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.
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.
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, 2019; kimmelcenter.org