Gloria McMillan

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Gloria McMillan - i Ron Cocking, at left, leads a group Kids...
i Ron Cocking, at left, leads a group Kids Studio trains performers of tomorrow By OWEN SHEERAN Sun Staff Writer R! on Cocking and Gloria McMillan, who run Looking Glass Studio of Performing Arts in San Bernardino, are us ing a successful formula of yesteryear to train the young performers of today. In Hollywood's "Golden Age" of films, the 1930s and '40s, young studio actors were trained in all aspects of performance, including acting, dancing and singing. These days, such well-rounded training is hard to find. But it's this type of training that is stressed at Looking Glass, say the husband and wife performing arts teachers. It's one of the few studios of its kind in the Southland. And the training is paying off. Since the studio opened in 1974, graduates have landed TV commercials and have been hired as performers in professional theater groups. One graduate now performs with a major ballet company, and another co-stars in a TV series. "One of our main goals is to instill a love for the arts, so when they reach that certain age and realize what hard work is and what they're looking for. then they will have that love and respect for the arts, and can take their gift out to the world," McMillan said. Dramatic skills are stressed. About one-third of the studio's 500 students nearly 150 take acting classes that use theater games, improvisation and 6 .xv ,, ! of young tap dancers through their are i Aw 7&was&tWH Gloria McMillan, left, watches a rehearsal as students Holly Larsen and scenes from classical to contemporary plays as their focus. McMillan, a professional actress who was under contract for nine years with CBS in the "Our Miss Brooks" TV series and most recently appeared in the ABC sitcom "Perfect Strangers," teaches acting classes, as well as tap dancing and the Kinder-Theatre class for children ages 3 to 5. "With the very little ones." she said, "there are no layers to take off. There's no inhibition, no sel f-consciousness. T hey learn the technical things, like how to block a scene, how to interact and react to another actor on stage. It's basically just to have fun and to be aw are of our paces at the Looking Glass Studio in gettaiig mm . M M7 V 1 i feelings." Working with older children, 7-year-olds to teenagers, however, is a little more difficult. "You have to start unwrapping a lot of things, because with 13-and 14-year-olds, a self-consciousness comes about. There's an uncomfortableness with themselves." she said. "What I try and teach is the feeling they're the instrument. They have to learn how to risk in front of a group." Ti e studio's otherclasses. which include instruction in singing, classical ballet, jaz and tap dance, are also broken down into specific age uroups. savs McMillan. San Bernardino. into the act Brandon Lootens wait their turn. More than half of the students study more than one discipline. Actors aren't only actors, dancers aren't only dancers, and singers aren't only singers. "We don't want them to be badly trained." McMillan said. "We don't want them, when they're 25 years old and they have this wonderful opportunity, to say. 'Why didn't Gloria and Ron tell me I was going to need this?' We don't w ant anybody that we've worked with to be unprepared." The studio has an impressive list of success stories. Last summer. 16-year-old Trevor Bullock of Riverside landed the role ofthe teenage son of Randy Quaid (and grand Photo by GINA FERAZZITha Sun Allison Campbell is student actor. son of Jonathan Winters) in the ABC-TV sitcom " Davis Rules." Former student Paul Murphy is on tour with the Houston Ballet. Sheri Baehr, w ho teaches jazz at the studio, is appearing in the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera's "Chess." Other noteworthy students include Matthew Smith of San Bernardino, who has done Burger King and Nissan TV commer-icals; Allison Campbell of Red-lands, who appeared in a Hitachi commercial w ith Quincy Jones and six members ofthe New York City Ballet, and Christopher Allen. McMillan's son. w ho is a member of the national tour of "Meet Me in St. Louis." w hich will open soon at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. 'J Tplllh:

Clipped from
  1. The San Bernardino County Sun,
  2. 13 May 1991, Mon,
  3. Page 27

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  • Gloria McMillan

    Teblick – 07 Feb 2018

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