It is so easy to forget what it’s like to see an event at a venue like the Miller Outdoor Theatre when one hasn’t been in months. And I don’t like to knock a venue at all, but a show like Cats performed by such a great group as HITS Theatre deserves better than this.
(This recap is for the Saturday 04-17 show, when I went. Others may have and probably did differ slightly.)
And I do mean both of those sincerely. Cats is a great musical; there’s a reason it was on Broadway for most of two decades. The quality of the performance was well above student level and could easily have passed for that of an adult cast. Spectacular dancing, great singing, and superb acting made for an easily enjoyable play. I noticed what may have been a couple of minor mistakes here and there, but everyone is human after all, and even the performers on Broadway goof every now and again. There were no particular standouts, but in this case that means the performers were great across the board and that’s a good thing. If this group represents the feature of live theatre in Houston, we have nothing to worry about because it’s going to be great.
JoAnne Woodard mentioned quite a few people involved with the show at the beginning; I did not catch all of the names, but it was quite an impressive list, including the set designer, sound designer, choreographers, and lighting designer. Their work complemented that of the cast nicely and helped make the show a success.
Which brings me to perhaps the most difficult part of this recap, that being a mini-rant on the kind of people that go to shows at “the Miller” as it’s often called. I was with my mom and she was sitting on my left. On her left was a quite chatty group of four younger women who could easily have done their socializing at a local coffee shop (I’m pretty sure at least the Starbucks at Montrose and Hawthorne was still open, if not the two in the Texas Medical Center).
There were people in my line of sight standing or walking by at rather inopportune times, and maybe some will say it’s partly our fault for not trying to get a seat in the covered area (we were seated about halfway up the hill). There was a younger woman that sat on a folding chair in front of me toward the end of the second act, on the part of the hill where folding chairs weren’t supposed to be allowed. Granted it was not a raised chair but it raised her up a good three inches or so, enough to put the top of her head into the bottom of my view of the stage where it would not have been otherwise.
Regardless, as much as I love this city and its arts scene, it pains me to see otherwise great shows booked at the Miller just knowing we have to put up with some of these things. If you got seats in the covered area, then none of this should have been a problem for you. But please, if you see shows at the Miller and you wind up on the hill, try not to be part of the problem.
(Note: This was written last week, and was supposed to post then but for some reason it did not.)