I’m back and excited to share with you a Q&A session with Paul HeeSang Miller, who is currently in the ensemble of Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theatre in NYC.
I first met Paul when I was a senior in High School and was completing a work placement at Elon University. I was an ASM (Assistant Stage Manager) and had absolutely no clue what I was doing for the large majority of my time there and worked on a large scaled production of Sweeney Todd. It was magical experience watching the talent from off stage and I remember Paul well from his genuine kindness to his remarkable and borderline insane dance abilities!
In the past week, Paul has opened Miss Saigon on Broadway, making this his third Broadway show! He was kind enough to catch up and provide some really great information on performing on Broadway, audition tips and some cool info on what it is like performing at the Tony’s.
I hope you all enjoy – and make sure to go and watch Paul HeeSang Miller in Miss Saigon!
Q&A with Paul HeeSang Miller
1. Congratulations on your opening coming up in March! How have you been finding tech?
Thank you! We have just completed a week of tech and have one more before our first preview on March 1st! It’s a tech heavy show, with cars and fences and dragons, but it has been going fairly smoothly! This is a fun time because we get to hang with the company, and to learn how everything works on stage. Next week we add costumes!
2. What are you most looking forward to about opening Miss Saigon on Broadway?
This is the first revival of Miss Saigon, back in the theatre it originated in! So, the theatre geek inside of me is most excited about being a part of Broadway history. Also, getting to tell this incredible story every night.
3. How did you find the audition process for the show?
My audition for this show lasted over a few months. Every time I went back in I would try to recreate how I had auditioned beforehand, while implementing whatever notes I was given by casting and the creative. That would be hard sometimes when weeks have gone by. I think an important thing I learned is that it is impossible to ‘recreate’ a performance. You can just use what you have that day. If you have a cold, work around it, or let it inform you in another way. That’s what’s so wonderful about theatre is that every day how you are can dictate your performance. If you wanted to see the same thing over and over you would watch a movie.
4. This will be your 3rd time on Broadway, which is just incredible! Is there something in terms of your ‘work load’ or show schedule that might come as a surprise to those working towards a career in MT?
Most people who aren’t in theatre have holidays off, but on Broadway they are your busiest times.
5. You started your career on Broadway as an Understudy. Did you enjoy the challenge of covering multiple roles within a show?
It is certainly challenging, but it’s rewarding as well. There is a rush when you get to go on, an energy that really is like nothing else. Sometimes you won’t know you’re on for the part you cover until you walk into work at half hour. I have never been a swing on Broadway, but they are the complete backbone and glue of a show. They are the ones who know multiple ‘tracks’ and can be thrown on at any moment, sometimes it’s mid show and sometimes it can be a combination of a couple tracks.
6. What would you sayare the positives and pitfalls are of working as an understudy?
I would say there are many positives, you get to see the show from another viewpoint, through the perspective of another person. As for pitfalls, nothing can truly prepare you for how it is going to feel going on for the first time. I covered ‘Lun Tha’ in ‘King and I’ who has two beautiful duets and a few lines. I didn’t even have a microphone in my ensemble track, so to go from never speaking to having a mic and singing in front of an entire house was quite a shift in thought. I have a voice!
7. What is your favorite memory on stage whilst in Mamma Mia or The King and I?
In Mamma Mia! I loved singing ABBA songs while having a literal dance party every night. If I’m in a store and ABBA comes on I am taken right back. Also, that shows movement was so universal, a few of us at ‘Miss Saigon’ started the finale medley and anyone who had done the show throughout the years were able to jump in and perform it too.
8. Personal question here, I’d love to know more about the casting process for the Tonys… Tell us about performing at The Tonys in 2015? I couldn’t help but notice your credit on IMDB.
I was lucky to have performed with ‘King and I’ on the 2015 Tony Awards. We did a medley of ‘Getting to Know You’, ‘Something Wonderful’ and ‘Shall We Dance’. In the show I guarded the schoolroom by a map with another cast member, Andrew Cheng. Since we moved the map in the show, they let us move it on the Tony’s! It was a dream come true to be on that stage. We were also included in the ‘in memoriam’ that year which featured Josh Groban singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and all of the casts from the Tony nominated shows. That was an epic moment as I think 175 of us, comprised of casts from other shows were all on stage together behind him.
9. What role would you love to play on Broadway and why?
There are so many wonderful roles out there. I’m not sure the role which is perfect for me has even been created yet!
10. Last question, what is your biggest tip or piece of advice for those young actors wanting to pursue a career on Broadway?
Simply, I’d say to love the art, the business and the work! Someone once told me, quiet down times are the times when you “plant the seeds” which will hopefully eventually blossom into work later on! Also, everybody has a different career path. Never compare yourselves to others.
Thank you again Paul for the catch up and I will definitely see the show when i’m in NYC in May!
For more details on the show, go to the official Miss Saigon site for ticket information. Or go and follow the official Miss Saigon Instagram – it is pretty cool and filled with some short clips from the cast.
#misssaigon #broadway #auditions #actorslife