Sabrina Workman / Full360 Digial Producer
Marissa Miller was destined for the theater. From an early age, she was on stage helping her parents as her father owned a theater and her parents met in the industry.
“It was never forced upon me or anything, performing or producing or being in the arts, but it was something that I had a love for at a very young age,” she said.
Now as a senior, Miller is using her Experience360 (e360) to help achieve her dreams of one day opening her own theater. Miller is a business management major, graduating in May, and is the assistant director and choreographer for a local community theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She’s using her experience directing Joseph, choreographing for a local school production of Mary Poppins and starring as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family for her e360 credit.
Miller takes every opportunity to be involved in the theater industry, whether acting, dancing, choreographing, producing, or numerous other positions. She wants to continue teaching as she vows never to stop teaching and directing due to this firsthand experience with all the lovely performers.
How exactly is Miller using this experience for credit? It’s simple; she explains, “basically, I have to hit a certain amount of hours and meet my learning objectives while also doing assignments for the E360 class.”
Her learning objectives are management based; she aims to improve her scheduling, organization, leadership, and time management skills during her E360 program. She’s working on her management skills by being on the production boards for both Joseph and Mary Poppins.
Isn’t it a lot of work? Yes, but as Miller explains, “It’s definitely worth it, but it’s a lot of leadership training to make me a better director, a better business owner later on in life, and a better producer all all-in-one.”
As for how Miller will be a good business owner, she plans to further her education and pursue her master’s degree. Even though it might be controversial, she will probably take a gap year.
“I might take some time off just to pursue my dreams. As a performer specifically, I’m up for some professional equity gigs [professional theater], and I’m auditioning and training extensively, so I will try that while I’m young and do all I can.”
Miller is the assistant director alongside her mom, Aimee Miller, for the Temple Sinai Players production, which opens March 1 and runs through the weekend. One thing that Miller and co-producers Tracey Roffman and Jeff Workman agree on is why they chose to do this show.
“It’s a biblical story, but it is an operetta [a short opera with a humorous theme] and an ensemble-focused show. Coming out of our two-year covid hiatus, choosing a show with ample parts for everyone that’s also fun and upbeat was important. We are always trying to find the perfect mix of elements that will lead to the most rewarding experience for the cast and the most entertaining experience for the audience, and this show checks all the boxes,” said Roffman.
No two productions of Joseph are alike, Miller and her mom agree that they “see this show as a super fun piece, but it also has its very sad components.” The show teaches forgiveness, and it’s crucial for Miller to relay that theme throughout the interpretation. The show follows the biblical account of Joseph, who was taken to Egypt and purchased as an enslaved person by Potiphar. He is given responsibility for making the famine preparations and rises to become Egypt’s second most powerful man. He sends for his father, Jacob, and discloses who he is, and Jacob returns his coat to him.
While the show might seem easy, and in some ways, it is, it’s been a challenge, like every show. This show was a little trickier since the Temple Sinai Players last did something before the pandemic. Their 2020 Beauty and the Beast performance finished a week before the pandemic lockdowns started. Miller credits the show’s success to the performers and everyone on the production end of the show.
The Temple Sinai Players would love to welcome all audiences to their performances at Temple Sinai, located at 1401 N. Limekiln Pike in Dresher, Pennsylvania (around 20 minutes from DelVal). The show opens on March 1 at 7:30 pm. The show continues on March 2 and 4 at 7:30 pm and closes on March 5 at 2 pm. The show will be less than two hours and includes a 15-minute intermission. Tickets are available here: https://tspjoseph.yapsody.com/ (and are $10 with a valid student ID at the door!)
*Full disclosure: I am part of the production staff of this musical*