Spotlight Series: Meet Peter Miller – a Musical Theater and Voiceover Actor Who Spends Time as a Theme Park Carnival Barker


This Spotlight focuses on Peter Miller, a Musical Theater and Voiceover Actor Who Spends Time as a Theme Park Carnival Barker.


Kelsey Nisbett, Left, Peter Miller, as the Padre, and Susan Stangl. in The Kentwood Players production of "Man of La Mancha" at the Westchester Playhouse. Photo by Shari Barrett.

Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your own theatrical background?

Peter Miller (PM): I've been doing local theater in LA County since 1984.  I've also dabbled in stand-up comedy and I'm presently working as a voice actor. And I also run carnival games at a theme park for money.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(PM): I was not actually involved in any stage productions at the time as I had mainly been submitting voiceover auditions.  There was a show set for this summer at Theatre Palisades, A Comedy of Tenors which was to feature members of their original Lend Me a Tenor production in which I participated as an opera singer. I had my eye on it and I had cleared my schedule to be a part of it, but who knows if/when it's going to happen now. I can only hope it's still going to get done. Unfortunately, that's not for me to predict.  Maybe I'll consult my Magic 8-Ball.

(SB): I know you attend a lot of theatrical productions around town. Did you get to attend any productions just prior to the citywide shutdown?

(PM): The night before it was announced, Susan Stangl had invited me to her final dress rehearsal for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Westchester Playhouse and I almost didn't go. Thankfully my circumstances changed, I found someone to sit for my pet octopus, and I was able to go after all. And that was the last dress rehearsal and only performance open to the public before the production was forced to close just before opening. That and The Full Monty in Orange County were the last shows I saw before the shutdown.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?  

(PM): Well the biggest laugh I ever got on a stage was when I took my clothes off in The Full Monty, but I'm not sure the internet is ready for that (you think Kim Kardashian broke the internet?). So I'm occasionally going live and reading excerpts from famous plays with some oddball casting.  Last week I read part of The Odd Couple with Boris Karloff as Oscar and Bela Lugosi as Felix.

(SB): I am so sorry I missed that one. I am sure your impersonations were spot on! What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(PM): While I haven't done a lot of stage work lately, I've been seeing shows almost every weekend before all this went down.  Part of it was to enjoy a good theatrical experience but it was mainly so I could spend time with friends and loved ones.  I almost looked more forward to the time hanging out with friends afterward than the shows.

All I'm gonna say is folks, once the proper authorities (and I mean the CDC as opposed to politicians) decide that it's OK to uhhh... (hey what's the opposite of Social Distancing?) … well, whatever they wanna call it, once this is all over, don't be too afraid to go out and enjoy one of the best communal experiences in the world – live theatre!  Trust me gang, it's worth it. All I can say is stay strong everyone; we will get through this!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.


Susan Stangl

Spotlight Series: Meet Susan Stangl: Director, Sound Designer, Actress, Singer and Medical School Professor


Today I am spotlighting Susan Stangl: Director, Sound Designer, Actress, Singer and Medical School Professor.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your own theatrical background?

Susan Stangl (SS): I started acting when I was 5 and was involved with plays at my local neighborhood park and in my school. I wrote, adapted, directed and acted in plays in elementary and middle school as well as writing and performing background music for some of the shows. My favorite productions from that time were an adaptation of some Winnie the Pooh stories as well as a murder mystery I wrote in 8th grade. I continued to act in high school and college and helped run a theater group for middle and high schoolers where we performed skits written by the students and a production of Our Town. Although I wasn't an official theatre major, I spent so much time there that people thought I was, even though I was also pre-med. Then I went to medical school. I kept up my music but wasn't able to get back into theater until some years later when I became a medical school professor at UCLA. I studied theater with a wonderful teacher for a few years and started auditioning for local productions about twenty years ago. Since then, I have acted in and directed numerous local shows as well as doing sound design for 120+ shows as well as writing some original music. And I have been in TV and film projects as well.

(SB):  What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

(SS): I was directing Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Kentwood Players and working on sound design for Wait Until Dark and A Comedy of Tenors at Theatre Palisades when things shut down.

(SB): How did you communicate the shutdown with your cast and production team?

(SS): I kept in touch with the theater board and my cast via email and text. Sadly, we had just performed a joyful and well-received invitational dress rehearsal for a small audience of designers, crew and their families the night before we closed our doors for what would have been our opening night. The cast was so excited to get some audience reaction and it was definitely the best show I have ever directed, and it felt like one that had been up for a few weeks and had not just opened. Ironically, the director's job is generally pretty much done when the rehearsal period ends, but I feel an obligation to the theater, the cast and crew and our audiences to bring them this terrific show. I only hope we don’t lose our momentum with the enforced break.

(SB): Are plans in place to present that production at a future date, or is the cancellation permanent?

(SS): As far as I know, Kentwood Players would like to open the show when it is deemed safe to do so. The sets, costumes, lights and sound are ready and the actors want to keep the show alive. We had our first online ZOOM meeting to keep the production fresh and ready for an audience until we get the all-clear. Five out of the six cast members were part of the Zoom group chat where we ran through the lines and scheduled future sessions. There is a chance that due to schedule changes everywhere, I may need to arrange for double casting or understudies for some parts, which I am in the process of doing. So much is up in the air, but I want to be as ready as I can. And of course, I am hoping that everyone stays healthy in the coming weeks.

(SB): What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(SS): I was planning on auditioning for a few shows that are now postponed. In addition to the two sound designs I am already working on, there are at least three others coming up for me this year.

(SB):  How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(SS): I am in a country rock band, Dreamers and Drifters, that is hoping to rehearse online starting this weekend. I am working on some monologues and scenes, as well as writing and recording some music and sharing it with other friends online. There is another theater where I work that is meeting online weekly to read plays and scenes to stay in touch. In some ways, we may well have a chance to get together more since we don't have to drive for over an hour to get to rehearsal! And the cast of my show is eager to keep things fresh with online meetings and line-throughs.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the ghost light on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(SS): I hope that many of the remote technology options may continue to bring people together, and they may well be better for the early stages of rehearsal when we are doing work that does not require us to meet physically or when we just want to run lines. I also hope that we will appreciate the gift that we have in being able to present and attend live theater - it is even more precious now that we cannot have it.

As a trained health professional, I urge us not to rush into any situations that may put our actors and audiences in jeopardy. This is an unprecedented situation and we need to be patient and safe. Write, connect in any way you can, and use this time to develop projects you haven't had time for because you are always at the theater - be the experience artistic or personal.


This article first appeared on Broadway World.