Hello again, readers!
I know September 15, 1968 is not a date that means much to people, but for me, it means the world. On this auspicious day, musicals were brought to Miller Outdoor Theatre by a budding little theatre company known as Theatre Under The Stars. I was quite surprised to learn that this may have never of happened because the open-air facility was only intended for use by the Houston Symphony. Luckily, the theatre lent itself as a natural location for musicals and TUTS was able to perform their first show, Bells Are Ringing, for free to the Houston community. According to TUTS’ Historian Jim Bernhard, on this first show “cast members worked for free, supplied their own costumes, and even helped raise the $4,400 required to cover the expenses of the production, including the payroll for stagehands and musicians. In a single performance of Bells Are Ringing, it was seen by 4,500 people.”
Rain or shine, the tradition of performing a Broadway-quality musical at Miller Outdoor Theatre continues to this day. What I love most about these summer shows is the exposure of musical theatre to folks who might not otherwise experience a live performance of this stature. I have personally witnessed kids “find their calling” into the acting profession after attending one of the free musicals produced by TUTS out at the park. To light the fire of passion for the arts makes every moment of hard work in putting together a large scale show so worthwhile.
I was out at the park last night to see the performance of Yankee Doodle Dandy, and despite the rain and humidity, patrons were still lining up to get their tickets and spreading out blankets on top of the large hill. The small bouts of rain never damped the spirits of those who truly wanted to see a grand TUTS production and that is inspiring enough to keep this wonderful theatre organization coming back after 45 years.
Have you ever attended a TUTS show out at Miller Outdoor Theatre? Do you prefer the covered seating area or to sit on the hill?
Until next time,