Sunday, March 30, 2014

A few words from the "General Manager"

Drew Brhel
Drew Brhel returns to the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre stage in LEND ME A TENOR. After making his MCT debut in 1986, his recent appearances include MAURITIUS, CRIME & PUNISHMENT and HAY FEVER. 

Tell us a bit about your character, Saunders:

Henry Saunders is the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary Season. As a fundraiser, Saunders has arranged to have the world famous tenor, Tito Merelli, give a single performance as Otello. But as the play begins, Merelli is running very late, so Henry is (understandably) a bit on edge.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of performing in a farce/comedy?

I've done a fair number of comedies in my career, but this is my first slamming-door farce, and I'm having a blast. As is often the case, the challenges are the benefits: this kind of play (as opposed to, say, a kitchen sink drama) requires pinpoint accuracy and split-second timing, which I find very appealing. Also, I get to run around and shout a lot, which helps me get my demons out, as it were.

Anything fun you'd like to share with readers about LEND ME A TENOR, rehearsals, etc.

Well, I don't know how "fun" it is, but I will say this: The range of experience of the people in this cast is very broad, from old duffers like me to folks who are still in college. But everyone is working at a terrifically high level in this production. It's really great, and I'm proud as hell to be a part of it.

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?
Drew in MAURITIUS (2011)
Photo by Mark Frohna


I hesitate to answer this, because if I talk about something I did, then I feel like an egotist, and if I talk about something somebody else did, I have to leave out all the other people who I've been lucky enough to work with over the years. Let's put it this way: aside from my daughter - who's name, by the way, happens to be Maggie, just like in the play - nothing has had nearly as much influence on me as my life in the theatre. And I have to say, that's both good and bad!

What do you like about being a theatre artist in Milwaukee?

I love it here. There's a tremendous amount of theatre happening here, and practically no feeling of cutthroat competition. The frequency with which companies seem to spring up, in basements and old warehouses, putting on plays with shoelaces and scotch tape, is truly inspiring.

Don't miss Drew in LEND ME A TENOR, April 10-27!

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