CLINTON — If the Tony Awards were given out today, Shane Miller would be a winner. He has played the lead role in “Oliver,” Patrick in “Mame,” Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol,” Frederick in “Sound of Music” and most recently Chilulongkorn in “The King and I,” all presented on the stage of the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre.

Now this Clinton High School senior has taken his talent out of town, landing the part of Billy Ray Jr. in the Circa ‘21 production of “On Golden Pond.” Shane says it’s a really good show. He is one of a cast of six and this will be his first straight-acting role.

Billy Ray is a 13-year-old from California who is spirited off to the Maine wilderness.

“This is kind of a huge thing,” Shane explained. “He doesn’t like it — he’s kind of a rebel.”

When retired New England professor, Norman Thayer Jr. enters Billy Ray’s life, they form a father/son bond — a bond Shane says that Billy never got to form with his actual father.

“They really grow attached to each other,” Shane said. “Norman takes him fishing and Billy teaches Norman things too.”

Shane got his start in community theater when he was 11 and a sixth-grader at Lyons Middle School.

“I wouldn’t really have through about it (acting) until my sixth-grade home ec teacher, Mrs. (Judy) Waugh, thought that I was just a big ham in class,” Shane explained.

Waugh saw an article for auditions for a little boy in the “Music Man” to be performed on Clinton’s showboat.

“She cut it out for me and we decided to go,” Shane related. “There were a lot of boys auditioning for Winthrop. I got it — it was neat. I didn’t even expect it.”

Shane’s talent has also pleased audiences attending the Clinton High School musicals. This spring he played the part of Naphtali in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Last year he was Teen Angel in “Grease.”

“Chorus Line” is also looming Shane’s future. When “On Golden Pond” closes Sept. 2, he will be performing the part of Paul San Marko in the well-known musical that will be presented at the All-State Thespian Festival.

According to Shane, five CHS thespians tried out for the musical and all five were selected for parts. “We had the most of any school (in the state) to get in,” he said.

Even with his busy schedule, Shane is academically successful, always earning a place on the honor roll. The upcoming school year will find him in three leadership roles — serving as vice president of the student body, the drama club and a cappella choir.

He also participates in tennis and Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Shane says he gets a lot of help from his friends including Showboat Director Jay Berkow; CHS Drama Director Wayne Hess; and the stage manager for Circa ‘21, Justin Gebhart, who also choreographs the CHS musicals.

He has also had a lot of support form his parents, Mitch and Tracy Miller.

“My parents have always been there for me. They have been very supportive — moved their schedule around mine to make it fit.”

Shane’s future plans include attending the University of Illinois in Chicago where he will major in dentistry and minor in musical theater.

Shane will take center stage in “On Golden Pond” when it opens tonight. The play will run through Sept. 2.

“On Golden Pond” will be performed at Circa ‘21 on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:45 p.m., Sundays at 5:45 p.m., and Wednesday matinees at 1:30 p.m. Call the Circa ‘21 box office at (309) 786-7733, to reserve tickets. The theater is located at 1828 Third Ave., Moline, Ill.

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