Waco Theater Kicks Off 2023 with a Bang

This February brings new productions by many of Waco’s theater groups. And for fans of musicals, in one month you can see Patience, an opera bursting with bawdy satire of fad fashion; How I Got Over, the story of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson; The Addams Family: A New Musical, an entertaining evening with TV’s kookiest family; and Heathers: The Musical, a cynical look at the cruel world of the American teen.

But even if musicals are not to your taste, there are plenty of other options too. And for those not yet familiar with Waco’s ever-growing theater community, there has never been a better time to dive right in.

Patience (February 2–5)

Baylor Opera provides audiences with a wholly unique artistic experience with its fresh look at Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic operetta Patience. Though the satire was originally composed in the 1870s, this innovative production features an updated setting and costumes.

The show is in English and takes place in a coffee shop near a college campus in 1970, complete with far-out fashion and groovy shop décor,” says Baylor professor Jen Stephenson. “All the performers that the audience will see on stage also helped build and paint the set. They are a multi-talented group of students.”

Patience runs from February 2–5 at the Jones Theater in Baylor University’s Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now.

A Decadent Death (February 11)

A delicious—and dangerous!—evening awaits audiences at Brazos Theatre with its performance of A Decadent Death. This interactive dinner-theater event features food from Waco chef Nathaniel Gay.

“Expect a great night out,” said Brazos Theatre founder Beth Richards, “and a really fun evening with your significant other or group of friends.” As for Gay’s menu, she added, “We’re serving a choice of smoked pork tenderloin with an apple demi-glace, lemon rosemary chicken, and vegetarian pasta.”

A Decadent Death has one performance on February 11 at Brazos Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.

How I Got Over (February 9–12)

Waco Civic Theatre brings audiences the uplifting music of singer and civil rights activist Mahalia Jackson. The show features choral performances of many of her songs and details her journey in becoming one of the most prolific black gospel singers of all time.

Waco Civic Theatre Executive Director Eric Shephard said How I Got Over is “one of a series of shows celebrating and exploring what it means to be an American, and how our family’s culture, be it musical or botanical—as in the play Native Gardens—informs us and others who we are beyond our names, where we live, or the professions we practice.”

He added that the production has two goals: “I hope it’s a very fun time hearing—and maybe singing along with—some very talented singers. I also hope people find it inspiring, as it ties the spiritual meaning of the songs to the cultural experience of Black gospel.”

How I Got Over runs from February 9–12 at Waco Civic Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.

Sweat (February 1619)

Wild Imaginings, now entering its fourth year of performances in Waco, begins its new season on February 16 with Sweat. This Pulitzer-winning story is set in a bar in Reading, Virginia, where audiences watch friends struggle with issues of community responsibility, the economy, race, and identity. 

For Wild Imaginings, the decision to make Sweat its first performance of 2023 was no accident. Director Trent Sutton explained, “We chose it with Waco in mind… the show is for those who are ready to engage with issues of race, who are curious about learning from other experiences and perspectives, and who want to support art that is challenging.”

Sweat runs from February 16-19 at Mission Waco’s Jubilee Theater. Tickets are on sale now.

Heathers: The Musical (February 22–26)

The end of the month brings Silent House Theatre Company’s production of Heathers: The Musical. This adaptation of the cult classic dramedy is steeped in angst and melodrama and will captivate both fans of the original movie and newcomers alike.

When asked about the play’s allure, Silent House co-founder Bradyn Braziel said, “It fits our brand as a dark ‘pushing boundaries piece’ and is a well-known story that will test our audiences, who can expect a show with catchy music, stunning visuals, shocking twists, and relatable themes told and felt through the lens of ‘80s teen angst.”

Heathers: The Musical runs from Feb 22–26 at Waco Civic Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.

Additional live theater in Waco this month includes:

  • Annie Jr. & Newsies Jr. double feature, February 2, 3, and 5 at Waco Civic Theatre. Tickets.
  • Once, February 22–26 at Baylor University’s Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Tickets.
  • The Addams Family: A New Musical, February 23–25, McLennan Community College’s Ball Performing Arts Center. Tickets.

Check out past Waco Insider theater articles.

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Jonathan Kinder is a graduate of Baylor University's Professional Writing and Rhetoric program and hopes to shed light on Waco's burgeoning cultural scene. He has an insatiable drive to understand the creative process and is enthralled by the passion many have to create art.

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