PatinaMiller10289 Credit Victoria Stevens

Patina Miller Is Booked and Busy—And She's Just Getting Started

Switching gears, what was your relationship like to *__Into the Woods __*before starring in the Broadway revival?

When I was in college studying musical theater, I was always drawn to the intricacy of Sondheim. I loved the lyrics so much, but it always seemed like it wasn’t for me. I always felt, oh, I can’t touch that. I just have to do Dreamgirls. It wasn’t until I met Billy Porter right after I graduated from college that I fell in love with Sondheim. Billy was doing this R&B neo-soul Sondheim review and hired me to work on the project. I was 20 years old and got to sing Into the Woods. I was so taken by all of the fairy tales and how dark they were. 

__Into the Woods __was your first time being back on a Broadway stage since 2013, when you won the Tony for Pippin. Did being back on stage feel like riding a bicycle? 

Oh my God, I was so nervous! I left the stage for eight years, came back as a mother and was trying to find my way. I was so scared because it’s like, what if I lost it? What if I can’t do eight shows a week? But when we had our first tech rehearsal, I stepped out onto the stage and I remember thinking, “I could do this all day.” It’s where I love to play.

I got emotional on the first day that I walked out onto the stage. Prior to that, I had been seeing a lot of shows and being in an audience was still a new thing [due to the pandemic]. But being on the other side of it was a flood of emotions. It’s just so, so, so special. I got chills at our first preview and was so giddy. Thankfully, it was like riding a bicycle. But it was so much more fulfilling, because I’ve lived life and I’m older now. I’m no longer thinking, “Oh God, what if I mess up?” For me, it’s now about going out, being myself, telling the story, being present, and no matter what happens, enjoying the moment. 

Has your daughter seen you as The Witch?

My daughter has an absolute attachment to Into the Woods. She was two when she saw me perform it at The Hollywood Bowl, before the show moved to Broadway. I was constantly rehearsing because we had such a limited window so I was always singing “Stay With Me” to her. By the time she got to see the performance, she knew all of the songs. It was her first time seeing me on stage, and she got to wear a frilly dress and sit close to the stage. Afterwards, she was like, “Can we go again?” and would tell all her friends in school about it. She is my number one fan, tied with my husband. At my very last performance, she was three rows back; every time I walked out onto the stage, I saw this tiny hand waving back and forth at me. The show is almost three hours long, and every time I walked out, she was waving. At the very end, I waved back to her. She’ll remember it for the rest of her life. 

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