Family spans generations at Leeds this weekend

Published 2:43 pm Friday, November 17, 2017

About 80 years ago, Betty Yeary started working at what is now Leeds Center for the Arts, selling popcorn and concessions to movie-goers.

This weekend, her great-great-niece Cerra Miller will conclude her first performance at Leeds, and Yeary will be there to see it.

“The best thing about it is she loves musicals, as do I,” said Yeary’s daughter, Betty Jo Holbrook. “It’s really appropriate mom’s the one that gets to go see Cerra.”

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The Millers, who live in Madison County, have made weekly trips to Winchester for rehearsals for the last couple months.

“My mother took her to see ‘Hairspray,’” Cerra’s mother, Jenny Miller, said. “At the end, they announced they were having auditions for ‘The Lion King.’ That was it for us. She’s not talked about anything else.”

Cerra will be a butterfly in “The Lion King Jr.,” which opens for its final weekend today at 7:30 p.m. The other shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

“(Cerra) is very, very excited about it,” Miller said. “It’ll be the biggest stage she’s performed on.”

For Yeary, it’s another chance to return to where she started working when she was 12 or 13, not much older than her great-great niece is now.

“I would pop popcorn,” she said through Holbrook. “I sold soft drinks, peanuts, candy bars. I would walk up and down the aisles selling them.”

Yeary said she was paid 10 cents for every $1 of popcorn she sold in the mid 1930s.

“When they paid, it was on Saturday and she took it to her mother,” Holbrook said. “That’s why she started working.”

As the show comes to a close, Miller said Cerra was worried about how to keep in touch with her new friends after Sunday’s final performance.

“I said, ‘You’ll have to get email addresses,’” Miller said.

The play is based on Disney’s “The Lion King” film and features a cast of 55.

Tickets are available at

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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