New York artist Miller returns to Lubbock to conduct ‘Ripcord’ – news – Lubbock avalanche-journal


Kim Murchison, a 28-year Lubbock Community Theater board member, recalls the improvisational skills expressed by actor Chad Anthony Miller while he was an actor in Monterey High School.

When she directed him decades ago as Prince Dauntless in ‘Once Upon a Mattress’, she said: “Chad invented this hilarious business of playing jacks every time his mother, the Queen, told him about growing up and becoming a man. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. He would bounce the ball and one by one poke at least 12 jacks in his mouth, do them. not spitting until the end of the scene.

“It was organic and perfect, without any coaching from the director. Every night he did it, I broke down laughing.”

With that in mind, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Miller, who studied improvisation with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City and the Groundlings Comedy Troupe and School in Los Angeles, drew more than two dozen people. at a recent impromptu improvisation class at LCT. .

That wasn’t what drew New York-based actor, writer, director, producer and teacher – he describes himself as a “freelance performing artist” – back to his hometown, however.

Rather, he is hired to lead the community theater production of playwright “Ripcord” by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, opening a three-weekend tour on May 25. (Again, two weeks before the opening, an actor left the room and the only fix was for Miller to join the cast. So he’ll star as well.)

“I can’t tell you how happy I am that Chad is finally performing for us,” Murchison said. “He brings with him a new face and new ideas. He brings his exuberance to life and his boundless energy which is very contagious. He is positive, warm and so funny.”

The subject of his possible return arose, Miller said, when LCT art director Jay Brown and his wife, actress Pam Brown, were seeing plays in New York City. He accompanied the couple to “Falsettos”. Pam later called him from Lubbock to gauge his interest in directing “Ripcord”. The job was his after flying to Lubbock to meet with the LCT Board of Directors.

“Chad has kept track of what the Lubbock Community Theater has done over the years,” said Jay Brown, “and has always been a strong supporter. He has a good understanding of character and relationships, and he strongly believes in the power and strength of women. “

Performance dates have actually been adjusted so Miller can stay with the off-Broadway production of “We Are a Masterpiece,” playwright Gina Femia’s critically acclaimed work set on the cusp of the AIDS crisis. .

He said: “Reading ‘We Are a Masterpiece’ for the first time, I remembered sitting in a nearly empty movie theater in Lubbock watching ‘Longtime Companion.’ I remember openly crying in the arms of a friend on a street corner in New York after watching a performance of the first half of “Angels in America.”… I needed to do this play, so I attended workshops . I made the short list, then the very short list, and I was told I had the role. “

Even Miller, however, couldn’t predict the abrupt twists his life would take after deciding, with just a few college credits, to leave Texas and act professionally.

He was frank. “At the time, I couldn’t wait to leave Lubbock,” Miller recalls. “I thought I was going to move to New York, go to NYU, or join the acting program at Juilliard. Things didn’t work out the way I expected.… But even 10 years ago , I would have hesitated to return to Lubbock in any educational capacity.

Miller occasionally had a “survival job” in New York City between acting gigs, preferring a job at MTV to waiting tables. He found work in part, he said, because he accepted the importance of “playing the part, not just the part,” at auditions. That is, by expressing his personality, an actor has a better chance of being selected for projects for which he may be better suited.

Networking, or rather just keeping in touch, found it cast earlier in the independent film “An Ordinary Family,” which began as a gay coming out story directed by Mike Akel.

Miller said he had been heavily involved in comedies and musicals when the 9/11 terrorist attack took place in New York City in 2001. He stopped acting, saying, “I thought it was an inappropriate time to sing and dance. I wanted to do something more philanthropic for society. “

He had studied at times since his few Texas Tech classes, but decided to apply to Columbia University. Her boyfriend applied to study law there, and Miller applied for a non-traditional student program. Only Miller was accepted, and he would graduate from Phi Beta Kappa with honors and a degree in religion.

Since that time Miller has rediscovered his deep passion for communication as a working artist. He even taught a musical theater class in China.

Her national television credits include roles in “Criminal Minds” and “General Hospital”. Meanwhile, his father continually asks Miller when he will be seen in “Law and Order”. After all, the show is shot in New York City. But while Miller worked alongside “Law and Order” star Mariska Hargitay, he does not have any “Law and Order” credits.

Her father, Miller says, continues to wonder why.

Miller has always shared a particularly close relationship with his supportive mother, even sharing his humorous moments on social media. He felt “torn” when she passed away suddenly at the age of 70 on September 15, 2015, and even briefly stopped writing. He has since created thumbnails of a fictional, inspired and tribute “Phyllis” to his mother.

“A little over a year ago,” Miller said, “a production company expressed interest in purchasing my thumbnails, with the intention of adapting them into a pilot.”

For now, however. “Ripcord” and the Lubbock Community Theater demand Miller’s attention.

“I ran away from Lubbock in part because I thought it was so tightly focused,” he said. “But I had also run through Lubbock with blinders on, and now I see there are many ways I can contribute.”

Miller cast Trace Warner and Wilda Won, both new to LT and the latter acting opposite the well-known Pam Brown. The director said, “It was absolutely my intention to recruit new people. LCT tried my luck when I was in high school. In professional theater, people watch your credits, your resume. Community theater should be. open to all artists, races and orientation. I went to these auditions looking for actors who might be a little green, but had obvious raw talent that could work well in this story. “

He is also thrilled with the growth of the Lubbock Community Theater. “The folks at LCT recognize their limitations, but have realized that they can’t stay in the theater doing shows safely. Theater is a conversation that needs to shape and stir; there needs to be a constant influx of new ideas. So I like the idea of ​​improvisation lessons and more specialized work “after dark”. “

It is also fortunate that Texas Tech now has a faculty of actors who can share new experiences with students. “It’s not the same Lubbock,” he noted.

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