By Kenneth Jones
21 Sep 2010
Board president Gene Hammond announced the news on Sept. 21.
A New Jersey native, Miller's Broadway producing credits include the current revival of West Side Story, The Drowsy Chaperone (winner of five 2006 Tony Awards; Drama Desk and NY Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Musical) and The Pee-wee Herman Show (opening Oct. 26). Before becoming a Manhattan producer, Miller was associate producer of Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, from 1991 to 2004. He produced over 80 musicals and plays at Paper Mill.
Miller is no stranger to the Beach Haven theatre's 450-seat venue, according to the company. While still in high school, where he was a student actor in his hometown of Irvington, NJ, Miller was offered an apprenticeship at Surflight by the show's director and Surflight founder Joseph P. Hayes. That first introduction to summer theatre at the Jersey Shore in 1975 was followed by two subsequent seasons as an apprentice and, eventually, as a member of the acting company in 1978. Later, Miller served as a member of Surflight's board of trustees and as a generous contributor to various fundraising initiatives including the construction of the cast house in 2007 and the 60th anniversary gala in 2009.
Miller plans to continue producing on Broadway, which the theatre's board "supports and recognizes as a benefit to the organization in numerous ways."
Miller is turning to the community to "lay a strong fiscal foundation upon which the theatre's future success can be built." He will donate his salary for the first year "so as to challenge the theatre's board and community to match his donation."
In his role as producer, Miller will oversee all areas of the organization, both artistic and administrative, including the theatre's programming and strategic direction. In addition to producing, Surflight has a mission to train the next generation of performers in its apprentice program.
Miller said, "Working at Surflight as an apprentice set the course for a no-turning-back career. The first show I performed in at Surflight was West Side Story, and it's humbling that I return to Surflight in this new capacity while producing the current revival of West Side Story on Broadway."
Surflight Theatre is located on Long Beach Island, a popular barrier island off the coast of New Jersey, 45 minutes north of Atlantic City. The Beach Haven, NJ, troupe was founded by Joseph P. Hayes in 1950. His goal was to offer theatre and theatre training for actors and technicians. The Surflight venue evolved from its first performances under the stars to later performances under a tent, eventually moving into a local garage that became the theatre's first permanent home.
In 1987, a $2 million investment helped create a state-of-the-art facility for the Equity troupe.