Mills, G. Riley

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Mills, G. Riley


Male. Education: DePaul University, B.F.A.


Home—Chicago, IL. Office—Pinnacle Performance Company, 516 N. Ogden Ave. Ste. 221, Chicago, IL 60622.


Professional actor and writer, 1987—. Actor on television programs, including ER, Early Edition, Missing Persons, Tough Target, Unsolved Mysteries, and Ameri-ca's Most Wanted. Actor in films, including The Home Coming and Thirty-five Miles from Normal. Actor in stage productions, including Mother Courage and Her Children, Steppenwolf Theatre.


Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Awards, Honors

Midwest Young Playwright's Festival award, 1987, for Ascending a Staircase to Nowhere; Joseph Jefferson Award for best new work (with Ralph Covert), 1998, for Sawdust and Spangles, and 2001, for Streeterville; National New Play Festival winner, Prop Theater Group, 2002, for Raising Blue.


(With Ralph Covert) Sawdust and Spangles: The Amazing Life of W.C. Coup (based on stage play by the authors), illustrated by Giselle Potter, Abrams Books (New York, NY), 2007.


(With Ralph Covert) Sawdust and Spangles, produced at Prop Theatre (Chicago, IL), 1997.

(With Ralph Covert) Streeterville, produced at TimeLine Theatre (Chicago, IL), 2001.

(With Ralph Covert) A Nutcracker Christmas, produced at Apollo Theater (Chicago, IL), 2005.

(With Ralph Covert) Hansel and Gretel (musical), produced at Apollo Theater (Chicago, IL), 2008.

(With Ralph Covert) The Hundred Dresses, (musical; based on a book by Eleanor Estes), produced at Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, IL), 2009.

Also author of Sour Milk, Raising Blue, The Interview, Ascending a Staircase to Nowhere, produced at Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis, MN; and (with Ralph Covert) The Flower Thieves, 2002.


Award-winning actor and playwright G. Riley Mills is the coauthor of Sawdust and Spangles: The Amazing Life of W.C. Coup, a picture book biography that chronicles the life of William Cameron Coup, the cofounder and manager of one of America's first great circuses. The work is based on a 1997 stage play composed by Mills and frequent collaborator, children's entertainer Ralph Covert. "We found Coup's memoirs, Sawdust and Spangles: Stories and Secrets of the Circus (which was long since out of print) in a research library at DePaul University in Chicago," Mills told Sharon Schulz-Elsing in an interview on "After reading the first few pages on microfiche, we fell in love with Coup and knew we wanted to tell his story."

Sawdust and Spangles follows Coup from his beginnings in small-town Indiana to his relationship with legendary showman P.T. Barnum. Together, the two men created a traveling museum, menagerie, and circus; Coup designed a rail system that helped transport the equipment from venue to venue, and he also pioneered the idea of using multiple circus rings. According to Mills, Coup treated his circus animals humanely, which was unusual for that era. As he remarked to Schulz-Elsing, "Coup took very good care of his animals, even designing a giant baby bottle for the baby elephant when the animal's mother died!" Mills and Covert's bi-

ography "of the indefatigable and once-renowned circus impresario captures the fascination with spectacle that drove him," remarked a contributor in Kirkus Reviews.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2007, review of Sawdust and Spangles: The Amazing Life of W.C. Coup.

ONLINE, (January 1, 2009), Sharon Schulz-Elsing, "Ralph's World Frontman and Playwright Team up for Big-top Picture Book."

Pinnacle Performance Company Web site, (January 1, 2009), "G. Riley Mills."