A Fairy Tale Role: Lukas James Miller in CINDERELLA

Lukas James Miller takes on the role of his dreams as Topher in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. The beloved fairy tale combines the classic elements—glass slippers, a pumpkin, and a beautiful ball—with a more contemporary staging suitable for audiences of all ages. Miller talks with Phindie about his role as the prince and the show’s timeless appeal.  

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella will play at the Academy of Music for a limited engagement from February 22 –February 24, 2019.

Cast of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.

Lukas James Miller and Kaitlyn Mayse (in white) and cast of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg.

Debra Danese: As an only child who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a large log cabin, how did you discover musical theater? What made you want to pursue it as a career?

Lukas James Miller: I stumbled upon it in high school. I went to an interest meeting for our school’s production of Hairspray with some friends, as it was an excused absence from my Spanish class. I booked the role of “Policeman #2” and never looked back. I got involved in every theater class and production I could and then realized that performance was something I could go to college for.

Lukas James Miller

Lukas James Miller

DD: You graduated from James Madison University in 2017. What opportunities have you had since then?

LJM: Since finishing up my degree at JMU, I’ve been working consistently at regional theaters when not spending my time in New York. I was lucky enough to line up a few contracts that timed out enough for me to stay working for the better part of the year. Most recently, I was in the new musical, Girlfriend, at Signature Theatre in Washington, DC- a show with which I just received a nomination for a Helen Hayes Award for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical.”

DD: What has it been like playing the role of Topher?

LJM: Playing Topher has been a dream. This has been a role that has been on my radar since the Tony’s performance in 2013. The fact that I get to share this story with audiences across the country with this particular production is surreal. Topher’s coming of age is such a great journey to take each evening and the rest of the cast makes the process such a joy.

DD:Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella first debuted on TV in March, 1957. Why do you think this story still appeals to audiences today?

LJM: Though our production is based on the 1957 made for TV movie, it boasts a new and more contemporary book by Douglas Carter Beane. I believe audiences will find that it really upholds the morals of this age-old fairy tale in a much more relatable context. The message of kindness that this iteration of the fairy tale carries is timeless.

DD: What moment in the show gets the biggest audience reaction?

LJM: Though I can’t give away the specifics of the scene, there is a moment I listen for each night where a certain step-mother learns of a deception that always gets a large communal gasp or “ooooh” from the audience like clock-work.

[The Academy of Music] February 22–24, 2019kimmelcenter.org

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About the author

Debra Danese

Debra graduated with a degree in dance from the University of the Arts and also holds a B.A. in Arts Administration. She is accredited at the Master Level with the National Registry of Dance Educators. Debra has performed in Europe, Tokyo, Canada, and the Caribbean. She teaches and choreographs world-wide and has been an international guest artist in Switzerland, England, and Slovakia. Debra has been an Artist in Residence on five occasions in Norway where she showcased full length dance productions at the acclaimed Nordland Theatre. She has also presented an original dance production at the Elspe Festival in Germany. Debra has been featured in Dance, Dancer and Dance Teacher Magazines for her work in dance education. Additionally, she has been a contributing writer for Dance Studio Life Magazine since 2010.