During their childhood, sisters Emily Grace Miller and Lacy Miller — better known as Gracie and Lacy — developed a profound appreciation for Golden Age movie musicals after being introduced to them by their grandmother.
As their grandmother aged, becoming blind and bedridden, the sisters found themselves describing the musicals to her. They couldn’t imagine then that more than 20 years later, they would be performing the musical numbers they used to watch.
The Charleston-based sister act has been performing Golden-age musical theater numbers professionally since they were 10 and 12. Their childhood shows, titled “Broadway in the Driveway,” became so popular they disrupted traffic in their Missouri neighborhood.
The “Star-Spangled Spectacular,” opening June 7 at the Queen Street Playhouse, will be their fourth Piccolo Spoleto Festival show and will commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
“The more we study World War II and D-Day, it’s really sad,” Gracie Miller said. “And yet the music people were writing is this music of hope, and it's just uplifting. It's such a contrast to what was going on.”
The duo stays true to the original songs they perform, though they do add a personal touch.
Joining the sisters on stage will be vocalists Maggie Worlsdale and Annalisa Blevins, winner of the 2019 Great American Songbook Star, as well as the five-piece Legends Band.
The sisters began work on the show in December 2018, after receiving funding from the Billy Rose Foundation and the Mount Pleasant Community Arts Center. Billy Rose Foundation trustee John Wohlstetter said that funding Gracie and Lacy’s “Star Spangled Spectacular” was an opportunity to continue to share the great American songbook with future generations.
“They present the best from generations past to the benefit of present generations, and with luck and pluck, generations yet to come,” Wohlstetter said.
Madalyn Owen is a Goldring arts journalist at Syracuse University.