CUE & A: Motown Tony Nominee Charl Brown on Missed Entrances, His Broadway Idols and the Kardashians | Playbill

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Seth Rudetsky CUE & A: Motown Tony Nominee Charl Brown on Missed Entrances, His Broadway Idols and the Kardashians Charl Brown, a 2013 Tony Award nominee for his performance as Smokey Robinson in Broadway's Motown, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Charl Brown
Charl Brown

Brown has previously appeared on Broadway in Jersey Boys and Sister Act.

Other stage work includes Walmartopia; Hair (Hud); Johnny Baseball (Tim); Dreamgirls (Curtis); The Wiz (Scarecrow u/s, Ensemble); Ragtime (Coalhouse); Six Degrees of Separation (Paul); Superstar (Judas); A Chorus Line (Richie) and Star Wars in 30 Minutes (Lando).

Full given name: Charl E. Brown... I dropped the E when I joined Actors Equity because people thought I was making it up as a stage name, can you blame them? The E Stands for Eugene.
Where you were born/where you were raised: Born and raised in San Diego, California
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
What your parents did/do for a living: Both of my parents are retired educators. My mother retired as an elementary school principal. My father was a high-school teacher but he still coaches varsity football.
Something you're REALLY bad at: I'm really bad at remembering people's names!
First Broadway show you ever saw: Jelly's Last Jam
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? I would have loved to have seen the original Dreamgirls on Broadway
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Pippin, A Raisin In the Sun, After Midnight, The Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: The opening number of Ragtime still gives me chills every time! It's just so epic! The first time I heard "The Wizard and I," I cried. And "All That Jazz" just does something to my spirit, and body! And who doesn't love Jennifer Holiday's "And I Am Telling You..."
Some favorite modern musicals: In The Heights, Legally Blonde, Jersey Boys, Hairspray, Grey Gardens, Avenue Q, Wicked, The Book of Mormon
Some favorite classic musicals: Dreamgirls, Into The Woods, Pippin, Chicago, Ragtime, Singin' in the Rain, Crazy For You
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: I really am sad I missed my chance to perform with Gregory Hines, he was my original Broadway idol. Hopefully I'll get the chance someday with my current Broadway idol Brian Stokes Mitchell!
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: The 2013 Tony Awards
Music that makes you cry, any genre: "I Wish I Could Go Back to College" from Avenue Q made me cry for many years.
Most played song on your iPod: "Partition" by Beyonce
Last book you read: "The Buddha of Suburbia"
Must-see TV show(s): Well I have to start every day with "The View" or "Wendy Williams." Also I love "Orange Is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Modern Family"... and I hate to admit it but...The Real Housewives....of everywhere!
Last good movie you saw: "Blue Jasmine"
Some films you consider classics: "The Color Purple," "Steel Magnolias," "Coming To America," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," "Chicago," "Life Is Beautiful," "American Beauty," "Harlem Nights," "School Daze," "Cabaret," "The Wiz," "A Chorus Line"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Beyonce!
Pop culture guilty pleasure: The Kardashians... sorry.
Three favorite cities: New York, Berlin, Amsterdam
Favorite sport/team/player: I am a proud team member of the Motown Hitsville Sluggers, the reigning 2013 Broadway Softball League Champions!

Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: The Leading Player in Pippin at San Diego Junior Theater
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: Opening night of my first book musical at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (Annie)
How you got your Equity card: Although I joined the Candidacy Program for Equity when I was 15 and earned points for many years, I was actually finally given my card at TUTS in Houston in a production of Hair before I earned them all.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Vodka
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: The gym
Most challenging role you have ever played: I recently played Adam/Noah in a staged concert of Stephen Schwartz's Children of Eden at the Kennedy Center. We only had 7 days, that was a very tall order.
What sort of research did you put into playing this real-life music icon? I scoured the internet for video footage and recordings of Smokey Robinson. I also read his autobiography "Smokey" as well as Berry Gordy's autobiography, which our show is based on.
Your personal favorite songs from the Motown era: "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "You Really Got A Hold On Me," "Love Child," "Cloud Nine," "Tears of a Clown"
Biggest challenge about this current project: FIVE-SHOW WEEKENDS!
Most fulfilling or fun aspect about the project: Being a official part of the Motown Legacy!! And Smokey Robinson calling me "Me" whenever he sees me!
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: When I was an understudy in Sister Act and I was on as "Sweaty Eddie" and I completely missed an entrance. The lovely 3-time Tony nominee Carolee Carmello had to cover for me.
Craziest audition story: Being asked to roll on the floor from the back of the audition room towards the creative team's table while reciting one of the songs as a monologue... and actually doing that!
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be? I think it would be fun to trade places with Josh Tower, who plays Berry Gordy, for a week!
Leading man role you've been dying to play: Well I have played Coalhouse Walker Jr. in regional theater before but I'm dying to do that role on Broadway. One I have never played that I still have a personal thing for is "Bobby" in Crazy For You. (I didn't get the part in high school and I've never let it go!)
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Deena Jones! Lol
Something about you that surprises people: I'm not bi-racial or Latino. It tends to surprise people when they approach me in the subway and start speaking rapid fluent Spanish and I have no idea what they are saying.
Something you are incredibly proud of: Being a freakin' TONY NOMINEE
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I really wanted that Tony.
Career you would want if not a performer: World Travel blogger
Three things you can't live without: My cup of green tea, "The View" in the morning and a good gym
"I'll never understand why…" … the original Ragtime is not still running on Broadway.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: First of all, set goals and don't give up until they are realized. Also just be a nice person and treat everyone you work with with respect, whether you like them or not or if they are talented or qualified for their jobs or not. You never know where your next gig might come from and who could help or stop you from getting that job. I've seen it go both ways.

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