Miller, who is a poet, playwright, director and producer, first got into theater in the sixth grade. He wanted to go into journalism like his older brother, but his mother said, “Hey, you should do theater because you have a good memory and a big mouth.” Besides, Miller explained, the journalism program was full.
you should do theater because you have a good memory and a big mouth
Maybe it was not getting what he thought he wanted, or just pre-pubescent angst, but Miller hated theater. His teacher, Jerry Miller (no relation) wouldn’t let him slack off. When a classmate fell ill and couldn’t perform his role, the teacher asked young Zell to fill in. Even though he knew all the lines, Zell Miller didn’t agree to perform until his teacher promised to find him a spot in the journalism program. “So I went up there and did the role and I haven’t looked back since,” Miller said.
In 2017, Miller was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame. Besides being an award winning slam poet, Miller has written over 20 plays and he estimates a dozen of them have been produced. He produces about three shows a year and recently started his own company, ZM3 Live Productions. He’s performed at many theaters including the Pillsbury House in Minneapolis and Austin’s own Zach Scott, Hyde Park and the Vortex.
Among Miller’s many accolades are B. ida Payne awards for Outstanding Theatrical Event and Outstanding Dance Choreography for the show Hands Up, Hoodies Down, which he co-wrote and directed in response to police brutality and oppressive conditions in the country.
The words in Miller’s original productions, including Oh Snap!, tend to be delivered in hip hop cadences. Performers move in ways that at turns mirror the feelings of the script, add intensity, or communicate a different message. The physicality, the music and the passion aids Miller and his fellow artists in creating theater that explodes from the stage with meaning and rhythm.
The show runs February 1- 3 at 8 pm and Feb 4 at 6 pm at the Ground Floor Theater, 979 Springdale Road, suite 122. $10-30 tickets are available by visiting Ground Floor Theatre.