Professor Suzanne Miller, Department of English, was recently honored with the 2016 “Distinguished Play Award” from the American Alliance for Theater & Education for her script Frederick, which was adapted from Leo Lionni’s classic children’s book of the same name (Random House). The award was shared with collaborators Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee, who wrote the music and lyrics for the adaptation.
Frederick was produced by the Chicago Children’s Theater (2014) and at The Rose Theater in Omaha (2014), and received excellent reviews. The Chicago Tribune called the play “…charming and poignant…” saying, “Frederick teaches that people do not live by nuts and berries alone, but need cultural warmth.”
The American Alliance for Theater & Education serves and inspires a growing collective of theatre artists, educators, and scholars committed to transforming young people and communities through the theater arts. The Distinguished Play Award honors the most outstanding plays for young people published during the past calendar year. Award-winning scripts demonstrate superiority in execution, delineation of characters, theatricality, and appropriateness of style. They also respect young people’s understandings and abilities, providing them with perspectives on their own experiences while enhancing their imagination and emotional growth.
Frederick is the story of a mouse and his friends who live in a country meadow. As summer turns to fall, they each set about collecting supplies, all except Frederick, or so it would appear. Frederick seems to have his head in the clouds, but when winter finally arrives, it is Frederick who has stored up something special to help save the day. The play features a roots-flavored country and folk-infused score.
In 2015, the script was published by Dramatic Publishing, and is currently available for licensing through the publisher.
Miller’s plays include Young Love; Flirting with the Deep End (Dramatic Publishing); Beatrice; The Handwriting, The Soup and The Hats; and Abigail’s Atlas, among others. Her work has been seen in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Omaha, Providence, New Haven and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
After graduating from University of Pennsylvania, Miller went on to receive her MFA in playwriting from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel, Charles Mee, Aishah Rahman, and Mac Wellman. Miller was an original company member of Annex Theater in Seattle.
Miller is the co-editor of City Tech Writer: Outstanding Student Writing from All Disciplines.