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Words From the Wings: Bonnie Milligan of KIMBERLY AKIMBO Shares Pre-Show Rituals, Backstage Moments, and More!

Words From the Wings: Bonnie Milligan of KIMBERLY AKIMBO Shares Pre-Show Rituals, Backstage Moments, and More!

Bonnie told us all about how she connects with her castmates backstage, favorite moments of the show to watch from the wings, and more!

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 Bonnie Milligan of Kimberly Akimbo, who told us all about her pre-show rituals, favorite backstage moments, and more!

Check out her answers below!


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

I usually get there early, because I've grabbed a bite to eat at my fave nearby deli, and I get to my room to eat and take my regimen of vitamins and immune boosting supplements. I take vitamins B, C & D and then Wellness Formula, and an allergy pill, cuz my sinuses tend to react to the haze used in the show. Then I start my physical and vocal warmups.

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

I am backstage early enough to drink some water and hydrate my mouth, before I stand in a spot backstage, near my entrance, and I honestly go through my entire first scene like a monologue while I warm up my body again (since I enter about 30 minutes into the show). It helps me get in the quick thinking mindset of Debra, and I can feel physically ready to jump in like a bull in a China shop. It can feel a bit like being shot out of a cannon!

What's your must-have backstage snack?

Does Ricola count? I'm not a big snacker, but sometimes folks bring in things and I'll gladly partake. We love popcorn & chips!

Words From the Wings: Bonnie Milligan of KIMBERLY AKIMBO Shares Pre-Show Rituals, Backstage Moments, and More!
Photo Credit: Christopher Boudewyns

Pre-show ritual that others may think is weird?

I don't know if it's weird, but maybe it's different? The entire cast assembles in my dressing room at 5 minutes to places, and we do little warmup things together (we take turns leading it). Then we "make eyes," so that we each look at each other before the show starts. We really get pumped up to tell the story together. Sort of calling upon the universe, God, each other, whatever you may believe, to center our energy and focus us to tell the story every time. Then everyone heads out to start the show! It's really beautiful and lovely to feel that team/family mentality, and if anyone is feeling under or down, we just remind them, hey we got you! We get to play today!! Let's do this!! And it's especially nice for me to connect with them all, since I enter so late.

What are five must-haves in your dressing room?

All of my immune/health boosting items, pictures of my loved ones, a couch for when my cast mates come and hang, little notes of encouragement from loved ones, and a stack of blankets and pillows for those in between two show day naps!

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

I LOVE anytime I can watch from the wings, because this cast is filled with the most beautiful and amazing actors, but I particularly love watching Justin & Vicki by the lockers, when he first offers to kiss her sometime...for practice! It's the most beautiful, simple, truthful, lovely scene that they both absolutely shine in! I used to watch it and cry every time in REHEARSAL last year during the Atlantic days, because I was so blown away by the simple and gorgeous honesty from both of them. I also love catching the teen scenes anytime I can. They are sooooo funny and again, honest and truthful and they capture the myriad of intense high school emotions so flawlessly. I rarely am backstage for Steve & Ali's scenes, but they are masters and I bask in the times I get to share scenes with them both.

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

My favorite backstage moment is when I can connect with people. It's never one specific time, but saying hey and connecting with the crew before my first entrance is always great. Chatting with the kids before the Act Two curtain raises. Then again after we leave the check washing number. Hanging with Steve & Alli backstage before the house opens and it's dinner time, and Vicki & I always share a moment before the last scene of Act One, where I always pause to tell her how beautiful and intricate her work is. I mean, she is such a wonder!! Everyone is. I'm very lucky.

Words From the Wings: Bonnie Milligan of KIMBERLY AKIMBO Shares Pre-Show Rituals, Backstage Moments, and More!


About Bonnie Milligan

Bonnie was nominated by both the Drama League and the Outer Critics Circle for her Broadway debut in Head Over Heels, for which she also won the Theatre World Award. First National Tour: original Pat in Kinky Boots. Off-Broadway: Promenade and God Bless You Mr. Rosewater (Encores!); Gigantic (Vineyard Theatre); Jasper in Deadland (Prospect Theater). Television: recurring as Katherine Witherbottom on "Search Party" (HBO Max) and Bitsy on "Escape at Dannemora" (Showtime), "Chicago Fire" (NBC), and "Happy" (SyFy). Bonnie won a Lucille Lortel Award and was nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards for her performance in Kimberly Akimbo Off-Broadway at the Atlantic theater company.

About Kimberly Akimbo

Kimberly Akimbo officially opened on Broadway on November 10, 2022.

Kim is a bright and funny Jersey teen, who happens to look like a 72-year-old lady. And yet her aging condition may be the least of her problems. Forced to maneuver family secrets, borderline personalities, and possible felony charges, Kim is determined to find happiness in a world where not even time is on her side.

Kimberly Akimbo features a book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Tony Award-winner Jeanine Tesori. It is based on the critically acclaimed play of the same name by David Lindsay-Abaire, choreographed by Danny Mefford, and directed by Jessica Stone.

The Broadway company of Kimberly Akimbo features the "sensational" (Washington Post) company from the Atlantic Theater world premiere production: Tony Award-winner Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza, Gigi) as Kimberly, Justin Cooley (who is making his Broadway debut), Tony Award nominee Steven Boyer (Hand to God, Time and the Conways), Alli Mauzey (Cry Baby, Wicked), Bonnie Milligan (Head Over Heels), Olivia Elease Hardy (Broadway debut), Fernell Hogan (The Prom, Mean Girls US Tour), Michael Iskander (Broadway debut), and Nina White (Broadway debut). Colleen Fitzpatrick, Skye Alyssa Friedman, Miguel Gil, Jim Hogan, Betsy Morgan, and Alex Vinh round out the cast as understudies.


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