PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Big Fish Star Krystal Joy Brown
By Matthew Blank
October 1, 2013
Krystal Joy Brown, who plays the role of Josephine Bloom in the new Broadway musical Big Fish, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Bown has previously appeared on Broadway in Leap of Faith (Astaire Award nomination) and Hair.
Other theatre work includes Falling for Eve (Eve), Calvin Berger (Rosanna), Little Shop of Horrors (Crystal), High School Musical (Taylor) and Rent (Mimi).
>Full given name:
Krystal Joy Brown
Where you were born/where you were raised:
I was born in Alexandria, VA, but when I was 14 my mother drove us across the country and we moved to Los Angeles.
Sagittarius and Capricorn (Born on the Cusp) Dec. 22
What your parents did/do for a living:
My mother works for FEMA and my father was a Baltimore police officer. And both of my grandparents do or did work for the Pentagon.
My Sister Katrinah is an actress/singer as well in Richmond, VA. She inspired my love for the theatre actually. And my brother Jason is ex-military and works for the Department of State. (Very government family).
Current audition song/monologue:
I think my audition song has been the same since I started! I really need to update my book, but “I Got Love” is my go-to.
“My Funny Valentine” is the song that I used for Big Fish.
Many people don’t know that I am a contortionist, and I can crush cans with my shoulder blades.
Something you're REALLY bad at:
I HATE to admit this but I am the WORST drawer in the world. Terrible. And I cannot play Pictionary.
First Broadway show you ever saw:
Um… another embarrassing fact but I saw Rent about 11 times and 2 times on Broadway. It was the first Broadway show I saw and the first job I ever got!
If you could go back in time and catch any Broadway show, what would it be?
I would love to have been able to see the original A Chorus Line. It was so innovative for its time and I just love the actors sharing their heartbreaking, raw and real stories. I feel like that type of vulnerability is what makes great art and inspires me on a daily basis.
Current show other than your own you have been recommending to friends:
I am living for Kinky Boots! I love the story, the book is awesome and it is a beautifully acted by one of the most talented casts I have seen. Billy Porter’s performance brought me to tears and Stark Sands’ voice is pure heaven. That show really moved me and made me laugh so hard.
Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
“And the World Goes ‘Round”
That song just pretty much sums it up for me… ”Sometimes you're happy, sometimes you're sad, but the world goes ‘round." Yeah that pretty much says it all.
Some favorite modern musicals:
Scottsboro Boys, Rent and The Last Five Years
Some favorite classic musicals:
My Fair Lady, Porgy & Bess
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with:
Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis and Richard Pryor
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead:
Billie Holiday - I love the hurt in her voice. Edith Piaf - she is vocal powerhouse. Donna Summer - those pipes didn’t quit and her voice was sexy. The Goddess Whitney Houston… there are so many!!!
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget:
Scottsboro Boys… unbelievably gorgeous, touching and REAL! I wish more people had gotten to experience it.
Music that makes you cry, any genre:
Anything sung by Gina Milo, if you don’t know who that is, look her up.
MAC or PC?
Most played song on your iPod:
Right now it’s anything by Quadron – a really rad Danish band. That or the playlist of songs I am preparing for my 54 Below show.
NPR and Facebook. That and randomly Googling anything and everything.
I am the WORST Tweeter, I am seriously the WORST. But I guess I gotta say the mundane and simple life tweets of @KevinTCurtis.
Last book you read:
“Gone Girl”… damn good.
Must-see TV show(s):
“Orange is the New Black”
“Game of Thrones”
“I Love Lucy”
Last good movie you saw:
"The Butler" and "Blue Jasmine" (both in the same day)
Some films you consider classics:
"Breakfast at Tiffany’s"
"Life Is Beautiful"
"The Color Purple"
I am a movie fanatic.
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Pop culture guilty pleasure:
I check Dlisted.com most days, and when I want to turn off, you may find me watching a "Housewives of…" (anything but Jersey and the O.C)
Three favorite cities:
Copenhagen, Denmark Tulum, Mexico
Um…soccer or basketball can hold my attention longer than 10 minutes. But I must say I after spending some time in Chicago, I definitely became a Blackhawks fan!
First CD/Tape/LP you owned:
Rage Against The Machine (don’t ask)
First stage kiss:
I was Cinderella in my middle-school musical and I had to kiss this boy and it was so embarrassing and kids teased us so much. It was the quickest kiss of my life.
What are some of your most memorable roles as a kid or teenager and how old were you?
I loved playing Cinderella. It was definitely a dream. We had a very competitive drama program so around 200 kids auditioned to be in it. I was so honored.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
I was probably under the age of 10. I was singing professionally for the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Children of the Gospel Choir and once I figured out that what I was doing, having all this fun, could be a real job in the real world, it was pretty much a done deal.
How you got your Equity card:
Mamma Mia!ThanksMamma Mia!
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where)
A soup from Westerly
Favorite liquid refreshment:
Scotch on the rocks
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
Most vocally challenging role you have ever played:
Ornella in Leap Of Faith. I had to hit a high C and sit on Fs for a long time. It was tough but an amazing challenge. It really made me grow and build my stamina. I believed I could do it because Alan Menken told me I could.
What drew you to Big Fish?
After seeing Scottsboro Boys, I just wanted to work with Susan Stroman. I think she is a visionary with an amazing eye for heart and story, and those are the types of projects I want to attach myself with.
What has been the biggest challenge about this project?
This is a very big show! I mean, it has a little bit of everything, so having the hundreds of costumes, the lightening fast changes, it can be tricky. But on a more personal level, this role is very different from anything I have ever played before. It’s a wonderful challenge to play against what you are used to and try something else, sometimes that is scary but you can learn a lot.
Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project:
Working with this MEGA team of talent! From the whirling, enrapturing tunes of Andrew Lippa, to the touching and refreshing book by John August or being lead by the fearless and still kind Susan Stroman. Then there is the exceptional cast and really loving coming to work every day.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
Oh god! I once said pretty much every word wrong in a song from the show Falling For Eve. It was kind of coherent kind of gibberish… eh, it happens! I'm still sorry for that.
Worst costume ever:
Um, the nude scene in Hair… wait, never mind, that was the best costume I have ever worn.
Worst job you ever had:
Throwing children’s birthday parties.
Craziest audition story:
When I auditioned for Mimi in Rent, I decided to really act it out because I had seen the show a million times so I knew it pretty well. I sang and danced "Out Tonight” all over the room at Telsey.
I was on the floor, on their desk, crawling, purring and completely out of breath at the end from kicking my face as if kicking down the stairs in true Mimi fashion. I thought I was FIERCE! My agent called me and told me that my audition was crazy but they liked me anyway and I got hired.
If you could trade roles with anyone in the cast for a week, who would it be?
Norbert! I mean who wouldn’t?? And probably after a week I would want to give it right back because that role is a beast!
Leading lady role you've been dying to play:
I am really in the mode of creating new stuff. It is the reason I perform and love this job. It is hard to fill someone else’s shoes and I rather just create a new roles and new moments.
Something about you that surprises people:
I have a serious fear of balloons.
Something you are incredibly proud of:
I have written an 83,000 word novel that is called “A Girl's Guide to Dealing with the Devil,” and I have started writing a new novel.
Something you're embarrassed to admit:
I have a 54 Below show Oct. 13 at 7 PM and I want you all to come!!! Bobby Steggert and I will be doing a duet and I will be performing lots of pop and some of my originals! (That is an embarrassingly shameless plug)
Career you would want if not a performer:
Philanthropist and wildlife documentarian
Three things you can't live without:
Lip gloss, love and laughter
"I'll never understand why…"
… people hurt other people.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Travel, love big and hard, be messy but don’t lose yourself. This business is going to be tough. Some days you will be on top of the world and some days you will feel like crap but sustain your sanity by loving yourself, treating yourself right and being honest with yourself. Find the balance. Find the joy in the everyday. Think of an audition as a chance to do what you love, performing. And remember, there is a very big world out there.