Play comes full circle for Brewer High grad
By Patrice Stewart
Markham Miller first performed in “Greater Tuna” about 20 years ago while a young resident of Morgan County.
He has wanted another chance at this hilarious play, and now he has it.
He opened Aug. 10 in the “Greater Tuna” production at Walker Theatre in the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. The show will run through Sept. 16.
Theater is not his full-time job, however. While performing regularly in live theater and an occasional commercial, Miller works as vice president of the Saint Francis Foundation at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.
He has lived in that area for 10 years and studied in the studio program at the American Conservatory Theatre.
Miller, 43, is the son of Helen Sharp-Miller of Decatur and the late Willard Miller. He graduated from A.P. Brewer High School in 1982, then attended Calhoun Community College and graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham in communications.
He performed with Bank Street Players, DreamWeavers, Decatur Civic Chorus, Calhoun Theatre, Birmingham’s Town and Gown Theatre and Gadsden’s Civic Theatre.
“It is the show ‘Greater Tuna’ that has brought me the most joy,” Miller said.
He played opposite Tom Killian in Decatur’s Bank Street Players production directed by Kim Cantrell two decades ago.
“Greater Tuna” is a comedy about Texas’ third smallest town, where the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies. Tuna’s eclectic band of citizens, portrayed by only two performers, have been entertaining audiences around the country for 20 years.
Miller recalled that he was a shy child but learned to perform and became involved in church music.
“My aunt, Brenda Page, who toured with USO shows, was a true inspiration and mentor,” Miller said.
Another was Ellen K. Langford, a Brewer speech and theater teacher who later taught at Decatur High.
“Mrs. Langford actually changed the course of my life. I was a member of the first speech team and in the first play performed at Brewer, ‘You Can’t Take It with You.’ With that experience, a whole new world opened up to me,” said Miller.
She started a forensics program at Brewer, and he joined that team and later competed in speaking events at Calhoun and UAB.
Miller also runs in marathons. He completed his 13th marathon in June and hopes to qualify for Boston’s soon.
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