When promoting the legendary Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue—the ANNUAL funk-filled “Thrill on the Hill” celebration of sweet soul music featuring some of Houston’s finest entertainers and the smoking Bacement Band—the Miller Outdoor Theater would always place the following disclaimer at the bottom of their website:
The show goes on rain or shine.
Well, sadly, Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue—the iconic Memorial Day Weekend tradition that people have grown to love and pack out with over 40,000+ people over four days—will not be happening at the Miller Outdoor Theatre this year.
The producers and founders of the hugely successful concert Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue is BACE Productions (Black American Cultural and Educational Productions), which has independently produced and developed the event for nearly 30 years.
BACE Productions released the following statement on their website to address the status of this year’s show and to clear up the confusion on another “copycat” event that has since taken its place at Miller Outdoor Theater, stating:
With the holiday weekend approaching, we’ve been getting a number of supporters reaching out, in anticipation of Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue (The Motown & More Show) also known simply as “Motown.” The Motown & More Show has become a Memorial Day weekend tradition for thousands of Houstonians and tourists alike, and one of the most highly attended shows at Miller Outdoor Theatre, for nearly 30 years. Unfortunately, due to low grant funding, we could not participate in the 2023 Miller Outdoor Theatre production season. “Forever Motown,” the Motown revue that will be playing at Miller this upcoming weekend, is not the show Houston audiences have come to know and love. While similar in name, there is zero affiliation with our production, BACE Productions, or Bacement Foundation for the Arts. Nor will it feature any of our recurring artists, or any local talent, that attendees may be anticipating.
Given adequate grant funding and the support of our loyal audience, we look forward to resuming production in 2024. In the meantime, we want to clear up any confusion around the show being presented at Miller this weekend.
Keep in mind that performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are funded, in part, by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
Although it’s unclear what led to the low grant funding this year, compared to other years, it is clear that the leadership at the Miller Outdoor Theater has chosen to replace the decades-old original with a generic version of the annual classic, referring to it as Forever Motown.
On their website, the Miller Outdoor Theater promotes the carbon copy event as followed:
Direct From New York is The Original Cast of FOREVER MOTOWN! Nine all-star performers featuring Theo Peoples, Lead Singer of both THE FOUR TOPS and THE TEMPTATIONS, Glenn Leonard, former Lead Singer of THE TEMPTATIONS and Traci Robinson, former lead singer of THE MARVELETTES and an All-Star live band. This full stage production includes all of your favorite hit songs from ALL THE MOTOWN LEGENDS and is sure to have your audience dancing in their seats!
Affectionately coined “The Thrill on the Hill,” the legendary Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue has always premiered some of the finest local talent in the region, and typically pays homage to musical legends like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye, The Emotions, The Temptin’ Temptations, Rick James, Michael Jackson, and so many more.
Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue was founded in 1995, by a group of local artists including Shirley Marks Whitmore and her husband, Clarence Whitmore Sr., who also performed in the all-encompassing stage-show for many years in the role of Ray Charles. As two of the original producers of Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue, Clarence Sr. and Shirley Whitmore wanted to keep the legacy alive, so they passed the torch down to their children—producers, Clarence Whitmore Jr., Azania Whitmore Eaton, Dalilah Whitmore, and Ta’ Whitmore—who continued to expand on the legacy and continue the tradition of providing this quality production for all audiences.
In seeking to return to their rightful place and not be permanently replaced by an out-of-town, alternate version of this Houston original, BACE Productions shared the following call to action:
IF YOU WANT TO ENSURE THAT HOUSTON’S HOMEGROWN DANCIN’ IN THE STREET… MOTOWN & MORE REVUE RETURNS IN 2024, PLEASE SUPPORT EFFORTS IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
- BECOME AN EVENT SPONSOR. – request a sponsorship package & complete our sponsorship survey.
- JOIN OUR SUPERFAN BACE, OF PATRON SUPPORTERS – make a donation to Bacement, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, performing arts organization.
- SHARE YOUR SUPPORT – Share your personal concerns and support with city officials and funding organizations, by leaving a statement below, or posting via social media #BRINGBACKMOTOWN.
As BACE Productions has stated, they need everyone’s help to bring this event back!