Appalachian Theatre and Dance Professor Honored in New York City: Venerable Drama Book Shop Hosts Book Signing by Dr. Ray Miller

NEW YORK, NY – A "quintessential New York institution" was the ideal location for a book-signing by noted High Country author Dr. Ray Miller, who autographed first edition copies of his latest publication, "Dance on the American Musical Theatre Stage: A History." The venerable Drama Book Shop has been a mainstay of the New York theatre scene and a cultural institution for theatrical works for well over a century. The book-signing coincided with a spring break study away trip that Dr. Miller led to the Appalachian State Loft in Manhattan, and over a dozen of his musical theatre students were on hand to witness the event along with patrons and book collectors.

"It is so wonderful to have "Dance on the American Musical Theatre Stage: A History" here at the Drama Book Shop," said manager Mark-Eugene Garcia, who coordinated the event. "So many guests come in searching for information on the history, cultural influence, and storytelling of dance in musical theatre and having all the information we need all in one place has been great.

"Having Ray Miller come into the shop, and bring the wonderful students from Appalachian State University was such a delight; the students are so professional, enthusiastic, and intelligent."

Ray MillerApp State Musical Theatre students after the book signing.

Founded in 1917 by the Drama League, the Drama Book Shop became an independent bookstore in 1923 and since that time has been deemed a quintessential New York City cultural institution. Over the past 100 years, the Drama Book Shop has secured its reputation as the city's best source for theatrical works, with over 8,000 plays regularly in stock. In 2011, the Drama Book Shop received a Tony Award® Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. Given since 1990, this award is bestowed upon individuals, organization, and institutions that have demonstrated profound achievement in the theatre but are ineligible in any of the established Tony categories.

In speaking about his latest work, Dr. Miller said, "This book has been over 20 years in the making. It has been a labor of love, however. What motivated me to write this book is to fill a need in terms of musical theatre history. There are many excellent books on the overall history of musical theatre and on the lives of its composers and librettists. What was missing was a general history of dance on the musical theatre stage. This book begins with the Colonial Period and moves to contemporary musical theatre dance.

"Writing about dance for dancers is easy. The challenge is to write about dance for a general audience so that they might become engaged with this art form in a way that makes sense to them."

Dr. Miller related a Chinese saying when he said, "Tell me how a country treats its children, its poets and its dancers and I will tell you about the character of that country. In this book, I tell the history of dance on the musical theatre stage and within the context of the changing identity of the American experience from the colonial period to today. It is a fascinating and ever changing story - one that reveals how the values of Americans have evolved and changed over time."

Ray Miller 2"One of the high points for anyone publishing a book in theatre is to do a book signing at the prestigious Drama Book Shop in NYC," said Miller upon returning from Manhattan. "I was honored to meet with Mark-Eugene Garcia and sign my book and have it prominently displayed on the front table alongside signed copies by other theatre writers."

Keith Martin, a theatre colleague of Dr. Miller at Appalachian, said that the publication is being very well received in the field. "Ray was interviewed by dance critic Jennifer Heimlich for an article on Broadway Musical Theatre Choreography for the current issue of Dance Magazine. His wonderful opus has been nominated for a dance scholars book award by the Dance Studies Association and for a theatre scholars book award by the American Society of Theatre Research."

Professor Mike Helms, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, added, "After 19 years at App State, Ray Miller continues to be a powerful influence in the department. A notable director, researcher, and author, Ray crosses the boundaries of both Theatre and Dance and brings a unique perspective to his academic research as well as his creative work. This book is yet another example of Ray's commitment to exploring new and innovative ways in which the performing arts enrich our lives. We are proud of Ray's contribution as well as all of our great faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance."


About the Department of Theatre and Dance
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Theatre and Dance's mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative, and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community, and the region.

About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University's College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more about the college at

About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls 21,253 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio, and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

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Published: May 3, 2024 5:15pm