Top Five Things to Do This Weekend: Jubilee of Dance, Kimberly Akimbo, Santaland Diaries, Dickens on the Strand and more
Houston Ballet's principal dancer Amy Fote is hanging up her toeshoes, and on Friday, to mark the occasion, the company is dedicating their ninth annual Jubilee of Dance: A Tribute to Amy Fote in her honor. Fote joined the Houston Ballet in 2005. It took her less than a year to be named a principal dancer. This one-night-only performance, composed of short pieces showcasing present and future stars of Houston Ballet, will be both celebratory and bittersweet. Jubilee will feature Fote in a pas de deux from Manon with principal Connor Walsh, in excerpts from Stanton Welch's Marie and in Act III of The Merry Widow. The program will also include excerpts from George Balanchine's Theme and Variations; excerpts from Welch's La Bayadère, Clear and Indigo; and Twyla Tharp's The Brahms/Haydn Variations.
Courtesy of Houston Ballet Amy Fote
Say good-bye to Amy Fote on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, visit the Houston Ballet Web site or call 713-227-2787. $35 to $165.
The biting satire Kimberly Akimbo, our recommendation for Saturday, makes its Houston premiere in a production by Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company. Directed by Ron Jones, Kimberly is a dark comedy about a teenaged girl who has a rare disease that makes her rapidly age. She's 16 years old, but she looks and feels like she's 72; soon she'll die. Surrounding her are her hypochondriac and very pregnant mother, alcoholic father and scheming aunt. When a schoolmate asks if he can write a paper on Kimberly's condition, she agrees and the two begin a friendship that's the closest thing to normalcy she's ever known. But her family, ever self-absorbed, complicates the situation and threatens to sabotage Kimberly's one chance at happiness, and she's in a hurry to pack as much as she can into what little life she has left. "What's a couple of days?" one character asks Kimberly. "In Kimberly time, it's about a week and a half. It's like dog years," she answers.
Photo by Christie Stryk Kimberly Akimbo
See Carolyn Boone, Kim Tobin-Lehl, Jennifer Decker, Luke Fedell and Ty Doran in Kimberly Akimbo at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. Studio 101, 1824 Spring Street. For information, visit the Mildred's Umbrella Web site or call 832-463-0409. $10 to $18.
Another recommendation for Saturday is The Santaland Diaries, an annual show at the Alley Theatre that's now in its final outing. Popular humorist David Sedaris once worked as a Christmas elf at Macy's in Manhattan, and the world of comedy has not been the same since. His insightful eye saw the seasonal Santa handle the demanding customers from an insider's perspective and yielded the one-man show. In a tour de force, veteran Alley performer Todd Waite returns to his role as Crumpet the Elf -- he must be the tallest elf in Christendom -- to regale us again with the trials and tribulations of employment as one of Santa's helpers. Waite is a master of the fixed stare of consternation and the double take of disbelief at the horrors beneath the white cotton snow. This is a comedy for mature audiences. The play was adapted by Joe Mantello from the original comedic essay by Sedaris and is directed here by David Cromer, who keeps the pace dynamic and the humor flowing.
See The Santaland Diaries at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 6 and 9 p.m. Fridays, 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Through December 30. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, visit the Alley Theatre Web site or call 713-220-5700 or . $29 to $38.
Author Charles Dickens was definitely a rock star in his era. The 39th Annual Dickens on the Strand Victorian Holiday Festival, running both Saturday and Sunday, celebrates both the writer and the Victorian era with a street festival, costumed characters (both Victorian and steampunk), handbell and choir concerts, food and gift vendors, entertainment, Steampunk Square and even bed racing. The author's great-great-great grand-daughter will also be on hand as the festival attempts a world-record birthday card signing for the 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth.
Step back in time, Steampunk style, at Dickens on the Strand at 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The Strand District, Galveston. For information, visit the festival's Web site. $8 to $14.
Our recommendation for Sunday is Viv! (The Story Behind the Legend of Vivien Leigh) by frequent Houston Press contributor Jim Tommaney. The new romantic comedy is based on the life of Vivien Leigh, one of the most talented and beautiful women of her time. She gave two legendary performances on film, Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche DuBois, winning an Oscar for both, but her real talent was for the stage, where she spent 30 years as the undisputed queen of English theater. Unfortunately, her personal life was as tumultuous as her professional life was illustrious. She was prone to falling in love with her leading men, including Marlon Brando and Warren Beatty. She left her first husband for Laurence Olivier. The two were the English theater's leading couple on and off stage until their divorce. Eventually, suffering from health and mental problems, she sacrificed everything in pursuit of her art. Tyrrell Woolbert plays Vivien Leigh (seen above) and James R. Monaghan is the devoted fan who brings her back from the afterlife to set the record straight in this Edge Theatre production.
See Viv! 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays. Through December 16. Midtown Art Center, 3414 LaBranch. For information, call 832‑894‑1843. $10 to $20.
Alex Randall, Jim J. Tommaney and Bob Ruggiero contributed to this post.
501 Texas Ave., Houston, TX