Today, we are glad to bring you another exclusive interview of Broadway is Wicked. This time we have the honor to have Ms. Stefanie Brown. This amazing performer is now playing Nessarose in the First National Tour of Wicked.
BroadwayisWicked (BW): Who is really Stefanie Brown? (beyond Wicked)
Stefanie Brown (SB): I am a very kind, loving person who always wants to see the best in people. I love animals, specifically dogs, and would not be able to live without them. I have a very fun, positive personality, and I love to keep busy. I hate just sitting around, I always have to have something to do. I am very organized, my daily planner is my life, it is a little scary. I am very neat and do not like messes. I am a very good friend who can keep a secret. I love desserts and I absolutely love mexican food. I love to try new restaurants, and I love to shop! I love new clothes! I like to think of myself as fun to be around and I love just sitting at home and hanging with my friends. I can sometimes be awkward in certain situations. I am very easy going, which sometimes causes me not speak my mind, which can get me into trouble. I do care about my physical appearance, except I hate going to the gym. I am a huge romantic and I love movies and music. I love to perform, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I think that pretty much sums it up.
BW: When did you know that your career was going to be acting?
SB: Honestly, I do not really know. When I was 3 years old, I just started to perform for everyone all the time. Whether it was dancing to music at family get togethers or singing for the camera, I just had this incredible passion for performing. My parents are not quite sure on where I get it from. I knew I wanted to make a career out of it when I was about 8, and got to play Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz at school. That is when I knew, I had to do this for the rest of my life.
BW: How did you feel the first time you performed in front of an audience?
SB: It is so exhilarating!! Nerve racking, and exciting all at the same time. The very first time I ever performed for a big audience was when I was 3. My family and I were at a big vacation resort in California, and they were having a big band night. During the bands set, I escaped my mothers arms and ran up onstage and asked the lead singer if I could sing. He agreed, gave me the mic, and I began my rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. That is the exact moment where I caught the bug for performing. I have never been able to stop. The sound of laughter and applause is so addicting!
BW: We know about the Middle-of-Penn-Station call but, how did you come to audition for “Wicked” and what was the audition process like?
SB: It is a very long story, but I will try to make it as brief as possible. After my senior showcase in college, I got involved with my current agent, who called me about the audition for the Glinda u/s in the Wicked National Tour, while I was doing Hair in Arizona. Telsey and Co. (who casts Wicked) also cast Hair, and one of their casting directors was coming to our opening night, and would also give me a pre screen audition while in AZ. My first audition for the show, was at my college, in a studio I knew very well, with my college accompanist. Things seemed to be in my favor, and because I was so at ease, my audition went great! I was then sent to New York, for the final callback, and received the call an hour later saying “I got it!”.
BW: You must have been a lovely Belle and a wonderful member of the Tribe but, how is “Wicked” different from what you’ve done before?
SB: I think it’s different mostly in the way the music is written. The score of Wicked is written almost like a movie, there is a ton of underscoring and that is unlike any other musical I have ever been in. It is also a lot more powerhouse contemporary pop singing than any other show I have been in. The only other difference I can think of, is that it is a “prequel” to a familiar movie/musical, Wizard of Oz. Everyone who sees it already has pre conceived ideas about the characters.
BW: Do you have a favorite moment in Wicked? A favorite song or scene? (As Nessa or /and Glinda)
SB: My favorite scene/song as Nessarose is the “Wicked Witch of the East” scene in Act 2. I love the whole scene, and it fun to be a little bit evil 🙂 My favorite thing to sing is the whole “Well, we’ll see about that…” – It is so dramatic, I LOVE it! My favorite scene when I was Glinda, was always the “Popular” bedroom scene, and the cat fight scene in Act 2. My favorite song to sing when Glinda, was always the Opening, and Thank Goodness!
BW: Who do you prefer to portray, Glinda or Nessa?
SB: That is such a hard question! I love them both for different reasons. I love the drama involved with Nessa, and I love the laughs associated with Glinda. I love playing Glinda’s journey more, but I think its more fun, as an actress, to play Nessa. Does that kind of answer that question?
BW: How did you feel during yours first “put-in” rehearsal?
SB: SO freaking’ nervous!!! I remember for my ensemble put in, I was breathing so hard at the end of every number. My brain was working on overload, to make sure I was doing everything right and in the right place. My put in for Glinda, was a whirlwind, I don’t think I even moved in the opening in the bubble. Funny thing is, I have never had an official put in for Nessa, so my first time in front of an audience was my first time in those costumes, so that was super nerve racking.
BW: You first left and then came back to Wicked. How is the second experience in Wicked coming for you?
SB: It is amazing, I always tell people I felt like I was on summer break (those three months) and then it was time for school again but you know how you are always so excited to start school again? That is how I felt. Plus I got lucky all my close friends are still here, so I get to be back with them. Although half the company is different so it is hard for me to get to know everyone new, because they are always onstage when I am not, but they all are so supportive and wonderful. I thought it was going to be hard to remember everything but surprisingly it came right back to me!
BW: Do you have any dream roles?
SB: My dream roles include, Christine in Phantom of the Opera, any role in Les Miserables, Cinderella in Into the Woods, and Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
BW: Which do you think are the key things to succeed in musical theatre?
SB: First and foremost you have to have a very tough skin, and you must have an incredible passion for it, and could not see yourself doing anything else! This business is hard and competitive but I truly believe that if it’s meant to happen, it will happen! You also must be good with other people, and get well with others. This business is very small and everyone knows everyone, so be kind to others, word travels! The last thing I will say is to always try to strengthen your weaknesses and really focus on your strengths! And take as many classes as you can!
BW: Which what do you feel more identify with? Why? – Acting, singing or dancing?
SB: If I had to put them in an order according to me it would go, Acting, Singing, and Dancing. I don’t ever really get nervous when acting, but I do get nervous when I have to sing, and I don’t consider myself a “dancer” but a “mover plus!”.
BW: What would say to upcoming performers?
SB: You will get so many different answers from different people, but the most valuable piece of advice I have picked up along the way is, “BE YOURSELF!” You are the only thing making you different than anyone else, and that is important to remember. Also, believe in yourself, because there will be people in your life that will tell you, “You can’t”, and as long as you know you can do it, then you can and will. The last piece of advice I will give you is to really learn as much as you can. Soak any information and training you receive, it will help you along the path of this competitive industry.
THANK YOU STEPHANIE FOR A WONDERFUL INTERVIEW