Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spotlight On...Brad Baron

Name: Brad Baron

Hometown: Glen Rock, NJ

Education: Princeton University, AB in English with Certificates in Music and Theater. Louisiana State University, MM in Music (Vocal Performance)

Select Credits: Kiss Me, Kate (Fred Graham), Brigadoon (Jeff), Sweeney Todd. Lots of Gilbert and Sullivan including The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance in productions across the country (so far Baton Rouge, Cape Cod, Memphis, and back home in New Jersey). I've had one acts and short plays produced in festivals and theaters around the country too, including at the La Strada Ensemble Theater, the Ringwald Theatre, and various 1-Minute Play Festivals

Why theater?: Why not? But truthfully, I don't know what I'd do without it. Plus nowadays I think it's one of the few modes of entertainment left where people come together and experience something at the same time. You go on a journey with friends and total strangers; you'll probably never see them again. But you shared something. I love Netflix just as much as everyone else, but there's nothing like the communal experience that theater demands.

Who do you play in Last Ditch Playlist?: I play Aaron, who is based on a very specific version of myself circa 2012 - 2013.

Tell us about Last Ditch Playlist: Last Ditch Playlist began as a cathartic exercise for me when getting over my first breakup. I spent months writing the first draft pretty much nonstop. That was about four or five years ago. It's been cool to put distance between myself and the events dramatized in the play, because I don't think it really started to work until I could see it objectively. So the play is a very personal and specific journey. But I hope the specificity and detail in which this relationship is described is what ultimately makes it relatable in a broader sense. I just want it to be honest.

What is it like being a part of Last Ditch Playlist?: I find it really natural and invigorating, which is actually a big surprise for me. This is my first time acting in something I wrote. I used to distance myself from doing that on principle, wanting to leave it to other actors and directors to unearth things in my writing that I never considered. I actually never had the intention of acting in Last Ditch Playlist until my on-stage boyfriend (Ross McCorkell) put the idea in my head. It was a risk, but I'm very excited by the results. Ultimately, I think giving myself permission to act in my play has helped me to understand it better.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: If I'm being completely honest, I'm pretty obsessed with Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. I think there are a lot of great new musicals that have made their way to Broadway in the last few years, but this one takes the cake for me. I mentioned how I liked being a part of a community of theatergoers earlier, and I love that The Great Comet forces you to acknowledge the audience all around you. I definitely enjoy measuring the reactions of audience members around me when I see a piece of theater. Our setup for Last Ditch Playlist also allows for some of that. Beyond that, I love how The Great Comet makes a cohesive whole out of elements that shouldn't otherwise fit together. Also considering my opera upbringing, I enjoy The Great Comet (and other sung-thru musicals like Hamilton) that, in my opinion, do new opera better than actual new operas.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I've done it before, but I will seize any opportunity to do Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha again. I also want to be a part of more queer theater. One day, Angels in America would be cool. Otherwise, I really do think I want to keep writing for myself moving forward.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Do I have to pick?? Hmm. Well, I tend to really like the women's numbers more. A current favorite is "No One Else" from The Great Comet. I like "Take a Break" a lot from Hamilton for whatever reason. Stalwart favorites include "Losing My Mind," "It's All the Same" (Man of La Mancha), anything by Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe, or Kurt Weill. Ugh, see, I can't pick!

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Madeline Kahn. Unfortunately, I think I missed the boat there. Otherwise, dream colleagues include Kelli O'Hara, Jinkx Monsoon, Phillipa Soo, Michael Urie, and Steven Pasquale.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Actually, I think Last Ditch Playlist could make a good movie. Dare I say Michael Urie again?

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: WOOF. That's tough. The original productions of Man of La Mancha, Angels in America, and a live taping of "The Carol Burnett Show."

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Great Comet and I used to be a big proponent of August: Osage County back when it was playing.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Video Games. Hands down.

What’s up next?: After we conclude our NYC run of Last Ditch Playlist, we head to Philly for the FringeArts Festival! We're doing Last Ditch Playlist at Performance Garage (1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130) for three performances on September 12, 13, and 15!

For more on Last Ditch Playlist, visit