Ladies and Gents, if you recall from my review of She Loves Me, I was truly impressed by leading man, Brandon Lloyd, who did a great job putting his own stamp on the role of Georg. So when I had the chance to sit down with Brandon and pick his brain about the show and his journey to creating Georg for the Panic! Productions' She Loves Me, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. So grab a cuppa and a pastry and let's take a peek into how Brandon came to be enjoying his second weekend at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts.
She Loves Me is Brandon's first musical theatre production and what a marvelous experience! Growing up, Brandon was an over-achiever playing sports, studying music (at the encouragement of the vice principal of his high school!), and studying music with a premed emphasis for his undergraduate studies. He ended up getting his masters in Vocal Arts (Opera) with a fascination to better understand and master vocal techniques and efficiency. His goal as a singer/performer is versatility and the ability to thrive where musical efficiency can co-exist with an instinctive performance. The desire to appreciate the similarities between musical styles from opera to musical theatre is evident as Brandon speaks passionately about his love for music, authenticity and quality over quantity.
He is currently a full-time member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, a member of the Los Robles Master Chorale and building his own music studio in the area. Teaching, he says, is one of the most intimate experiences and he hopes to teach young men to be self-reliant singers. In fact, it was as a member of the Los Robles Master Chorale that he first met Becca Peyton (Amalia) while touring Ireland.
When a friend recommended Brandon audition for She Loves Me, the timing was perfect and Brandon could not be happier about the material and cast/crew. With Jerry Bock's gorgeous melodies that Brandon equated as "pre-Sondheim" there is no middle ground. You can either be fantastic or fall flat and Brandon loves how She Loves Me is such an ensemble piece where everyone (and I completely agree) was perfectly cast. He especially couldn't speak highly enough about his director, Miriam Durrie-Kirsch, who he called "Brilliant!" and who was always in the moment and led by example.
Four years ago Brandon would say he was very much like Georg - the hopeless romantic, eager to please and whose identity was his job. He credits an experience in his mid-20s that helped him learn true humanity and which inspired feeling. Now he doesn't hide anymore and is rather a hopeful romantic. Similarly, he argues that the Georg you see at the end of the show is a man who has come out stronger and learned from his experiences in the show. I love how Brandon put it -- in the musical, Amalia (delightfully played by Becca Peyton) is like a "fibrillator" for Georg.
When asked what Brandon finds most attractive in the opposite sex - he said that there is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is self-actualized. I asked him if he would personally be attracted to an Amalia - he claims that he has been before, yes, and that given the time-period she was living in, that she was a self-actualized woman in her own way.
So how does Brandon try to keep the romance alive in this modern age where letter writing is scarce and online dating is a "necessary evil"? By not forcing it and by being a hopeful (versus hopeless) romantic. Unfortunately, as Brandon said, we live in a day and age when people are turned on by manipulation and thrive on and feed off of negativity. By trying to out manipulate each other, we don't take time to appreciate the mundane such as letter writing.
I hope you have been as entertained and enlightened from this inside chat with leading man Brandon. A big thank you to Brandon for his time and willingness to sit down with me and best wishes.
Some Fun Facts:
Dream Musical Theatre Role: Harold Hill from The Music Man
Dream Opera Role: Nemorino from L'elisir d'amore (Elixer of Love)
Favorite Song from She Loves Me: Where's My Shoe?
Maraaczek: Every performance with Paul Panico (Maraczek) is different so the two actors
Favorite Ice Cream: Salt & Straw (240 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004)
Alma Mater: University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music
Undergrad Major: Music with a PreMed emphasis
If you haven't already bought your tickets, take advantage of tonight's discount: Use the promo code ROSE for Side Section seats ($20 adults/$17.50 seniors and students)! I would personally recommend Rows F-H. For tickets and more information: click here.
Dates: through 27th of September (8pm evening performances on Fridays and Saturdays and 2pm matinees on Sundays)
Tickets: online or box office
Seating Recommendations: (1) Rows A-E; center stage or (2) Row G, seats 7-12.
Parking: Free; well lit parking lot (come early to see the beautiful view from the parking lot!)
Concessions: Available for purchase during the 15 minute intermission