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 holiday season across the state.

AUSTIN

AUS Courtesy of The Texas Performing Arts at The University of Texas Austin, Hollywood, The Prodigal Son

HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH

The Austin Symphony Orchestra presents its Christmas holiday tradition, Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by Chorus Austin. A holiday classic and a city favorite, this night of musical magic will fill the audience with the season’s joy. December 6. At AustinSymphony.org.

 

 

ON IMAGE: Courtesy of Austin Symphony

AUS Torbjørn Rødland, Eggs, 2019. Chromogenic print on Kodak Endura paper. Artwork © Torbjørn Rødland.Courtesy the artist and NILS STÆRK, Copenhagen

MUY BONITO

Hilos de Tradición (Threads of Tradition) Dresses of Mexico is a collaborative exhibition with the Brownsville Historical Association. Featuring 37 traditional outfits representing each state in Mexico, they have been selected to showcase the traditional textiles, art, and dances of each region. Through February 26. At TheStoryofTexas.com.

 

ON IMAGE: Courtesy Brownsville Historical Association, Brownsville, TX.

Texas Gold Changed the World

AND ALL THAT PIZAZZ

There’s never been a better time to ramp up the razzle-dazzle this holiday season than by (re)experiencing Broadway’s smash hit and longest-running American Musical, CHICAGO. This triumphant show received six Tony® Awards, two Olivier® Awards, a Grammy®, and thousands of standing ovations. Bring your jazz hands. November 1 ̶ 6. At TexasPerformingArts.org.

 

ON IMAGE: Courtesy of Photo©Jeremy Daniel

DALLAS / FORT WORTH

DAL Anna, Paris 2017, Photo by Paolo Roversi_Courtesy of the Dallas Contemporary.

MIRROR, MIRROR

The Meadows Museum, SMU, will present Dalí/Vermeer: A Dialogue. Vermeer’s painting Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (c. 1663) is reinterpreted by Spanish Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí’s painting The Image Disappears (1938) in his appreciation of the 17th-century Dutch master. These paintings will appear side-by-side for the first time in history. Through January 15. At the MeadowsMuseumDallas.org. 

ON IMAGE: Vermeer, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, c. 1663. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest).

 

ON IMAGE: Salvador Dalí, The Image Disappears, 1938. Work loaned by the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí.© 2022 Salvador Dalí, Artists Rights Society.Image

DAL Photography is Art exhibition, Courtesy of Amon Carter Museum_ Alfred Stieglitz, A Wet Day on the Boulevard, Paris, Photogravure, 2013

MASTERFUL DISPLAY

Modern Masters: A Tribute to Anne Windfohr Marion highlights the contributions of one of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s most significant patron, tracing her support over nearly a half-century with an exhibition of 80 works by 47 artists. Through January 8. At TheModern.org.

ON IMAGE: Ellsworth Kelly, Spectrum III, 1967. Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Gift of Anne Windfohr Marion

DAL Photo by Andy Nguyen. Courtesy of Galleria Dallas

POPS GOES THE MUSIC

The beloved tradition of the Christmas Pops continues with the Dallas Symphony Chorus performing transcendental anthems, classical holiday favorites, and sing-along carols. Santa might even delight. With snow sprinkled in and joyous music, it’s a night to be remembered.  December 2 ̶ 11. At DallasSymphony.org.

ON IMAGE: Courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra

HOUSTON

HOUS Moooi Works, manufactured by Moooi, Mega Chandelier, 2018, mixed media and bulbs. © Moooi, New York

IT’S JUST LIKE THE ENGLISH

From Tudor Queens to Pop Icons, the six wives of Henry VIII take the microphone to remix five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st-century girl power. Six has won 23 awards, including the Tony® Award for Best Original Score and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. It’s worth losing your head over. November 8–20. At HoustonBroadway.com.

ON IMAGE: Photo by Joan Marcus

HOUS David Novros, Detail of right wall from Untitled, 1973–75. The Menil Collection, Houston jpg

ALL THAT GLITTERS

Golden Worlds: The Portable Universe of Indigenous Colombia showcases the diversity and brilliance of ancient Colombian cultures. Around 400 works spanning all the major Pre-Columbian cultures are displayed from intricately cast gold to ceramics and rare ancient textiles. Through April 16. At MFAH.org.

 

ON IMAGE: Calima, Colombia, Circular House Model, 200 BC–800 AD, gold, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Alfred C. Glassell, Jr.

HOUS Signature Works, Courtesy of Ars Lyrica Houston

SET YOUR SIGHTS HIGH

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the stage in this popular and dazzling family holiday spectacular. This annual tradition wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family. December 23-24. At Houston-Theater.com.

 

ON IMAGE: Courtesy of Cirque Dreams Holidaze

SAN ANTONIO

SA Brenda Rae, Metropolitan Opera, Courtesy of Opera San Antonio

LASTING IMPRESSION

Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche examines the enslaved Indigenous girl who served Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in many roles. Her image and historical and cultural legacy remain relevant to female empowerment five hundred years after her death. Through January 8. At SAMuseum.org.

 

ON IMAGE: Jesús Helguera (Mexican, 1910–71), La Malinche, 1941. Courtesy of Calendarios Landin

SA Martine Gutierrez, Still from Clubbing, 2012. HD video. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, © Martine Gutierrez.

HAPPINESS & CHEER

Doc Watkins and His Orchestra will present The Music of a Charlie Brown Christmas. New arrangements of Big Band holiday favorites, along with classic selections from A Charlie Brown Christmas will delight. December 14. At TobinCenter.org.

 

ON IMAGE: Courtesy of Doc Watkins

SA Gladys Roldan-De-Moras Memories From My Home, oil on linen

MAGICAL…ENCHANTING…UNFORGETTABLE

Lighthouse Immersive presents Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle, featuring whimsical animated characters alongside footage of professional ballet dancers. The joyful 30-minute experience is set to the sweeping music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, curating a grand immersive display. November 19–January 2. At Immersive-Nutcracker.com/San-Antonio.

 

ON IMAGE: Photo by Vladimir Kevorkov