The first weekend in February brings a little something for everybody, including a concert from a jazz great, the national tour of one of the latest movie-to-musical theater productions, comedy from an honest-to-goodness Oscar winner, and the return of one of the more memorable '90s hip hop groups.
Below are the best options for your precious free time Thursday through Sunday. Don't like what you see? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, February 4
The Sixth Floor Museum presents Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster 1844–2012
The Sixth Floor Museum will be the first venue to host the traveling exhibit Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster 1844–2012. The exhibit showcases exciting and rarely seen posters created in the last 170 years, exploring a variety of American political poster styles, design trends, and printing technology. Sign of the Times will be on display through March 10.
Branford Marsalis in concert
Saxophonist extraordinaire Branford Marsalis is jazz royalty, as he's the son of the great Ellis Marsalis and brother of Wynton, and he's also the original bandleader of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Marsalis will play at Dallas City Performance Hall in support of his album, Branford Marsalis Quartet Performs Coltrane's A Love Supreme Live in Amsterdam.
Dallas Summer Musicals presents The Bridges of Madison County
The Bridges of Madison County, based on the 1995 film starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep (and the book before that), may not be an obvious candidate for a musical, but don't be fooled. The story of Italian housewife Francesca Johnson and her four-day whirlwind romance with photographer Robert Kincaid has great songs, with composer Jason Robert Brown winning two Tony Awards for his work. Dallas Summer Musicals will present the production through February 14.
17th International Theatre Festival
The annual International Theatre Festival, hosted by Teatro Dallas, is a festival dedicated to the art that comes out of Mexico. The festival will feature four performances over three days at Dallas Children's Theater, including Danielle Georgiou Dance Group's Pizzicato Porno, Laboratorio de la Máscara and Idiotas Teatro's Caracol y Colibrí (Snail & Hummingbird), Violeta Luna (Without words)'s Parting Memories, and Grupo Teatral Tehuantepec's Otro Día de Fiesta (Another Day Partying).
Friday, February 5
Addison Improv presents Mo'Nique
Academy Award-winning actress Mo'Nique was fierce in her performance in 2009's Precious, but her career has otherwise been based on laughter. She starred on the sitcom The Parkers and on her own talk show, The Mo'Nique Show, and has continued to tour as a stand-up comedian. She'll do the latter in four performances on Friday and Saturday at Addison Improv.
Saturday, February 6
Mardi Gras Oak Cliff's 7th Annual OCarnivale Masquerade Ball
In advance of the official Mardi Gras date of Tuesday, February 9, The Kessler will host the annual OCarnivale Masquerade Ball, a night of dancing and debauchery in the Mardi Gras tradition. The event will include live music by bands like Ice House, Zydeco Blanco, and Club Wood, and a delicious Cajun buffet from Chef Ivan Pugh.
Naughty by Nature in concert
In the early-to-mid 1990s, the hip hop group Naughty by Nature was near inescapable thanks to hits like "O.P.P.," "Hip Hop Hooray," and "Feel Me Flow." They'll celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut album with this special concert at South Side Music Hall, with help from opening acts -Topic and DJ Menace.
Sunday, February 7
Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Shostakovich 7
The recent announcement that conductor Jaap van Zweden will be leaving the Dallas Symphony Orchestra following the 2017-2018 season means classical music lovers should cherish the remaining concerts he will lead. The DSO's latest concert, playing Thursday through Sunday, will feature Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7.