Words From The Wings: Nehal Joshi of THE COTTAGE Shares Backstage Must-Haves, Favorite Moments, and More!

Words From the Wings brings fans behind the scenes of some of their favorite Broadway stars' backstage routines!

By: Aug. 30, 2023
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BroadwayWorld is bringing you Words From the Wings, a new series of interviews that take fans behind the scenes of some of their favorite Broadway stars' backstage routines!

Today we're chatting with Nehal Joshi from The Cottage! Nehal told us all about his backstage must-haves, favorite moments, and more!

Check out his answers, along with photos taken by BroadwayWorld's Jennifer Broski, below!

The Cottage

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive to the theatre?

Well, the very first thing I do is say hi to the wonderful door people at the Hayes, then I sign in and I start changing my clothes so I can do my warm-ups.

What’s the last thing you do before you go on stage?

I check for my props, especially the ones on my person. There are A LOT of props in this show and most of them have either bits or dialogue written around them so it’s vital not to forgot one…but then again, when things don’t work out exactly right is when we’ve had some of the most hilarious ab-libs I’ve ever heard on a show. This is often the most “Live” show I’ve ever done…we don’t even know what’s going to happen.

What’s your must-have backstage snack?

Usually, sweets so I can stress eat my feelings. On this show, our amazing Stage Management team got us our favorite snacks for tech. (mine was chocolate)

Pre-show ritual that others may think is weird?

After I finish my warm-up, sometimes I just dance like I’m in a club.  I have my headphones on and I find a deserted spot…I’ll start dancing. Just to move myself without thinking…shake it all off.  

The Cottage

What are five must-haves in your dressing room?

1.  Mustache Wax.  My mustache is its own play, and it is a diva!  Needs lots of attention, humidity doesn’t help.  

2. Lacrosse ball.  Super handy to roll out knots in your shoulders or back because it’s solid.  Some people use tennis balls.  

3. Fluids. I often have more than one beverage at my station.  Often water and coffee (I love coffee), but soda water makes an appearance and sometimes bourbon (only after a show, Mom).  

4. Headphones and my digital music library-  I listen to music to get me focused, regulate myself and sometimes get into a vibe of a character.  I have songs that I listen to that I'm like: “This is like my character’s inner thoughts.” I’ve been listening to music as a warm-up since I played soccer as a kid.  

5. A Nap set-up. I love a nap between shows on a 2-show day or if I'm working on developing a different project during the day.  Naps rock.  I need them like I’m in pre-k.  

What’s your favorite moment from the show to watch from the wings?

Funny thing is, I don’t get a lot of time backstage because once I'm on, I’m on.  Also, I have a fairly involved costume and make-up set up (it’s epic, come see it) which keeps me upstairs for most of my off-stage time.  But I do love saying hi to Dana Steingold off-stage when she has a few moments in the wings. She’s the best.  My favorite moments are actually sitting the dressing room with Alex listening to the audience laughs to see what kind of show we are gonna have while Laura and Eric do their brilliant opening and Lilli, sometimes, comes by to scream “Zip-zap-zop” on the way to the stage.  

What has been your favorite backstage moment in your time with this show so far?

After the curtain comes down on every show, the six of us huddle up really quick and connect…sometimes talking about what surprised us, compliment a moment, sometimes an apology for a missed line….but it’s just the six of us and that’s really my favorite thing about “The Cottage”.  With the 4 amazing humans who sit upstairs, ready to jump in and breathe fresh life when needed…my favorite thing is the six of us…together…just trying to have a good time.  

The Cottage

About Nehal Joshi

Broadway: All My Sons, Phantom of the Opera (closing cast), Flying Over Sunset, School of Rock, Gettin’ The Band Back Together, Les Misérables (Original Revival Cast), Threepenny Opera. Off-Broadway includes: Cyrano, Working (2008 revision), Grand Hotel (Encores!), Three Sisters. Regional credits includes: Arena Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, Goodman Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center. Video Game: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Film/TV: "Law & Order SVU" (NBC), "The Wire" (HBO), "Search Party" (HBO), "Blackout" (BBC One). Ig: @nehaljoshi