Ava Miller’s life was changed forever when she was in the fifth grade. After going to see a touring production of The Phantom of the Opera with her parents at DPAC, she was in awe. Seeing this production made her think to herself, That’s what I’m going to do one day! And the rest was history. Miller may be new to the acting scene, but do not underestimate her. She is currently in her fifth production at Smokestack Theatre Company, with her first being The Entire American Revolution in 40 Minutes or Less! in 2021.
Even though Miller is one of Smokestack’s younger performers and has only been acting for two years, she has already proven herself to be a talented triple threat. Last year, she played her all-time favorite role as Tiblyn in Firebringer. Miller loved the thrill of having to act, sing, and dance all at once for this show. She also has been a part of Smokestack’s annual historical ghost tour, Ghosts and Gravestones, twice now. She claims there are definitely some differences between playing a real person versus a fictional character. When playing a fictional character like Tiblyn, she says, “I try to make up backstories for them. It helps me figure out why they’re here, what they’re feeling, and how they do certain things.” However, for characters from real-life, Miller does as much research as she can to portray the person as accurately as possible, leaving very little to the imagination.
Miller shared that one of the main qualities she feels is critical for actors to have is the ability to work first and play later. While some may think putting on a play is just that, playing pretend, those who have experienced it know it is a much more serious task. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into creating a character, learning lines, blocking, making choices, and forming stage chemistry with the other actors. The “playing” gets to begin once the hard work has been done.
If she could have any role in the world, Miller said she would love to play Madame Giry in The Phantom of the Opera. She feels this is a good role for her because “Madame Giry is a serious, smart, and witty character.” She also prefers this role because her songs are not quite as challenging as those of the leading lady, Christine Daaé. Miller strongly appreciates the actresses who take on this intense role, specifically Sierra Boggess. Sierra Boggess has played the role of Christine numerous times and was also the original Ariel in The Little Mermaid on Broadway. Her beautiful voice and incredible acting talent make her one of Miller’s all-time favorite performers, as well as a source of inspiration for her own performances.
Still on the fence about trying acting? Miller says, “If you want to be an actor, go for it! Sign up for an audition. You’ll meet new friends, learn new skills, and come out of your shell, like I did.” Miller has found her home away from home at Smokestack. Not only is she a performer, but she gets involved in every way she can by helping with their Theatre Explorers Camp, and operating lights for some of the adult shows. Miller was most recently seen in their latest youth production, Channeling Grimm, as Jaime at the end of July.