HOUSTON - Shedding a whole new light on classical music, the Underground Railway Theater will join the Houston Symphony for the May 9th installment of First Concerts, performances for children ages 4 - 12 and their grownups. The 20-year-old troupe, founded in Oberlin, Ohio, but now based in Boston, will use shadow puppetry to animate the mischievous characters from Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, based on Flemish folklore, and the colorful creations in Stravinsky's The Firebird, the Russian fairy-tale. But before the Underground Railway Theater takes the stage with the musicians, the young and the young-at-heart can participate in such pre-concert activities as walking through the Instrument Petting Zoo and mingling with Living Instruments. But the biggest attraction of all is Stephen Stein, conductor-in-residence of the Houston Symphony since 1992. Stein regularly writes and produces these concerts and is in much demand as a guest conductor for Pops and "serious" gigs, but after this season the maestro is leaving the field of music to begin a five-year program to become a rabbi.
The Underground Railway Theater's appearance with the Houston Symphony, entitled "Shadow Puppet Spectacular," takes place on May 9 at Jones Hall. For tickets, $10 for adults and $7 for children for reserved seating and $5 for adults and $3 for children for general admission seating, call (713) 227-ARTS in Houston or (800) 828-ARTS out of town.
By Peter Szatmary