Motown the Musical Preview!

Motown Record Blog

By: Clayton Dusendang

Over here at Miller, we have hit the ground running making plans for our 2016-17 season. On Sunday, some Miller staff along with myself piled in our Miller van and hopped over to East Lansing to preview Motown the Musical at the Wharton Center. While I had a general idea of what Motown was going to entail in its story, I wasn’t fully aware of the magic I was about to witness on stage.

From the moment curtain opens, you are presented with a flawless cocktail of music, dance, costumes and set design. You are sent back in time to the early days of Motown, which for us Michiganders has a special place in our hearts since Motown’s birthplace is Detroit!

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The musical follows the story of ‘The Chairman,’ Berry Gordy, and of many well known Motown artists including Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and  more! I was enraptured by the amazing sound and fabulous set design. In the scene that took place at The Ed Sullivan Show, it really felt like you were at a live recording of The Ed Sullivan show!

Motown the Musical

Now, of course, these are actors and not the real Motown figures, but they all do an amazing job embodying their characters. One point that the Miller staff and I were completely raving about was the boy who plays little Michael Jackson, J.J. Batteast. He blew the crowd completely out of the water for encapsulating so much talent–and at only 12-years-old!

In Closing

I was pleased to be able to see this show and be educated on the foundations and roots of the Motown genre. I’m even more excited to see this show a second time when it comes to Miller next as part of 0ur PNC Broadway in West Michigan Series from May 9-14, 2017! You can inquire about subscriptions for our upcoming season by visiting or by calling (269) 387-2300. With that, have a good one!



Riverdance: The 20th Anniversary World Tour


By: Jimmy Brand

Hey, all: I have one word for you… RIVERDANCE. Riverdance, that thing that every one of us thought we could do until we actually tried it, got really tired and decided to leave it to trained professionals. That’s right, Riverdance is coming to Miller Auditorium on Tuesday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m.!

Riverdance is in its 21st year and the show is having a very special birthday. Take a look back to when Riverdance began in 1995 by viewing their 21st Birthday video.

The precursor to the show was first seen in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. (For all you non-Europeans, do yourself a favor and google Eurovision. You are welcome.)

Riverdance is often jokingly referred to as Ireland’s number one import and, looking at the numbers, it is clear to see why:

  • There have been more than 11,000 performances of Riverdance.
  • While on tour, the show has traveled upwards of 700,000 miles. Or, in other words, they could have made it to the moon and back by now. Eat your heart out, Buzz and Neil.

It would be well worth your time to come experience the world phenomenon that is Riverdance. I dare you not to tap your feet along. I double dog dare you. Learn more and book your tickets now.

Ailey II Community Events

By: Bethany Gauthier

Acclaimed dance group Ailey II visited Miller Auditorium as part of our 2015-16 Lake Michigan Mailers Spotlight Series. In addition to a public performance, the troupe took time out of their busy schedules for some special events with the Kalamazoo community.

After their performance, Ailey II dancers Samantha Barriento and Nathaniel Hunt greeted members of the Merze Tate Travel Writers organization and fielded questions from inquisitive young students. From “When did you first start dancing?” to “What is your favorite music to dance to?” the group had a great variety of questions.


The day after the public performance, Miller Auditorium hosted two Ailey II school performances. Over a thousand area students from elementary school up to high school joined us for these special performances made possible by Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency’s Education for the Arts program. Not only did the students get to see some of the dances that Ailey II is known for, like Revelations, but volunteers were also invited up on stage for a special interactive dance that was created live with Ailey II Artistic Director, Troy Powell and Choreographer, Lloyd A. Boyd III.


Thank you to Ailey II and to KRESA’s Education for the Arts program for helping us expose so many students to the world of dance.


Neil deGrasse Tyson: What You Need to Know


By: Jimmy Brand

Hey y’all, Jimmy here!

Neil deGrasse Tyson is coming to Miller. I repeat, NDT is coming to Miller. WORLD FAMOUS ASTROPHYSICIST Dr. NEIL DEGRASSEE TYSON IS COMING TO MILLER! This geek has not been this excited in a long while. Here is what you need to know about NDT:

  • First, It is pronounced niːəldəˈɡræs ˈtaɪsən, for my IPA gifted friends. For everyone else, think (d’ grass) and not Degrassi, which is Canadian teen drama and a completely different blog post.

Neil deGrasse Tyson with Degrassi cast and crew  at the 2015 Creative Arts EmmysFullSizeRender(39)

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American Astrophysicist, Cosmologist and Author. Physics, Physics, Physics, PHYSICS. (If I did not put that reference in this post, several angry Whovians would have come for my head.)
  • NDT is one of the few African Americans in his field. His visibility has served as a beacon of representation to many young African Americans growing up in America today.
  • Now for my personal favorite reason to love Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson: He has a particular flair for making science accessible to all people. Tyson has a gift for being able to reduce complex cosmic concepts into ideas that the average person can both understand and find enjoyable. Tyson is part of an ever growing moment that not only values a scientific education, but one that makes it cool to be a scientist. He is loved by self-proclaimed geeks and non-geeks alike.
  • NDT is also rather involved in pop culture and who doesn’t love an astrophysicist with a sense of humor? If you need a laugh take a look at his twitter account.