As we transition from August into September (and hopefully cooler weather), there will be a nice variety of events in and around Dallas. Choices over the long holiday weekend include a world premiere play, classic movies as you haven't seen them before, a local music festival, three big-name concerts, two dance events, a celebration of dinosaurs, and more.
Below are the best ways to spend your free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, August 29
Second Thought Theatre presents What We Were
In collaboration with Circle Theatre, Second Thought Theatre closes its season with the world premiere of What We Were by acclaimed local playwright Blake Hackler. The play tells the story of three sisters who suffered a childhood of abuse. Weaving scenes from the past and present, the play explores responsibility, what we do to cope, and the very difficult work of healing. The play will run at Bryant Hall through September 21.
Improv Arlington presents Deon Cole
Since getting exposure as a writer on Conan, comedian Deon Cole has gone on to star in a string of television shows, including Black-ish, Grown-ish, Angie Tribeca, and the game show Face Value. He'll get back to his first love — stand-up comedy — by performing six times through Sunday at Improv Arlington.
Friday, August 30
AMC Theatres presents The Matrix: 20th Anniversary
Movie fans know that 1999 was one of the best movie years ever, featuring classics like Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and more. For one week only, AMC Theatres will celebrate the 20th anniversary of another classic, The Matrix, with showings in Dolby Cinema, featuring immersive state-of-the-art Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio. Screenings will take place at participating locations through September 5.
The Black Academy of Arts and Letters presents Riverfront Jazz Festival
The third annual Black Academy of Arts and Letters Riverfront Jazz Festival will feature three days of music performances, food, and vendor booths at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Led by honorary chair and performer Erykah Badu, the festival will feature performances by Raheem DeVaughn, members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Tito Puente, Jr., Avery Sunshine, Will Downing, and many others.
State Fair of Texas Rodeo
The State Fair of Texas is less than a month away, and they'll get you in the mood by bringing back a United Professional Rodeo Association Rodeo. Besides being UPRA sanctioned, the State Fair of Texas Rodeo draws contestants and spectators from across the nation. The two-night event at Fair Park Coliseum will be packed full of family-friendly entertainment, fun, and rodeo action.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Movie in Concert: Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
The Skywalker saga is about to come to a close when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits screens in December. While you wait for that, you can experience arguably the best movie of the first Star Wars trilogy, as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents The Empire Strikes Back Movie in Concert. The full 1980 film will be screened while the DSO performs John Williams' iconic score in its entirety. The concert will take place three times through Sunday at Meyerson Symphony Center.
Rascal Flatts in concert with Morgan Evans
Almost 20 years into their career, Rascal Flatts remains one of the most popular country music groups around. They've released a new album every 1-2 years since their debut in 2000, with four of those albums going to No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Country charts. They'll play at Dos Equis Pavilion in support of their 2017 album, Back to Us, joined by opening acts Jordan Davis and Morgan Evans.
Saturday, August 31
Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents Dino Fest
Back for its second year, Dino Fest is a paleontological party and celebration of all things dinosaur. All five levels of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will be teeming with dinosaur activities, including hands-on fossil digs, music and treats on the plaza, trivia, live interactions with birds of prey (aka modern-day dinosaurs), workshops, lectures, art activities, and more. The festival takes place through Sunday.
Dance Council of North Texas presents Dallas Dances
Dallas Dances is a festival featuring established and emerging artists chosen to celebrate excellence in diverse styles of dance and regional artistry in North Texas. Among the companies performing at the festival, taking place on Saturday and Sunday at Moody Performance Hall, will be Bruce Wood Dance, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Texas Ballet Theater, Dallas Ballet Company, Tejas Dance, and more.
Sunday, September 1
Avant Chamber Ballet presents Peter and the Wolf
Avant Chamber Ballet's first production of the year, Paul Mejia’s Peter and the Wolf, will feature world-class musicians and dancers in a family-friendly performance designed for kids of all ages with each character in the story represented by an instrument in the orchestra. After the performance, young audience members will be able to meet and have their photo taken with the characters from the ballet. There will be a performance at NorthPark Center on Sunday, followed by a performance at Moody Performance Hall on September 7.
Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms in concert
The '90s will come alive again when Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms co-headline this concert at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving. Collective Soul, known for hits like "Shine" and "December," hasn't slowed down since their 1994 debut, releasing 10 albums, including 2019's Blood. Gin Blossoms, which had hits like "Til I Hear It From You" and "Follow You Down," took a break for a decade before a comeback in the 2000s, including 2018's Mixed Reality.
Backstreet Boys in concert
The best boy bands never truly go away. It's been 23 years since the Backstreet Boys released their debut album, and they show no signs of fading into the background. Their latest album, 2019's DNA, hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, and given the fact that they're playing one of the largest venues in Dallas-Fort Worth, American Airlines Center, you can expect them to continue entertaining for years to come.