MILLER OUTDOOR THEATRE CELEBRATES 100 YEARS
OF EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCES
Rolling down the hill to celebrate is optional but encouraged during the Anniversary season
As the curtain rises on the 100th Anniversary performance season at Miller Outdoor Theatre (MOT), The Miller Theatre Advisory Board has announced that Houstonians and visitors alike can expect eight months of exceptional cultural arts programming plus four stellar 100th celebratory events, all free of charge to the public.
The 100th season kicked off March 17 when Irish eyes will smile when The Trinity Irish Dance Company brings their progressive Irish Dance to Houston for St. Patrick’s Day. The following evening transports all to 1923, the “birth” of Miller Outdoor Theatre, complete with a celebratory roaring 20s themed extravaganza with Vaudeville performers, swing dance lessons, photo opportunities and more.
Additionally, the Board has launched a $12.5 million dollar capital campaign to raise necessary funds to improve the visitor experience at the theatre. Renovations and improvements will be made to the theatre’s fixed and hillside seating. Also, the creation of a signature entryway to the theatre will both welcome guests and facilitate smooth access in and out of the facility.
As always, admission to MOT remains free to all. Everyone is encouraged to make Miller memories during the 100th anniversary season.
“Everyone has a special memory from a Miller visit,” explained Managing Director Cissy Segall Davis. “When you think about it, Miller Outdoor Theatre has been in about everyone’s life at one time or another. This theatre has launched careers, celebrated birthdays, engagements, and date night. I wish I had a dollar for every time a performer told me there’s no other place in the world that feels like Miller does when you’re on that stage peering out in the crowds and that beautiful park. It really is just magical. Thanks to our dedicated Board, who’ve spent years planning for this 100th celebration, we’re very excited about the season-long celebration. We think everyone in Houston will feel the Miller love and how grateful we are to have this jewel of an entertainment venue called Miller Outdoor Theatre to share with the world.”
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
MOT was created in 1919 when native Houstonian Jesse Wright Miller donated land to the City of Houston. Funds generated from the land sale were used to build an outdoor theatre on the current site in Hermann Park. It was designed by William Ward Watkin and built by Tom Tellepsen in 1922 as an amphitheater surrounded by twenty Corinthian-style limestone columns. Dedicated in 1923, the theatre served the community as a gathering space for free performances including amplified radio broadcasts such as the 1925 World Series and the 1927 World Heavyweight Boxing Championship.
Notable performers over the past 100 years include Tejano superstar Selena; Tony Award winner Tommy Tune; and Grammy Award winning performers Little Joe y La Familia, singer Arooj Aftab, Houston Chamber Choir and many more.
Today the Miller Theatre Advisory Board curates a wide spectrum of performances and programs to share and celebrate diverse artistic expression reflective of Houston. From rock to Bach, Miller offers the best in live music, dance, theatre, film and more. A few signature performances on the calendar include Juneteenth; the Houston Symphony Patriotic Fourth of July celebration with fireworks; Houston Shakespeare Festival; Cinco de Mayo; and countless other shows including the March 24 I am King: The Michael Jackson Experience and the extraordinary collaboration of Bella Gaia and The Earth Harp Collective for the season finale on November 11. With 140 performances throughout the season there’s a show for everyone.
Exceptional performances require sophisticated facilities and over the past 100 years innumerable improvements and renovations have been made to the theatre. Most notably, the original theatre was demolished sometime in the mid 1960’s and replaced in 1968 with the soaring steel structure present today which won numerous awards for its design. Further refurbishments were made between the years 1996 and 1998. Funds raised through the current capital campaign will provide renovations and improvements that will greet future Miller visitors providing the next generation of theatregoers with an incredible, more-modern, and state-of-the art theatre experience. Miller Outdoor Theatre is managed by Houston First Corporation.
“Miller is for everyone,” stated Romulo Tim Cisneros, Chair of the Miller Theatre Advisory Board. “Our goal as Board members is to invite the world’s performers to Houston to share their gifts with our community. It’s both a privilege and honor to serve on the Board and one I very much cherish.”
Make plans to join the season-long celebration. For the entire 2023 performance and event calendar and details on how to obtain FREE tickets for the covered seating, visit milleroutdoortheatre.com.
Photos courtesy of Miller Outdoor Theatre