Houston’s theater district readies for first season after Hurricane Harvey

Posted on: August 21, 2018

A year after Hurricane Harvey, “Houston’s major ballet, opera, symphony and theater companies … are thrilled to be returning to normal. Sort of,” writes Molly Glentzer in Friday’s (8/17) Houston Chronicle. “The Wortham Center, the district’s largest and most damaged venue, is home to Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, Da Camera and many Society for the Performing Arts events. It remains a work in progress…. Even less-impacted companies do not expect a full recovery this season…. Disaster recovery for an arts organization’s bottom line is not a one-year problem, said Perryn Leech, the opera’s managing director. ‘It’s a three-year problem.’ … Houston Symphony lost $1.6 million in ticket sales after canceling performances at Jones Hall for seven weeks, but also lost $1.8 million in gifts. Executive director and CEO John Mangum said many donors instead supported the Red Cross. ‘We’re trying to see how many of those people will return,’ he said. ‘I think by the time we reach 2020, 2021, we’ll be back.’ ” Shiela Turkiewicz, the theater division chief of Houston First, which manages the venues, “said the company has … not yet learned what FEMA will pay for theater district repairs.”

Posted August 21, 2018

In photo: Workers tape off an entrance into the Brown Theater for painting at the refurbished Wortham Theater Center Wednesday Aug. 15, 2018 in Houston as the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet prepare to return to the space after it was severely damaged during Hurricane Harvey. The first performance will take place on September 26. Photo by Michael Ciaglo