Meet the Tony Nominees: For Colored Girls Star Kenita R. Miller Is Nine Months Pregnant on Broadway
Miller earned her first Tony nomination for her searing performance in Ntozake Shange's seminal work while carrying her first baby.
Kenita R. Miller's Tony nomination for Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf is a big milestone for a lot of reasons. For starters, it's her first after a long career on Broadway that has included shows like The Color Purple, Xanadu, and Once on This Island. More importantly, she is performing in Camille A. Brown's production while nine months pregnant with her first child, a daughter.
As the father of a four-month-old daughter myself, I couldn't let this conversation pass without talking about babies, and what it's like to do a Broadway show when you're due in literally two weeks.
When are you due?
May 30. It's getting so close and I thought I felt like I was ready, and now I feel like…there's gonna be a little body.
That's how my wife and I felt. I'm sure you're at the point where it doesn't feel real, but it feels real.
Yeah. It's crazy. It's so contradicting, but that's exactly what it is. We have her little co-sleeper set up, and I keep looking over there like "This is already changing us in so many ways."
It's made us closer and farther apart and all of those things in between. But it's the best.
Oh, I'm so excited for you!
I'm so excited for you! Is this your first? This is just going to be about babies, by the way.
Yeah. Is it yours?
Yes. It's the greatest thing in the entire world. I was telling my wife this morning, you know, no offense, I love you more than anything, but my love for the baby is like next level. Thankfully, she agreed.
It's real! We've had a very similar conversation, my husband and I. It's a piece of both of you all.
Anyway, congratulations on your Tony nomination!
[Laughs] Thank you!
What is it like for you to be nine months pregnant and doing this play amid all these life-changing things happening all at once?
It's incredible. I would never have dreamt of doing this show this way, or for this long. I have very supportive doctors, and the movement actually feels like it's helping me carry her, more than just sitting. This has been very helpful for the pregnancy altogether. On top of it, it's the feeling of, every time I stop moving on stage, she starts moving. And now, you can see it.
You're doing this play together.
Exactly. And she has specific times that she moves. When the drums come in, she's moving.
My wife would get up in the middle of the night and have a glass of Coke to make the baby move around a bit if she hadn't felt her in a while.
Oh, yeah. If she's too still, I'm like "Uh-uh." But I also love the feeling of it. Did you touch her belly a lot?
I love it. When my husband walks in the room and starts talking, she moves around, and I go "She knows your voice." She recognizes. It's incredible.
What is it like to perform this show while pregnant?
The days where we have one show are not so bad. The two-show days take a bit of strategizing. Whatever that mechanism is, I don't know if it's just adrenaline, or if it's adrenaline and the fact that I love what I get to do, I don't feel anything when I'm on stage. I don't feel my swollen feet. I don't feel the fatigue. I feel energized. It feels amazing. I just put one foot in front of the other and go with it and know this is probably something I won't ever experience again, so I'm just trying to appreciate the moment and be present.
I'm so happy for you.
I'm so happy for you!
We're so tired.
Bless your heart.
You'll find out.
In like two weeks!