Friday, July 16, 2010

We did something a circus like way.

My nephew, Mark, is playing the lead part of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors at Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston.  This is a TUTS production and it's a big deal.  The play is running from July 13 - we made plans to go last night, the 15th.  Thursday worked for everyone involved.

But as only this family can do....
our evening of culture had a few twists. 

The Miller Outdoor Theater is tucked into an area of Hermann Park with a covered seating area down in the front and surrounded by a hill........where most patrons pack their blankets and picnic baskets for a night of family fun.  If you want to sit in the seats under cover with the huge fans (and by that, I mean the ones in the ceilings with blades turning), you must go to the theater ticket office the morning of the show and get your FREE reserved seating tickets.

No problem...Chuck works downtown...a quick trip over there for him.  So the plan was for Chuck to head over yesterday morning, pick up our 4 tickets...the maximum per person.  He invited  3 of his co-workers to go and so one of them went with him to get 4 more tickets.  A total of 8 tickets for Row N. 
Check that off the list.

Now do the calculations to figure out when everyone needs to leave the house or office to get there before the play opens at 8:15.  Got it.  Chuck stayed at the office.....we would leave the northwest suburb of Houston no later than 6:30 and park in his downtown parking garage.  The whole gang would walk 3 blocks to the Metro Rail (adding to the adventure) which would drop us off within a 5 minute walk to the theater. 

If you did the math, 6:30 to 8:15 is almost 2 hours.  It is 1 hour and 45 minutes.  We are 45 minutes from downtown at non-traffic hours.  Surely this would be plenty of cushion. 

WTHWWT?  (What the he$$ were we thinking?)  It's Houston. 

Will and I left the house at 6:20.....picked up Cameron and her friend at her apartment only 10 minutes away....flew through a Sonic for a quick bite to go, got on the freeway and started to fly.  And fly and fly and fly. And then traffic stopped.  And we crawled.........and crawled.  We should have been downtown no later than 7:30. 

But at 7:30 we were still crawling and were only half-way.  And because it's Houston....there is never a reason.  We could see flashing lights way up ahead....but no wreck. 

At this point, I commented....."Watch, we are going to crawl at this snail's pace and then all of a sudden it's going to start moving again.......and we will never know what the problem was."

And that's exactly what happened.....only now it was 7:45 ish....yikes.

Oh, well....worse case....we miss the opening. 

Fast forward...only it was really in slow motion....just fast forwarding this part for you....we got to Chuck's....he met us outside of his in the driver's seat and parked us underground...we took the elevator back up to street level...met up with his co-workers...did the quick introducing....speed-walked (sped-walked?) to the Metro Rail stop...had to wait for the next train.  Finally get on the drops us off at the park.  Could see the theater in the very near distance.

But instead of following the crowd to the left......our bright group decided to go straight .....cutting through the grass .....a shortcut if you will.  Because everyone knows the shortest path is straight. 

And that was working until we came up to a mile long fountain of water about 20 yards wide and deep. 

And that is why everyone else was walking to the left....on the gravel paths.  Ah, makes so much sense now.  So DETOUR to the left.  And pick up speed.

Up, up, up, up the hill.  At this point we were all dripping with sweat...and most were panting like dogs.

But here's the great news!  We're almost to the covered area....and it's only 8:14!!!  We send Chuck ahead.....Cameron joins him....they run the last few hundred yards to our seats.  I don't really know why we did this.  It just seemed like a good idea.












Free, assigned seat tickets are available at the Miller Theatre Box Office on first-come first-serve basis while supplies last between 10:30 am and 1:00 pm on the day of the performance . Remaining tickets are given out one hour before curtain. Assigned, ticketed seats will be held until 5 minutes before the performance starts.

yeah.  That was like so 4 minutes earlier.


So the air was let out of our balloon.  We all scattered furiously looking for seats.....way, way, way in the back.  But I feel sure we entertained all those people who had been sitting in their seats for a long time by now.  There were 8 of us.  And 2 had run into the seated section no telling what that looked like for the seated audience.  Traveling circus....that's us.

By now, I'm thinking....this better be good.  I sent Chuck and his co-worker to get the tickets earlier that morning, they all hung around to go with us, we walked a thousand miles uphill the whole way, I'm dripping wet with sweat, the mosquitos are excited that I'm there, I'm in the back where my 20/30 vision is going to be challenged to see the faces of the actors, I'm feeling responsible for the other 7 people that are with me (why I do this God only knows), and I really don't do plays very well...especially in the back.  The less distraction between me and the focal point, the better. 

Oh, this better be good. 

It wasn't good. 

Sorry to say.


IT WAS MORE ......



And my nephew?  In my honest opinion.......he stole the show.  And my heart.  I love that kid.  And once again, I feel sure he's going to make it big one day.  And yes, I will get his autograph for you.

No cameras were allowed during the play, so this picture was taken from the kuhf 88.7 radio station where Mark was interviewed and sang one of his songs live on air. 

If you're in the Houston have a couple of more days to head over there.  And read the fine print.....for your reserved seating.  Or better yet, pack a blanket and binoculars and sit on the hill. 

You won't be disappointed. 

Sorry my group won't be there to entertain you before the curtain goes up.


  1. Glad you enjoyed it! Did you really think everything would go smoothly? Does it ever with our family?

    Wish I could be in town to catch it. :(

  2. Thank you for the are great !!!! And I am happy you had good time after all!

  3. I'm so glad you made it! And I'm sure he was wonderful! I could totally see this entire trip.

  4. How I wish you had been there on Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday night! We had extra seats on Wednesday, sat in the pit on Friday, and had wonderful up close seats on Sunday. (Saturday's tickets were as good as Sunday's, but the Saturday performance was cancelled due to the unbelievable storm that flooded the sound booth.) The Tuesday and Thursday performances were a bit stressful for me ... but it wasn't about me so I am basking in the other nights that were wonderful! Thanks always to the Hackneys for promoting a rising star! It means the world to me.