News Column

Spotlight on local talent!

June 30, 2013


June 30--Two names you may soon recognize from stage, screen, or recording studios, are names you may already know ... from your neighborhood, church, or school. Patina Miller, of Pageland, and Ashton Parson, of Cheraw, have both appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman recently, and both began their musical careers in the public school systems and communities of Chesterfield County.

Miller, 28, won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Clips from her starring role in Broadway's revival production of Pippin, as well as Sister Act, with Whoopi Goldberg are available for view on line. Miller was the disco diva of the 2009 Broadway production of West End. Her acceptance speech for the Tony Award, in which she mentions "being from a small southern town, Pageland, S.C.," is also available on line.

At the suggestion of his publicist, Parson has created a stage name, Parson James, which he will be using to promote the CD on which he is currently working. He hopes to release that CD later this year. Parson, 25, was in town to perform some of his original songs for Spring Festival just a few months ago. YouTube currently runs a video of his appearance April 24 at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. He appeared on Letterman last week singing with CoCo and the Quadron.

Everybody starts from somewhere, right? So what are you waiting for?

You, or that talented friend you know, could begin a path to stardom, directly from the stage of the Theatre on the Green, sooner than you think. The WannaBeatles will be performing in Cheraw, at the Theatre on the Green, Saturday, July 13, and they are offering an opportunity for singers or musicians from the community to join them on stage.

Lindsay Bennett, executive director for the Cheraw Arts Commission, said all one needs to do is simply submit a video of their musical talents to her, and she will forward them to the WannaBeatles. "They are looking for singers, male or female, old or young; as well as musicians."

Although a one-time performance may not single handily launch one's show business career, all goals begin with a dream and come to fruition with hard work. It's doubtful, of all the times Dizzy Gillespie walked through downtown Cheraw, he ever imagined a statue being erected to honor his homegrown talent and musical contributions to society.

So whether you want to be a musician, a paper back writer, or just sing about one ... get busy! After all, if it's happening anywhere, it could have started in Chesterfield County.

Tickets for the WannaBeatles show are available at the Cheraw Community Center. Adult tickets are $20, students are $14. For more information, or to contact Lindsay Bennett about submitting your video, call 843-537-8420, ext. 12.

-- Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at


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