As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to artists to see how they are physically and creatively responding to a changed world.
The series continues with Brad Oscar, who was playing Frank Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire, the new musical based on the film of the same name, when the pandemic shuttered theatres around the world. A two-time Tony nominee for his performances in The Producers and Something Rotten!, Oscar's Broadway credits also include Big Fish, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Addams Family, Spamalot, Jekyll & Hyde, and Aspects of Love. On screen he has been seen in Madam Secretary, Submissions Only, The Good Wife, Ghost Town, and Law & Order.
What is your typical day like now?
I feel like there is no typical day, in that I’ve been in some kind of limbo since mid-March, but it does start earlier! Since I haven’t been working, I’m on my husband‘s schedule and usually in bed by 10 and up around 8, and that’s a big change from my usual show schedule. Coffee and the Times (sadly, I’ve finally gone all digital, I only get the hard copy on Sundays), and then it’s usually about what’s for dinner. I’ve never cooked so much in my life...
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
I know for me it’s been about consuming things that will provide escape, entertainment, and nourishment in some way. That’s different for everyone, and there is so much content now, I’m overwhelmed by suggestions by family and friends! That said, currently I am loving The Queen’s Gambit, a new season of Drag Race, and catching up on old seasons of The Amazing Race!
During this time of reflection and re-education regarding BIPOC artists and artistry, particularly in the theatre, what do you want people (those in power, fellow actors, audiences) to be aware of?
Our shared humanity, the acknowledgment of the obvious fact that we all have stories to share, and the realization of how we limit and deprive us all when those stories aren’t told.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation and/or the current unrest?
I’m trying to keep the big picture in mind. The day to day of it all can be so relentless and depressing, but I’m so encouraged by the vaccine and the promise of some leadership on this, at last, that I can envision our return to life in this new year. So, perspective! And, ideally, the ability to talk it out, let it out, the fear, anger, anxiety, whatever. These are not normal times, it’s okay to need help and support. I hope every one has someone in their life to provide this, but also to know that there are places to reach out to if they don’t.
How, if at all, are you keeping your creative juices flowing? Has that been helpful to you?
I have been able to do a couple of readings, benefits, and Zoomshops, if you will, so that’s something to get the juices going, and it’s so needed. There is still a major disconnect that exists working this way, but the nerves, excitement, anxiety, and passion feel the same, and I miss that. And as I mentioned, I’ve been cooking a lot, which has also been a great source of discovery and creativity, as well as fat, sugar, and cholesterol...
What organization would you recommend people learn more about or donate to during this time of change?
Well, I can never say enough about The Actors Fund, and I love the attention that they have received for their extraordinary work during this pandemic. And in this time of great political unrest and divisiveness, I think it’s important to support organizations that forward your beliefs and principles. I mean, unless you are a Nazi or something.