When the cast for “Finding Neverland” arrives in Owensboro on Feb. 18 as part of the Broadway Series at the RiverPark Center, J.M. Barrie, the lead, will be played by Daviess County High School alum Justin Miller.
Miller was cast as Mr. Turpin in the national tour and also as the understudy for J.M. Barrie and Charles Frohman. When he accepted the role of Turpin and saw that the tour was coming to Owensboro, he mentioned to the producer that he would love the opportunity to take the lead, which, he said, is what started the ball rolling.
Then, in a conversation with Mark Bacon, who plays Barrie, he said it would be “kinda cool” to perform the lead in his hometown, but, he added, he felt no sense of entitlement as his role is that of Mr. Turpin.
“Mark is just one of the nicest guys and was supportive of letting me have this opportunity,” he said.
While several of the cast members perform near their hometowns on the tour, Miller is the first to actually perform in his hometown. His parents went to Florida to see the production already but will be in the audience when Miller performs as Barrie in Owensboro. Several other friends and family members will also be coming to town — some from as far as North Carolina — to support Miller.
“It is a cool thing to get to do this at home,” he said.
Miller has performed as Barrie once already on this tour, which began a month ago and lasts for 38 weeks. However, the company began the show with a 6-week run in August in Pennsylvania and a 7-week run in Florida before starting 2020 with tech rehearsals for the national tour and previews in New Mexico.
Miller said the cast of this performance is a special group and is tasked with bringing a magical world of imagination to the stage and the messages of faith, determination and the idea that “you can always build the future you want for yourself.”
“It’s such a great message and it is uplifting,” he said.
As for the cast, Miller said that he doesn’t know that he has ever been part of a group that clicked as quickly as these actors.
“The love and companionship of this group is very evident on stage,” he said. “You see it as a whole.”
While Miller is excited to have the lead opportunity while performing in Owensboro, he said he is equally excited knowing that he is part of something bigger.