“Growing up, it was just me and my mom,” Ruthie Ann Miles remembered about the years before she became a surprise Tony-winner for “The King and I.” “In hindsight, my mom is my everything. She’s a single mom, she worked three jobs. She didn’t always have time for me. She wanted me to be more than she was, and she pushed me hard, and it was hard to deal with, but now I see that she sacrificed. Those weren’t just three jobs, she was sacrificing her life so that I could go to college.
Playing Lady Thiang in the classic musical wasn’t the first time Miles played a woman wedded to power. She previously played Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos in the off-Broadway musical “Here Lies Love.” But director Barlett Sher made sure she knew that this was a very different kind of woman: “When I auditioned, he said, Lady Thiang is Hillary Clinton, she’s not Imelda. Go take her home and work on it.”
Below, watch Miles’s complete press Q&A, where she also discusses the advancements for Asian-American actors in the theater: