BWW Interview: Patina Miller Looks Back on the Simple Joys of Her Year with PIPPIN
As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Tony Award winner Patina Miller will play her final performances in Pippin tomorrow, Sunday, March 30, 2014. Ciara Renée (Big Fish) will assume the role of "Leading Player" beginning Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
Miller has a lot on her plate this year, as she continues filming for her breakout film role- 'Commander Paylor' in the Hunger Games series. Catch her in Mockingjay- Part 1 in November 2014, and Part 2, which will hit theatres the following year.
Miller took the time to chat with BroadwayWorld as she was entering her final weekend of performances, and in the interview below, she looks back on her Pippin experience and touches on the great things to come!
You're entering your last weekend of performances- have you wrapped your head around that yet?
I think I finally have. It's been very emotional at the theatre, and just in life in general. Something that you've done for a year is coming to an end- it's actually sort of weird and strange. I'm finally wrapping my head around it though.
This isn't the first time you've left a show before the end of its run. I'd imagine that process is very difficult...
It's always a hard thing when you start from creating the character, from the very beginning, to let it go. Even though you have to let it go. You get used to seeing these people more than your family. You get used to that and it's very hard letting go. But you have to do it!
Have you met with Ciara [Renee] to give her any advice?
Yes! We've been talking and she has followed me a couple of times. I'm really excited for her. This show did a lot for me. I can only hope for her that it will do the exact same thing. She'll find who her Leading Player is and have a great time and enjoy herself. That's really the most important thing- taking it moment to moment. Have a good time and do your thing.
It's been well over a year since you began Pippin at the A.R.T.- has your take on the Leading Player changed since then?
I had an idea of who the Leading player was a year ago, but when you are with a character for as long as I have been able to be with this character, it deepens. All of my instincts in the beginning have led me to where I am now. It's definitely on a deeper level. A lot of things have a lot more meaning and a lot of things are more lived in.
When you first start you're trying to figure it all out- where do I go? What do I do? It's the mechanics of it. Then you settle in to who the character is. Now that I know who the character is I've been having fun going through her journey every night.
You won a Tony Award for this part last June. Looking back on it now, how would you say that has that impacted your life?
Oh my god, so much! It's corny to say, but it really is true that it's taught me that if you fight hard enough and work hard enough for your dreams that anything is possible. I didn't know if that would ever come to me, and the fact that it did made me want to work even harder. To know that I got to walk on that stage and a dream of mine came true...that was pretty amazing.
Your next big project is Mockingjay! What has that experience been like for you so far?
It's very different from Broadway because I'm used to playing to a thousand people a night. Movies are grand but it's smaller. It's a different medium. It's been so nice to be able to do that while still doing theatre. Instead of talking to a thousand, you're performance is for like two people. It's been really nice to get to work in front of the camera like that, this being my first time, on such a huge film. Everyone has been so amazing. The cast is great. I look forward to filming more in a couple of months!
That's so great that you've been able to do both at the same time. You must be exhausted!
It is exhausting, but the time has flown by because I'm having such a great time.
You're obviously already very well known by anyone who has interest in theatre, but I'd think that joining the cast of a franchise as big as The Hunger Games is going to but you in an even bigger spotlight. Is that something you're ready for?
I guess you have to be ready for anything. Honestly, I'm just happy to be doing what I set out to do. I hope that I can continue this, because it is my passion. It is what I want to do. The fact that it's happening now, maybe it will lead to other opportunities. The fame thing, I try not to let that get to my head because you never know. I'm just trying to live in the moment and hopefully more great work comes out of it!
I'm sure that some Broadway fans are scared that we are going to lose you forever to TV and movies...
I know, people are always like, "They do Broadway just to make it into TV and film." Broadway is my first love and it's where I'm happy. I would never not do Broadway again. I'm looking forward to the chance to do this. I've been fortunate enough to be able to do TV and film and I'm ready to figure that out now. I want to do it all! I'm greedy. I love acting. I love singing. I want to do it in any way that I can.
Your American Songbook special just aired on PBS! Have you watched it yet?
I don't like watching myself. I feel like performers are our own worst critics. Luckily I had a show, but I did check it out a bit. I'm really proud of it.
Looking back, what has been the ultimate highlight of your Pippin experience?
People would expect me to say that it's winning the Tony. That is the highlight; I won't lie [Laughs]. That's the obvious one, but I think that the highlight has been working with such a fantastic cast. Our cast and crew and everyone at the Music Box really is a family. I've had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists and people, and I think that's the one thing. In situations like these you don't always have that. It's been amazing to share this ride with my cast and the crew and the ushers! It's been such a positive experience for me. That's what I'm going to take away. I'm gonna take away the love for what we've done. We all love the piece so much and it's been so easy to come to work to do the show.
You have just a few performances left- what are you going to think about as you do everything for the final times?
I'm gonna try to remember the moment. I always live in the moment and I'm always present on stage, but for these last ones I'm gonna continue to do what I've been doing. Obviously when I walk out on the stage these last times there will be more feelings- that always helps. I'm gonna try to remember every single moment because you want moments like these to happen again. I really hope that it will. I'm gonna live in the character and take it all in. I'll remember every single moment of this experience because it truly has been a great one.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos