Saturday, January 19, 2008

A memorial for James Hull Miller, stage designer and author, Shreveport

James Hull Miller died two weeks ago, reports Candace Higgenbotham. She wrote, " A graduate of Princeton, Jimmy was the designer for Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, had a national reputation as a lighting and set designer and was better known outside of Shreveport than in. My husband Edwin once noted “I’ve never met a lighting designer who didn’t mention Jimmy Miller upon learning I was from Shreveport and compliment his work.

He was a delightful, creative, quixotic fellow."

Edwin Higgenbotham remembers, "Jimmy was brought to Shreveport by the Lyons family in the mid 50’s to act as a consultant in the design and construction of the stage and house portions of Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. Prior to that he worked at a university in Arizona, if I am not mistaken. After construction he stayed on as the first technical director for MLP.

After he left the Centenary faculty, he and Hall Lyons established “The Arts Lab,” first at the downtown airport and later on Desoto Street. It was here that Jimmy really came into his own as a designer for “Spaced Scenery and Self Supporting Sets.” He did some work for the opera, but was mostly active outside of the Shreveport area. He and his first wife, Dorothy, did a lot of work at St. Marks and I think Dorothy established Shreveport’s first children’s theater there. He did a lot of work for churches and smaller colleges, and had a real following outside of Shreveport.

He was a prolific writer and continued to update his books until he was well up in years. Most of what he wrote is still in print, and one book was in its seventh edition the last time I checked.

I will always consider Jimmy to be 'a prophet without honour in his own country.' He was my friend and mentor, and I will miss him."

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