14:28 PM

Live shows resume at Bayou Theater, Mercury opens new season

After last year's almost blanket cancellation of live theater performances, the Bayou Theater at University of Houston-Clear Lake is announcing its new 2021-22 season, presenting 11 new, in-person shows covering numerous genres. In keeping with tradition, the Mercury Chamber Orchestra will open the new season on Friday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

"We begin with Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," said Antoine Plante, artistic director, conductor and co-founder of Mercury. "It's a wonderful, descriptive piece of music that is accompanied by poetry that Vivaldi wrote. We have created beautiful photos that will be shown in the background, so there's a multimedia aspect to this performance. The poetry goes along with the music that is describing the images that he's imagining in his mind."

Plante said "The Four Seasons" was a Bayou Theater fan favorite. "It's a favorite of ours as well," he said. "You can hear the leaves in the wind, the beautiful songs of many birds, people playing in the snow, dogs barking. It's a simple, yet beautiful treat, with great pictures behind the orchestra. It's simple poetry, but it makes the music magical."

Cultural Arts Director Eric Despard said that must-see shows included Mercury's much-loved opener, as well as Broadway veteran and TV actor Jeff McCarthy's "Night of Broadway Cabaret" on Wednesday, Sept. 8 and singer Shemekia Copeland on Friday, Jan. 28.

"Jeff McCarthy is also a visual artist and is also presenting his first solo exhibition in UHCL's Art Gallery, with an opening reception from 4-6 p.m. on the same night as his stage performance," he said. "Jeff has been in many TV shows and movies, and was in the original Broadway cast of 'Urinetown.' His exhibition is of pastel paintings he's done while on the road."

Copeland has sung with music legends such as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and the Rolling Stones, and has performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama.

"As we launch a more modest season than usual, we hope live performance enthusiasts will enjoy as many performances as possible at the Bayou Theater," said Despard. "The new season offers a return of the exceptional musical experiences you have come to expect as we aspire to entertain, engage and educate."

For more information about Bayou Theater events, or to purchase season passes or tickets, go online.