22nd Annual Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue… … The Legacy Continues!
Memorial Day Weekend is here and the time is right, for the 22nd annual Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue!
Presented by Bacement Foundation for the Arts, the four-day showing of Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue is expected to bring about 40,000+ Houstonians to the iconic Memorial Day Weekend tradition at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Affectionately coined “The Thrill On The Hill”, the free soul music festival and concert revue is reminiscent of an enormous family reunion where generations of soul music lovers meet. Premiering some of the finest local talent in the region, this year’s anticipated production pays homage to musical legends Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye, the Tempting Temptations and many more. The audience can expect to be treated to a Stevie Wonder tribute that is guaranteed to knock you off of your feet; as well as a 90s tribute, featuring music from New Edition, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige and more!
Considering the fact that the hugely successful concert revue is produced and developed independently by BACE Productions (Black American Cultural and Educational Productions) is impressive on its own. However, it is learning about the legacy of the production company that makes Houstonians hold the esteemed music festival even closer to their hearts.
Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue was founded by Shirley Marks Whitmore and husband, Clarence Whitmore Sr. in 1995. Clarence Whitmore Sr. also performed in the all-encompassing stage-show for many years in the role of Ray Charles.
When asked how this renowned production was contrived, Mr. Whitmore explained, “Well, the music was just laying there, so to speak. And my wife, Shirley, who is one of the co-founders, also, had it on her brain to do this production.”
“Motown music, when it came along, it jolted all of us. It was new. It was fresh. Being a young entertainer, myself, at the time, it was something to really grab ahold of. The Temptations’ dancing, the steps, the movement; the music of these composers, it was hypnotizing. The first year that I saw the show, it blew my mind. All of this beautiful music was just laying there and there was an audience for this music, and we knew it. It didn’t take long for the audiences to come”, Clarence Whitmore Sr. continued.
As the original producers of Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue, Clarence Sr. and Shirley Whitmore understand the importance of legacy; so much so that they have passed the torch down to their children; producers, Clarence Whitmore Jr., Azania Whitmore Eaton, Dalilah Whitmore and Ta’ Whitmore. No strangers to this production and the rich culture of its music, the Whitmore children continue to expand on the legacy that their parents built from the ground up.
“We grew up around the Motown show. Our parents were the original producers. We literally grew up in rehearsals. Sometimes we would sleep in my mom’s office at the theatre”, Dalilah Whitmore revealed. Shirley Whitmore also holds a position at Miller Outdoor Theatre outside of Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue.
“Carrying on the legacy of my parents is a big responsibility because they have built this grand production and seeing all of the work that they put into it, I take it very seriously”, Clarence Whitmore Jr. added.
It is safe to say that the familial atmosphere of Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue mirrors the legacy and labor of love that the Whitmore family has continued to produce for over 22 years; and it is clearly a duty that the family is passionate about.
“It’s not our music but we are the keepers of it and we take that responsibility very seriously to maintain that culture and the integrity of it. This is our legacy; not just our family’s legacy but the Black culture’s legacy”, Dalilah Whitmore expressed.
“It’s more than the music. It’s about what Motown was to our race. It’s the voice of a generation from the 50s to the 80s, speaking for Black people when we didn’t have a platform or voice to speak for ourselves. So we will never steer away from that. That will always be the focus of this show”, Ta’ Whitmore added.
Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue is proudly sponsored by Forward Times and begins Thursday, May 25 – Sunday, May 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Tickets are available by donation for the covered seating area at www.dancininthestreetrevue.com. Free tickets are available the morning of each performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. while supplies last. As always, open seating is available on the hill.