Quixote Nuevo HSC HTC Alley 9-19 203

The Alley’s popular All New festival (Jan. 16-26) celebrates five years of delivering pioneering new material in the form of readings, workshops and world premieres — for free.


This year’s festivities take audience members on a trip back in history, with debuts like Katie Bender’s Survivors, an Alamo Play, which tells the story of women, children and enslaved people who survived the battle of the Alamo; and Theresa Rebeck’s latest show, Enlightened, directed by Brandon Weinbrenner, tells the tale of what happened when news of the Declaration of Independence reaches the Pennsylvania woods where fears of witchcraft have taken hold.

There will also be readings of new works like High School Play: A Nostalgia Fest, written by Texas native Vichet Chum and depicting a Plano high school’s theater troupe’s competition run, and an early-draft preview of Houstonian Arthur M. Jolly’s play about the 1926 disappearance of Agatha Christie.

As a bonus, this year’s festival includes a showing of Octavio Solis’Quixote Nuevo, a colorful reimagining of the classic Don Quixote featuring Tejano music and starring Sesame Street’s Emilio Delgado. There’s a chat with the set designer before the matinee performance this Sunday; with the director on Jan. 25; and with the entire cast on Jan. 28.

For more information and tickets, visit alleytheatre.org/allnew.

Dispatches

“I WISH I came here sooner to experience this amazing city,” says advanced sommelier Rachel Van Til of her move to Houston just one year before the pandemic lockdown. When Covid appeared in 2020, along with layoffs and closings, it led to a career swerve for Van Til, a working mom who was a sommelier at Pappas Steakhouse. She took over the wine program at The Clubs at Houston Oaks, a posh (initiation fees can range into the six figures) members-only club northwest of the city with 10 lodges, 17 lakes, 900 acres and six dining options. Speaking of lots of good food and vino, the club’s 2022 Wine and Food Classic is this February 12 — it’s a great chance to taste hundreds of wines from around the world and learn about them from winemakers and professionals. “It’s our largest event of the year and it’s open to the public.” In our Q&A, Rachel dishes on her favorite date night, best wines to try this year and her brush with the me-too movement!

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