The best plays, musical performances, and exhibits in Texas are being enjoyed by record number crowds, according to our cultural adventurer Claire-Lise Greve who shares our favorite recommendations from across the state in this issue.

AUSTIN

A TALE OF PERSEVERANCE

Taking place the week after the tragic attacks of September 11th, Come From Away tells the true story of what happened to the 7,000 stranded passengers of the flights that were ordered to land in the aftermath of the attacks. Filled with life lessons about culture and perseverance, this is a wonderful musical for all to see. February 18 through 23. At TexasPerformingArts.org

photo courtesy of the West End production of Come From Away

AVANT-GARDE IN LATIN AMERICA

Coming to the Blanton Museum of Art this February, The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta explores the development of avant-garde art in Central and South America. Created by José Carlos Mariátegui, the Peruvian magazine known as Amauta was known for its political and cultural pieces throughout the 20th century. This must-see exhibit shows Latin American avant-garde art through its connection to Amauta. February 16 through May 17. At BlantonMuseum.org

Photo courtesy of The Blanton Museum

PEAKS AND TRAGEDIES

Continuing its 2019-20 season, Austin Opera presents Everest, the story of the infamous 1996 climbing season at Mount Everest, which notably took so many lives. Originated by the Dallas Opera in 2015, this production features three of the leads from the original. This is a wonderful show that runs about 75 minutes and is recommended for patrons above the age of 8 due to its dark subject matter. January 23, 25, & 26. At AustinOpera.org

Photo courtesy of The Austin Opera

DALLAS / FORT WORTH

MUSIC’S MAGIC

Winner of 10 Tony® Awards, The Band’s Visit tells the story of a group of lost musicians who stumble upon a small town, and through music, they breathe new life into the town. Coming to the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas this February, this musical will make you laugh and cry all in the span of about two hours. February 18 through 23. At ATTPAC.org

Photo courtesy of original Broadway company of The Band’s Visit

WHAT BEAUTIFUL BIRDS

Paving the way for nature photography as we know it, Eliott Porter was known for his polychromatic renderings of the fascinating marvels of nature. The Amon Carter Museum presents Eliot Porter’s Birds this January to highlight his love for photographing birds. Spanning over 50-years, this exhibit shows some of the most stunning and unique examples of avian photography. January 4 through May 10. At CarterMuseum.org

Photo courtesy of The Amon Carter Museum

STRENGTH FOR THE AGES

Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall presents The Color Purple as part of its Broadway Special Series. Running for only one night, this Tony award-winning revival tells the story of one of Broadway’s most resilient characters, Celie, over a 35- year span of her life. Set in Georgia in the early 20th century, this drama with a Grammy® Award-winning score of jazz, gospel, ragtime, and blues, combined with exhilarating dance numbers is a joy to behold for the whole family. January 5. At the BassHall.com

Photo courtesy of Bass Performance Hall

HOUSTON

A CLASSIC FAIRYTALE

For their 50th anniversary season, the Houston Ballet presents The Sleeping Beauty choreographed by the iconic Ben Stevenson. This exquisite ballet takes inspiration from the famous French fairytale in which a young princess is fated to sleep for 100 years, but is saved by a magical kiss from her lover. Coming this February, this classic story is perfect for the whole family. February 27 through March 8. At HoustonBallet.org

Photo courtesy of the Houston Ballet

RADICAL & INVENTIVE

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents Radical: Italian Design 1965-1985, The Dennis Freedman Collection, a new exhibit that examines the radical designs of Italy after World War II. Everything from furniture to architecture to even lighting designs are featured, with about half of the works being gifts from the Dennis Freedman Collection. February 14 through April 26. At MFAH.org

Photo courtesy of MFAH

A TIMELESS CLASSIC

This January, the Houston Grand Opera presents Verdi’s Aida with new designs and enchanting choreography. Set in ancient Egypt, this opera tells the story of a captured princess and a general who fall into a forbidden romance. This epic tale of love and loyalty is a must-see for all opera aficionados. January 31 through February 16. At HoustonGrandOpera.org

Photo courtesy of Houston Grand Opera

SAN ANTONIO

COMPELLING WOMEN

Mary Cassatt’s Women focuses on the artist’s images of the ordinary and often intimate moments from the daily lives of upper-middle-class women like herself—as they care for children, ride the public omnibus, or enjoy the ritual of having tea. What makes Cassatt’s work compelling is how she elevates what could be dismissed as mundane subject matter through her masterful approach to color and composition. Through February 9. At McNayArt..org

Courtesy of McNay Art Museum

IN LOVE AND WAR

From the creators of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon tells the dramatic story of a young Vietnamese woman who falls in love with an American G.I. but is torn by love, war, and family during the Vietnam War. Coming this January to San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre, this is a heart-wrenching show for more mature audiences. January 7 through 12. At SanAntonio.Broadway.com

Photo courtesy of the North American Touring Company of Miss Saigon

A NEW HISTORY OF ABSTRACT ART

This February, the San Antonio Museum of Art presents Texas Women: A New History of Abstract Art, a new exhibition that explores female artist’s exploration of abstract art in the 20th century. Featuring artists such as Dorthy Antoinette LaSelle, Susie Rosmarin, Terrel James, and many more, this exhibit incorporates a cultivated collection comprising a variety of materials, processes, and works. February 7 through May 3. At SAMuseum.org

Photo courtesy of The San Antonio Museum of Art and Terrell James