The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Acting out

Photo by Elizabeth Ramirez | Staff Photographer | elizabethramirezexpress

Standing in the spotlight and speaking in front of a crowd of spectators can be terrifying, but Matt Miller is well rehearsed for performing in front of an audience at any venue.

After performing various roles on the theatrical stage at local and national venues, Miller now inhabits the role of a professor at the venue of City College.

When he is not playing characters like Ebenezer Scrooge or Friar Lawrence, Miller has been lecturing since summer 2013 on the “Introduction to Theater 300” class on campus.

Robbie Klaxton, a student from Miller’s class, notes that Miller has a very engaging presence in the classroom theater. Miller’s balances his command of the room with a warm persona that invites audience participation during his lectures.

“Everyone feels like you can talk to him,” Klaxton says.

Before he began his run at the college last summer, Miller acted for eight years in several plays for Sacramento Theater Company.

Inside the City College production office, Miller, 54, remembers being drawn toward the limelight at a young age.

“Around age 10, I knew I wanted to be an entertainer of some kind,” Miller says.

It wasn’t until a drama class he took during his junior year of high school in Tucson, Ariz., when Miller was pushed into the spotlight. The teacher encouraged Miller to take the advanced drama class his senior year.

“It was great to hear that encouragement,” Miller says.

Miller performed three shows his senior year in high school, and since has embodied the role of stage actor.

After earning his bachelor’s in theatre, according to Miller, he spent the next few years in Chicago acting on stage. He expanded his role from stage to TV actor when he played a part in a television commercial for McDonald’s.

In Los Angeles, Miller auditioned and earned a part in the English language voice-over for the Japanese animated series “Tenchi Muyo.” Miller provided the English voice from 1993 to 2004 and embodied the lead character, Tenchi. Miller recalled that he spent many hours alone in a recording booth, trying to synchronize his voice to the character’s mouth movements.

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“My first day was pretty much me screaming for eight hours,” Miller says.

Miller preferred the experience of performing to a live audience on stage.

“You get that immediate gratification of the audience response in the theater as opposed to other mediums,” Miller says.

City college drama professor Christine Nicholson, director of City Theater’s “Cannery Row,” had seen Miller in a number of plays in Sacramento, and she was very eager to work with him on stage.

“He was wonderful—inventive, solid, dependable, a giving actor,” Nicholson says.

Nicholson finally got to direct Miller on stage last year in March in the Sacramento Theater Company’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

During his time in Sacramento, Miller has also taught master classes in acting, worked as a private acting coach, and directed plays for the Sacramento Theater Company.

According to Miller, he wanted to convey the things he learned about theater to a wider audience.

He applied to teach at City College to have more opportunities to share his knowledge. As luck would have it, Nicholson and her colleagues were looking for a new addition to the college faculty.

“All of the qualities that make him the excellent actor that he is are the same qualities that I thought would make him a wonderful professor,” Nicholson says.

Miller enjoys watching his students get excited and passionate about theater.

He describes it as opening up whole new worlds and creating new adventures.
For Miller, teaching theater to college students is another venue to perform for a captive audience.

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