on Sports
From Fullback to Figaro  by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
From Fullback to Figaro

         Keith Miller started three seasons as a fullback for the Colorado Buffaloes. He blocked away a Michigan rusher to help Kordell Stewart toss a 73 yard pass to Michael Westbrook for a touchdown with six seconds left for a 27-26 win in what has been called the greatest finish in NCAA history. Soon after, he went with a girlfriend to see Phantom of the Opera.  From that point on Miller became interested in musical theatre.

        Since that time Miller played pro football in Finland, the Arena Football league and performed opera in Madame Butterfly, the Bridge of San Luis Rey, Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro. Unbelievable, right?

         Twelve years ago, Miller knew he could carry a football but didn’t know he could carry a note. In 2001, Miller was playing Arena football in North Dakota and noticed a flier from Concordia College casting Masetto (in Don Giovanni). Miller couldn’t read a note of music but got the role by listening to a recording. It was all tons of work and then center stage from there.   

         Miller sings for the Met and refers to Luciano Pavarotti as Pav. Miller is the bass soloist for the Met’s Summer Recital Series in New York parks. This may be the only recital series covered by a telestrator and John Madden.

     “Aida has an aria and some people don’t know that both Aida and aria begin with an “a” and also end with an “a.” It’s right here on the telestrator,” says John. “They also have only four letters each.”

    “Miller plays the part of Ramphis, the villain in Aida. You can tell he’s a villain because he never has a smile on his face. Look here on the telestrator – no smile. Some say this is a bad rap. Ramphis is the high priest and it is his job to protect the country. If you’re worried about protecting your country you can’t be smiling. Also if you have a shaven head they’re more likely to cast you as the bad guy.”

    “Miller played football in Finland. In Finland they have ladies singing opera with Viking horns. Miller played college football for Colorado which has a buffalo for a mascot. Their mascot, Ralphie, also has horns. Do you get the connection?” 
From Fullback to Figaro  by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles
      “The career in football is much shorter than in opera because you can get hurt here (the knee) and here (the shoulder). If you don’t make it in the first three years after college, you may not make it. And then your career is likely to be only five to eight years. In opera you can have careers that last 30 years and the good ones make $ 5-7 million a year. Keith Miller has a great deep voice. I see a lucrative future for him in opera.” 

      “As a college fullback, sometimes you hold your block and then float out to receive a pass. This requires acting and timing. You time this so the blockers can form a screen. It’s the same in opera. You have to know your role. You don’t start singing before the tenor has finished his piece. A fullback and a baritone are similar in that they are not the stars. But when all eyes are on them they have to come through, even in a foreign language.”

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