The life of a musical-theater actor is simple: All you have to do is walk, talk, and sing. But just try doing those things 8 times a week for months and months and months. Suddenly, they’re not so simple. Ask Ruthie Ann Miles.
A visit to the dressing room of Miles (Lady Thiang), which she shares with Ashley Park (Tuptim), is quite an experience. Throughout the room sit enough remedies to stock a general store – cider vinegar, which many actors sip with hot water, and more industrial-strength potions.
Look at the photo I took for the more modern aids. On the far left, you will see a diffuser, which dispenses steam throughout the room. There’s a container of lozenges, for soothing biochemical relief. And a tea warmer: Miles prefers Throat Coat, a traditional medicinal organic beverage. On the far right sits MyPurMist, a handheld steam inhaler.
But what, you ask, is that aquarium-looking object in the middle of the image? It’s called Naväge, and it’s a nasal irrigator. Explains Miles: “I learned about it from DDK” – the backstage nickname for Daniel Dae Kim, who plays the King. “He said he had bought one but hadn’t yet used it.” Intrigued, Miles decided to acquire her own. “I’m a product whore,” she told me. “I’m always trying new things, and, if I like them, I recommend them to friends and family.”
When she bought the contraption, in May, Miles was desperate for relief. “I have terrible allergies and am prone to sinus infections, and for more than a week I was having some nasty drainage. Nasal drip gets onto the vocal folds, and you worry whether you’ll be able to sing your notes.” She added: “I went to the doctor, for antibiotics, but he said antibiotics wouldn’t help because it was allergies. “
She tried the Naväge device as soon as it arrived, once during the day and another time at night. “I got results within 36 hours, and now I swear by the thing,” she said. Miles is such a convert she could do an infomercial. “I recommended it to everyone,” she confessed. That group included Marin Mazzie, who plays Mrs. Anna, and who bought one for her husband, the performer Jason Danieley, the cast of The King and I and other workshops she's doing around town. Before long, Miles’s professional colleagues were posting Naväge testimonials on Facebook.
“I‘ve seen the recommendations on social media,” Miles said, “but no one posting a video using the device.” As I watched her demonstrate it, I could understand the reluctance. In action, it looks like a bong with nose plugs.
“I know it’s not very sexy,” Miles said. “But nasal drip is even less sexy.”
Brendan Lemon is the editor of lemonwade.com.