HOUSTON – The Theater District in Houston Wednesday night put on “Houston Strong: A Theater District Benefit Honoring Local Heroes.”
It was a free concert to help raise money for Harvey relief and provide some peace.
“Tonight is about honoring Houstonians, their resilience, their strength, trying to provide a little enjoyment from the chaos of Harvey,” said Kathryn McNiel, CEO of the Theater District Houston.
All seven Theater District resident companies – The Alley Theatre, Da Camera of Houston, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Society for the Performing Arts and Theatre Under The Stars – came together to put on the concert at the Miller Outdoor Theatre.
“I’m a lover of the arts, I’m very enthusiastic about the arts and I do know that our art community has taken a hit,” said Sabali Watkins, who brought her toddler to the free concert.
The storm, which dumped a historic amount of rainfall on Houston last month, didn’t spare the downtown theaters. McNiel said Hobby is up and running again, but the Alley and Wortham theaters have extensive damage.
“Art is very therapeutic, so that’s another reason I’m out here, I need to get my fix and I need to let them know we love them and don’t stop what you’re doing,” said Watkins.
“Just a little solace, get a little peace and joy, we love music and dance, the theater, you can’t do any better than that,” said Ron Kalutz, who is from Friendswood.
He and his wife of 50 years wore their #FriendswoodStrong shirts to the concert. Not only were they there to support their 10-year-old granddaughter, who is a singer with Theater Under the Stars, it was a moment for them to escape the reality of what Harvey did to their home.
“The street that we live on is just like a devastation zone,” said Kalutz. “We’re pretty much devastated, everything is gone.”
The concert promoted the Harvey Relief Fund, a donation pool set up by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.
If people are interested in donating, they can go to www.ghcf.org or text HARVEY2017 to 91999.
KPRC Channel 2’s Khambrel Marshall served as one of the emcees for the event.
McNiel said all the companies are still operating and performing, but they may be at unexpected places.
For example, she said the Houston Opera is performing at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Houston Ballet is at the Hobby Center and The Alley Theater is at the University of Houston.