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Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston
By Joan Whetzel
Houston's Miller Outdoor Theater, one of the gem's of Hermann Park, has offered high-quality, outdoor performances on stage since 1923, all free to the public. Eight months out of the year, Miller Theater provides shows that are as culturally diverse as the people of Houston. All performances are free, thanks to the Miller Theater Advisory Board, the organization in charge of obtaining the public and private funding for these performances.
Productions and Events
The shows offered at the Miller Theater cover a broad range of interests: children's shows, cultural activities, music, dance, plays, Shakespeare, and even movies. The most popular performances, for several years running, have included productions by the Houston Ballet, the Houston Grand Opera, and the Houston Symphony, as well as plays by Theater Under the Stars, Hits Theater, and the Ft. Bend Theater.
Each season now offers 2 to 3 movie events, showing a different film over three nights, with all films in the series revolving around a theme. In 2012, one of the movie "suites" centered around the brat pack: "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club", "Pretty in Pink" the second set of movies were Humphrey Bogart favorites, "Casa Blanca", "Key Largo", and "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." They even have a movie sing-along, where audiences get watch a classic musical film - like "The Sound of Music" - and are actually encouraged to sing along with the film.
Cultural events include celebrations of Cinco de Mayo, Dia de la Raza and Dia de los Muertos, Junteenth festivities celebrating passing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the annual Asian Festival, and a Chinese Dance special every year. Every August, the Houston Shakespeare Festival produces 2 of the Bard's plays on alternating evenings for 2 weeks. In 2012, the plays were "Hamlet" and "A Comedy of Errors."
The show season takes a short hiatus from December through February when it's usually too cold and too rainy for visitors to sit on the hill and for performers on stage.
Patrons have the opportunity to obtain free tickets from the box office for assigned seating on the day of the performance. Five minutes before the show starts, whatever seats remain unoccupied are released to the public, so that anyone may sit in the seated area. Patrons also have the option of showing up with their picnics and either blankets or lawn chairs to camp out on the hill just behind the main seating. The theater even has the hill seating designated for blankets on one side and lawn chairs on the other side so there are no problems with visibility.
A Few TIps
- Shows are never cancelled due to weather unless the conditions are dangerous (high lightning strikes, hurricanes, tornadoes).
- ·Listening devices for the hearing impaired are available at the Miller Theater Security Desk, one hour prior to curtain time.
- A concession stand offers refreshments and picnic supplies for evening performances.
- Miller Theater does not permit audio or video recordings of performances.
- Glass containers are not permitted at the Miller Theater or in Hermann Park under a City of Houston ordinance.
- Patrons with lawn chairs should sit on the left side of the hill (when facing the stage) and patrons with blankets should sit on the right side of the hill.
- Patrons are invited to bring their dogs to hillside seating, but must keep them on a leash.
Miller Outdoor Theater is located at:
6000 Hermann Park Drive
(near the Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Garden Center)
- Use the parking in the Science Museum or Garden Center Parking lots for evening performances.
- Handicapped parking is available, with the most convenient handicap spots located at the Houston Garden Center.
- Patrons may also get to the park and the Miller Theater by parking at the Fannin South Park & Ride, located on Fannin at West Bellfort, and taking the METRORail to stop Hermann Park/Rice University stop.
For further information, visit the Miller Outdoor Theater website at: www.milleroutdoortheatre.com
Or call: (832) 487-7102
A complete calendar of events is updated every year and posted on the theaters website at: http://milleroutdoortheatre.com/events/month/