Prepping for the show

Published 3:58 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

LANETT — This week a group of five elementary school students are learning three new songs and a monologue for this summer’s Springwood Arts and Theatre Summer Day Camp. Springwood School teacher Cindy Oakes Miller is the instructor of the theatre-side of the four-day camp. Miller has been involved with theatrics since she was 7-years-old and has worked in Ohio with the Kenley Players in addition to being part of two shows on Broadway. One of her vocal coaches, Joan Lader, worked with Aretha Franklin as well.

“I love to teach, especially starting in kindergarten. They don’t really know what they’re learning,” Miller said. “It makes it fun that they’re learning, and they don’t even know that they’re learning. They’re going to be incredible speakers as far as even being orators. I’m excited about that.”

During the school year, Miller teaches Spanish, music appreciation, theatre and music at Springwood.

“I love it,” Miller said. “I love the fact that the older kids are having to learn to have younger kids around. That’s the beauty of our spring musical. The elementary kids are our corps. They are my chorus and training starts here in the summer.”

This summer camp’s show will incorporate the Broadway musical “Curtains” as well as two songs from “Annie Get Your Gun.” The group of second through fifth-grade girls are also learning about women’s historical figure Annie Oakley, who was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter.

“When someone has done something that has never been done before, there are many lessons to learn from that,” Miller said. “As we watched parts of ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ it’s not all roses. There are hardships, but the fact that people make it through the hardships, keep their head up and push through, that’s the lesson. That’s the blessing to look at people who have made it.”

Springwood’s theatre program has received honors at several statewide competitions. Miller’s daughter, Springwood junior, Hallie Miller was selected to participate in the Open Jar: Actor Training summer sessions this summer in New York City. At Open Jar, Hallie Miller will have the chance to work one-on-one with Broadway actors, directors, casting directors, agents and performers.

“You wouldn’t expect [winning awards] from such a small group against the larger schools like Prattville, Opelika High School and Auburn,” Miller said. “Here we are competing against these kids, but I tell them that it’s about fun, it’s about learning. Everything you do, you learn.”

The performance from this year’s Arts and Theatre Summer Camp is scheduled for Thursday at 2:30 p.m. EDT. at Springwood School.