA
The beloved musical The Sound of Music with the Von Trapp Family is reimagined within a ZACH360 experience where The Topfer will be transformed into a lively Biergarten. Spirits will soar to the TonyÒ, GrammyÒ, and OscarÒ-winning scores. June 15–July 24. At ZachTheatre.org.
ON IMAGE: Courtesy of Zachary Scott Theatre
DALLAS / FORT WORTH
A PAS DE DEUX INSHALLAH
The Dallas Museum of Art’s major exhibition, Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity, traces Islamic art’s influence on the objects created by Louis Cartier (1875-1942) and the designers of the great French jewelry Maison from the early 20th century to today. It is also the subject of a Thames & Hudson USA book. April 12‒September 18. At DMA.org.
ON IMAGE: Bib necklace, Cartier Paris, 1947. Nils Herrmann, Collection Cartier©Cartier
A celebrated, self-taught, Alabama-born artist, Lonnie Holley, comes to the Dallas Contemporary for his first Texas exhibition, Lonnie Holley: coming from the earth. He has devoted his life to improvisational creativity, working across all art forms, including music. Through August 21. At DallasContemporary.org.
ON IMAGE: Lonnie Holley, Memorial at Friendship Church, 2006. Metal, found debris, plastic flowers, and ribbon, Courtesy of the artist.
Women Painting Women is a thematic exhibition featuring 46 female artists and approximately 50 evocative portraits from the late 60s to the present. The portraits allow female artists to share the stage with their male counterparts in defining the evolution of the image of a woman. Through September 25. At TheModern.org.
UNDER IMAGE: Amy Sherald, A Midsummer Afternoon Dream, 2020. © Amy Sherald. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Joseph Hyde
To conclude its season, the Houston Symphony’s new Music Director Designate, celebrated conductor Juraj Valčuha, will lead the orchestra, chorus, and vocal soloists in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 Choral. Experience one of classical music’s most moving, uplifting, and inspiring journeys in this exuberant Ode to Joy. May 20-23. At HoustonSymphony.org.
ON IMAGE: Juraj Valčuha, Courtesy of Michael Breyer/Houston Symphony
TRUTH CAN BE STRANGER
Extraordinary Realities examines the career of Pakistani American artist Shahzia Sikander during her prolific first 15 years. Bringing together nearly 60 of her works from public and private collections, Sikander explores contemporary issues, including gender, sexuality, race, class, and history, through her paintings, drawings, and video animations. Through June 5. At MFAH.org.
UNDER IMAGE: Shahzia Sikander, Pleasure Pillars, 2001, collection of Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee. ©2021 Shahzia Sikander/Courtesy of the artist; Sean Kelly, New York; and Pilar Corrias, London
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY…
The Alley Theatre presents the world premiere of a sexy, mysterious musical entitled Noir with music by Duncan Sheik of Spring Awakening. Inspired by early radio plays and classic film noir, this story unfolds with a heartbroken man isolated in his apartment with only a radio for entertainment until a couple moves in next door and a new obsession develops. June 2‒July 3. At AlleyTheatre.org.
ON IMAGE: Courtesy of the Alley Theatre
PRODIGAL SON RETURNS
The McNay Museum presents a ground-breaking exhibition, DONALD MOFFETT+NATURE CULT+THE McNAY, that is centered around the artistic and curatorial vision of Donald Moffett. It will include an interwoven display from native San Antonian Moffett’s private collection of paintings and artworks from the McNay’s holdings. Through September 11. At McNayArt.org.
UNDER IMAGE: Donald Moffett, Lot 020619, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, and Aspen. ©Donald Moffett
THE ARTFUL COWBOY
The Sons of Charlie Russell: Cowboy Artists of America premiers at the Briscoe and consists of 70 works of western art from 17 lenders, 40 artists, and includes paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, with art dating from 1890 to the present. May 27–September 5. At BriscoeMuseum.org.
ON IMAGE: Painting by Grant Redden. Courtesy of the Briscoe Museum
Enjoy an evening with the San Antonio Symphony when John Williams’ movie music is presented in a new uplifting way. Williams performs scores from his blockbuster hits such as Jaws, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter, and more. May 28. At TobinCenter.org.
ON IMAGE: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Courtesy of Universal Pictures.