Thursday, July 18, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston, Texas - 90 years old


Symphonic [Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston, Texas, June 25, 2010] / Adam Baker / CC-BY-2.0
Last night I was feeling all nostalgic because I was missing the opening of Shakespeare in the Park at Lynndale Park in Lynnwood, Washington, something I went to every year in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

My love of Shakespeare dates back to a class I took in my senior year of high school.  We chose two semester-long electives for English that year, and I chose poetry and Shakespeare.  The latter involved reading and discussing the plays, and going to some live performances.  I still have all of my old-style 1960s Folger Shakespeare Library paperbacks from that class (and I completed my collection of all the plays edited by Louis Wright and Virginia Lamar on my own).

That hooked me on Shakespeare.  The summer after I graduated from high school, in 1975, I dragged my boyfriend to the Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park in Houston to see A Midsummer's Night Dream.  That was the first season for the Houston Shakespeare Festival, and apparently that performance starred Cindy Pickett (Ferris Bueller's mother in Ferris Bueller's Day Off) as Titania (her father, Cecil Pickett, was a long-time director with the Festival).  The show also featured actor Brett Cullen.  I'm not sure what role he was in, but he looks an awful lot like the guy playing Francis Flute (in the female role of Thisbe in the play-within-the-play) in this photo I took during the performance:

In my research for this post, I learned that the Miller Outdoor Theater is 90 years old this year.  The original opened in 1923 and was replaced with the current structure in 1968.  You can read more about the theater's history and see photos of the original in these two links:

http://blog.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2012/06/a-brief-history-of-miller-outdoor-theatre/#5949-1

http://houstonhistorymagazine.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Harwell-Miller-Outdoor-Theatre.pdf

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

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