The North Door
"...When you watch poet-performer Zell Miller III on a stage, fervently, boldly, breathlessly making words into bursts of light and sending them flying like so many constellations spinning into infinity, you're seeing and hearing, without a doubt an artist with a seemingly effortless command of language and craft. And when you consider his achievements to date Best Author/Poet in the Chronicle's 2004 Best of Austin Readers Poll, member of the Austin Slam Team in the 2004 National Poetry Slam, winner of the 1999 Heman Sweatt Symposium Slam and 1999 Austin Poetry Slam, featured performer at Austin International Poetry Festival and SXSW, opener for Nikki Giovanni you might suspect that Miller emerged from the womb like some hip-hop Athena, fully formed as an artist and spouting a rich, raw, boisterously funny first-person account of his own birth...."
"...In East Austin's Southwest Key Community Center – a strikingly new and vibrant building in a part of town that is not so much either of those things – Zell Miller III is rehearsing his newest play. Three actors move in and out of gesture and tableaux, from abstract movement to African dance, from children's games to yoga poses, all the while speaking in an easy hip-hop poetic that swings from passion to apocalypse to comedy and back:..."
"...A writer and performer, Zell Miller III is an incendiary device waiting for a match. From Vivisections of the Blown Mind, his first production with Frontera in 1993, to MadIzm, his one-man show, to mentoring young poets, to Frontera's production of Sharon Bridgforth's con flama, once he flicks an ember into the hidden dry undergrowth of text, there is nowhere to hide..."
"...Director, co-writer, and performer Zell Miller III has mounted a stirring and provocative production that gives voices to these men and women, answers their cries, and lets them know that their deaths were not in vain and will not be tolerated in the future. Hands Up Hoodies Down, which just ended its three-day run at the Vortex, blends slam poetry, music, rap, movement, and improvisation together for a poignant piece with a message as loud and clear as the chants at rallies nationwide: Black lives matter...."
"..."My son is the thunderstorm." That's how Zell Miller III describes his offspring at the outset of My Child, My Child, My Alien Child, and in the solo performance that follows, his reactions to this boy are very like those of, well, a child to a force of nature: equal parts awe and terror. As a baby, as an infant, as a toddler, and as a young grade-schooler, Zell Miller IV, or Zelly, displays such inexhaustible energy, gale-force enthusiasm, bottomless curiosity, unshakable will, and sheer ear-piercing volume as to seem other than human to his dumbfounded dad..."
"...Zell Miller III is a remarkable performer and ought to be playing to huge audiences of hip-hop connoisseurs. He is not..."
"...The works they made were shown in their home districts over the latter half of 2015, but for the first 10 days of April they're being shown together in the McKean-Eilers Building, 323 Congress. Although it removes the art from the area that inspired it, "Drawing Lines: Explorations of Place" allows visitors from all over Austin to experience in one location the range of its creative representatives – chef Sonya Coté, hip-hop poet/theatre artist Zell Miller III, musician/composer Adrian Quesada of Grupo Fantasma/Brownout/Spanish Gold, video/film documentarian Deb Esquenazi, muralist Josef Kristofoletti, et al..."
"...Its debut year features hip-hop poets and brothers in arts Carlton and Maurice Turner, aka M.U.G.A.B.E.E.; an acclaimed production of Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/UnderdogÊfrom Phoenix's iTheatre Collaborative; and the inspired dance troupe Robert Moses' Kin. And performing side by side with them are some of our own leading lights, such as the unstoppable wordsmith/whirlwind Zell Miller III..."
"...The kind that you imagine young black men spraypainting in the dead of night while pulling on lager or smoking crack. That sounds like a racist statement because it is, and when this latest Hyde Park Theatre production begins, you see that stereotype enter in the person of Zell Miller III, a young black man carrying a boombox blaring hip-hop music, a look on his face that says, "Fuck with me, and I'll put a cap in your ass."..."
"...If you ever get a chance to talk with Zell Miller III, you should. He's special, one of those people who radiate energy like the brightest of stars breaking through clouds on the darkest of nights..."
"...1) ZELL MILLER III In a year when extraordinary tensions made America's political landscape a battleground, no local theatre artist took to the front lines as often or urgently as Zell Miller III. In show after show, this writer/performer/director gave searing critiques of social injustice in blazing language and a hip-hop beat that matched his impassioned heart's..."
"...B-boy bluez deserves a bigger audience. Fewer than two dozen people were there to enjoy themselves on opening night, and that doesn't seem like enough for what Zell Miller III is doing...."
"...Few subjects are closer to our fragile human lives than the subject of death, but so often nowadays, in even the most sophisticated of entertainments, death is treated as a game, individual human lives as unimportant and disposable. So it's refreshing and uplifting to see this Zell Miller III family production presented by ProArts Collective..."
"...These are the opening chords of Ntozake Shange's seminal 1975 African-American feminist choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, directed for UpRise! Productions by Austin hip-hop theatre innovator Zell Miller III. Like a soloist improvising variations on a melody, Miller has transposed the sequence of poems – most of them written to be performed by a single actor – into a tight ensemble piece in a seven-part harmony (although badass Ebony Stewart as the Lady in Red and effervescent Chandra Washington as the Lady in Blue give standout performances)..."
"...Zell Miller III is many things: hip-hop performance artist, sometime slam poet, and, as with this show from Vortex Repertory Company and UpRise! Productions, author and director...."
"...Hands Up Hoodies Down is, as its title makes clear, an immediate and urgent response to current events. Hip-hop theatre artist/poet/educator/mentor Zell Miller III, who has been speaking out about race and justice and humanity on local stages for two decades now, conceived this "protest song sung in the key of high octane spoken word stanzas exploding through tears and heartache." As well as co-writing it with Chelsea Manasseri, Miller is staging it and performs in it, along with Manasseri, Kann, Da'Shade Moonbeam, T-Fly, Ashé Arts Collective, and Sadé Jones, who also provides choreography..."
"...Babs George, Richard III..."
"...A Raisin in the Sun is canonical dramatic literature. Lorraine Hansberry's story of an impoverished black family in 1950s Chicago placed its indelible stamp on the history of American theatre in trailblazing fashion, making Hansberry the first black woman playwright on Broadway and Lloyd Richards, who staged the original production, the first black director on the traditionally "Great White Way." So when I heard that Zell Miller III's company, UpRise! Productions, would be mounting the work under acclaimed director Laurie Carlos, I set aside an evening far in advance to attend...."
"...Direction Rosalind Faires, Marie Antoinette David Long, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play Nick Mayo, She Loves Me Zell Miller III, Hunger/Hands Up Hoodies Down Mark Pickell, The Strangerer/Year of the Rooster Andrea Skola Summers, Skylight Don Toner, Disgraced..."
"...That flicker of optimism may be the greatest gift of Feast of My Heart, but this solo show conceived and performed by Jason Phelps comes with many others: new scripts by writers whose work has an important place in Austin but isn't seen enough on our stages (Lisa D'Amour, Erik Ehn, Ruth Margraff); texts by past and present hometown heroes whose theatrical offerings are ever welcome (Zell Miller III, C. Denby Swanson, Daniel Alexander Jones, Kirk Lynn, Josh Meyer & Matt Hislope); surprising combinations of directors and playwrights (Christi Moore and Margraff, Shawn Sides and Jones, Vicky Boone and Lynn); lighting by Natalie George that pins Phelps in dramatic illumination and casts moody shadows across his form and onto walls; and, far from least, the sight of Phelps himself, doing the kind of stage work that he loves so dearly: work that vibrates inside his body, that hums in his blood, that challenges him to find fresh ways to speak and move..."