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Interview with Present Laughter star Tedra Millan


Tedra Millan

Present Laughter
Tedra Millan

Tedra Millan is currently starring as Daphne Stillington - and making her Broadway debut - alongside Kevin Kline in the Broadway revival of NoŽl Coward's Present Laughter at the St James Theatre until July 2, 2017.

She previously appeared as "#46" in the highly acclaimed Plywrights Realm production of The Wolves at off-Broadway's Duke on 42nd Street in 2016.

We caught up with Tedra to talk about backstage rituals, being the baby of the cast and working with Kevin Kline...

Thomas Hayden Millward: Congratulations on your Broadway debut, Tedra. What has been the best thing and perhaps the most surreal thing about your debut so far?

Tedra Millan: I would say the entire journey has been pretty surreal! I donít think Iíve been able to process it whatsoever. I think the closest I came to processing it was on opening night, after our bows. The first thing I did when I got off stage was to start bawling! I think that is the closest Iíve come to feeling like this was real life.

Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser
Tedra Millan, Kate Burton, Kevin Kline, Kristine Nielsen & Cobie Smulders
Tedra Millan, Kate Burton, Kevin Kline, Kristine Nielsen & Cobie Smulders

THM: Of course you are the first actor on the stage every night. Do you have any special rituals before you go on and start the show?

TM: I usually do some yoga before I start. Itís kinda nice during the matinees because it is morning time [in the opening scene] so that makes me feel more authentic Ė even though Iím totally warmed up! So, I do my warm-ups in my dressing room and get my hair set with curlers. Then I have a nice chat with my cast and then I head on up. Itís such a gift to be able to start the show Ė to come out of the spare room and take a breath with the audience. Then I have to run around, getting the play started. Itís pretty wild.

THM: I noticed you actually studied at LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) and I have to say your British accent was faultless! Iím guessing your time in London really helped you in building your character?

TM: Yes, I think so. I definitely have a familiarity with the whole culture over there. But we had an amazing dialect coach as well.

THM: Your MA in London was in Classical Acting, but did you have any experience with NoŽl Coward over there?

TM: We did go over a bit of it in one of our classes, but I actually played Daphne a number of years ago in my first play when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. My professor brought me in one summer to do this play in upstate New York and he was directing it. Another man named Kevin was actually playing Garry [Essendine] and we did it together for the whole summer. So Coward was the first thing I ever did and so itís fitting that itís my Broadway debut.

THM: Well, that truly sounds like fate. It was just meant to beÖ

TM: I know! Itís creepy! And also Kate Burton played Daphne in her professional debut. So weíre both kind of reliving our past.

Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser
Tedra Millan
Tedra Millan

THM: Iím guessing youíre the baby of the cast, Tedra. Is it intimidating to be the youngest? And do the older actors offer you pearls of wisdom and take you under their wing?

TM: Yes, I am the baby of the cast. I think theyíve all been so kind to me. Every single one of them. Kate [Burton] came up to me on the first day and said: ďI canít wait to see what youíre going to do with Daphne.Ē Kevin [Kline] has been so generous the whole time. Everyoneís been so lovely, but it is an intimidating thing to be the youngest, making my debut and experiencing all these things that are just scary at times, but all so incredibly wonderful. I feel very grateful having these legends teaching me the way of the Broadway.

Photo by Joan Marcus
Cobie Smulders & Kevin Kline in Present Laughter
Cobie Smulders & Kevin Kline in Present Laughter
More Production Photos

Present Laughter is booking through to July 2, 2017 at Broadway's St. James Theatre. Click HERE for tickets!

- by Thomas Hayden Millward

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