Peter Mill was not one of those children who takes to the stage at an early age.
During his childhood, he didn’t act in theatrical productions — he watched them. He and his parents shared a two-family house in Medway with his grandmother, and she loved old Broadway shows like “Hello, Dolly!” and “My Fair Lady.” First she introduced her grandson to the songs and characters when the films were broadcast on TV. Later she would take him to his first Broadway shows.
Mill never appeared on stage himself until his freshman year at Medway High School, but he caught the bug quickly after that. He transferred to the selective Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick for his last two years of high school, and took an administrative job with Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston in Waltham after he graduated three years ago.
Since then, he has moved to New York to pursue his passion for acting, but he returns to the Reagle’s stage for a two-week run of “Chicago,” playing the part of Mary Sunshine, a gossip columnist with secrets of her own, starting Thursday afternoon.
“I always say I learned the craft of acting at Walnut Hill but I learned the business of the theater at Reagle,” Mill said. “Working alongside the pros, people who have been on Broadway for years, is an incredible experience. I’ve learned so much that I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else. I’m constantly floored by the standard of excellence here at Reagle. It’s rare these days that you get to see a show with a full orchestra, professional costumes, a chorus of Broadway dancers.”
It was his experience working for the Reagle organization the year after high school, having decided the time wasn’t right to go on to college, that compelled Mill to follow the quintessential actor’s dream of seeking a stage career in New York. And it was Mill’s Reagle connections that enabled him to make the leap.
“Having worked with so many acting professionals at Reagle, I was able to move to New York with my first performing job already lined up. I played one of the stepsister’s in Mahler’s ‘Cinderella’ with the New York Theatre Ballet. And for a so-called ‘survival job,’ which is the kind of job actors do to supplement their income between acting opportunities, I sold merchandise at Broadway shows. The great advantage of that job over something like waiting tables, of course, is that you get to see so many different shows.”
One of the shows for which he sold merchandise was “Chicago,” so when he found out the Reagle Music Theatre had it slated to run this summer, it was a perfect time for him to settle back home in Medway. “I’ve seen ‘Chicago’ over one hundred times in New York, and the part of Mary Sunshine always stuck out for me. It is such a thrill to be able to play it on this scale,” he said.
Mill doesn’t know what opportunities will arise for him after “Chicago” ends. He expects to move back to New York eventually, but believes there are many possibilities worth pursuing here as well. “Boston has such a vibrant theater scene,” he said. “I’d like to find another stage role as soon as possible, but I really don’t know if it will be here or in New York.”
Recognizing that it was only a few years ago that he was a student entering the theater program at Walnut Hill, Mill said he hopes other students there and elsewhere who love to perform will be inspired by his successes. “The biggest thing I’ve learned about this business is to be honest with yourself,” he said. “If you want a career on stage, go for it. Trust yourself and listen to what you want. Follow your instincts. Most often, they’re right.”
“Chicago” opens its run at Waltham High’s Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington St., at 3 p.m. Thursday, and continues with performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The run resumes with shows at 7:30 p.m. June 20-22, and 2 p.m. June 23.
The general admission tickets are $35 to $57, with discounts for seniors and youths. Subscription packages that include two upcoming productions are available as well.
To order or for more details, call 781-891-5600 or go to www.reaglemusictheatre.org.
GARDEN TOUR: Indian Hill Music’s annual fund-raising garden tour, “Rhapsody in Bloom,” takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at six private properties in Harvard.
Tickets are $30 in advance ($35 on Saturday) for the tour; a gourmet box lunch will be served on the grounds of the Fruitlands Museum for an additional $15, and is available by reservation only.
On Saturday, tickets and maps will be available on Harvard Common, near Elm Street, from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For advance tickets or more information, call 978-486-9524, ext. 116, or go to www.indianhillmusic.org.
BALLET WORKSHOP: Charles River Ballet Academy presents its 12th annual workshop performances Friday at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Sorenson Center at Babson College, 231 Forest St. in Wellesley.
The program will feature classical pieces from “Giselle,” “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Coppelia,” as well as original contemporary choreography to the music of Vivaldi, Saint-Saens, and the Cure.
Tickets are $22 at the door. For more information, call 508-545-1257 or visit www.charlesriverballet.com.
JAZZ STANDARDS: The Isabel Stover Quartet performs jazz standards at the Acton Jazz Café, 103 Nagog Park in Acton, on Saturday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 plus $1.50 fee online, $12.50 at the door. They can be purchased online at www.actonjazzcafe.com or by calling 978-263-6161.
SILVER VOICES: The Golden Tones chorus celebrates 25 years of bringing music to the community, and helps to kick off Wayland’s slate of 375th birthday festivities, with an intergenerational “Silver Jubilee” concert on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Wayland High School, 264 Old Connecticut Path.
For more details and tickets, visit www.goldentones.org or call 508-318-6318.
MILESTONE DISPLAY: Stow artist Judith Jaffe, inspired by her 80th birthday, presents “I’m Not Finished Yet! A Retrospective of 40 Years of Artwork” at Artspace Gallery, 63 Summer St. in Maynard.
The exhibition will have an opening reception Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m., and remain on display through July 13. For gallery hours or more information, call 978-897-9828 or go to www.artspacemaynard.com.
ARTISTIC CONNECTION: Art by Bolton native Bradley Phillips will be on exhibit through next month in the community room of the Bolton Public Library, 738 Main St.
Works on display include the late artist’s portrait of his father, Philip Phillips, known locally for restoring Whitcomb Inn, the oldest house in town, which he purchased in 1938.
For more information, call 978-779-2839 or go to www.boltonpubliclibrary.org.