Tonight, our friend Bryan Terrell Clark is taking the stage as General George Washington, in the biggest show on Earth: Hamilton.
To celebrate, Janina sat down, on behalf of altFound, to ask him some general (see what we did there?) questions!
JG: A little backstory for everyone reading: Bryan and I met on The Mysteries of Laura. He was a farmer, I was a cop, there was a pig involved, and a friendship was born.
Bryan, I know you graduated from the Yale School of Drama, and shortly after, you were originating the role of Marvin Gaye in the multiple Tony Nominated “Motown: The Musical”. Drama school doesn’t necessarily get you ready for Broadway musicals…
BTC: Musicals are a marriage of artistic disciplines. I went to the Carver Center for Performing Arts and did a few musicals in high school. Yale took care of the craft of Acting for sure. We also had voice lessons and movement classes in drama school. When I graduated, I went straight to LA to focus on acting, but shortly after I got a call from Billy Porter to come and do a musical he was working on. It was life changing. He later directed me in 3 or 4 more musicals. I went to the Billy Porter School of Musicals. (laughs)
JG: Tonight marks your first night on stage of Hamilton, as General George Washington. Whutttttt. Tell us about the process of getting the gig!
BTC: The process was one of patience. I auditioned for Hamilton 7 times before I actually booked the gig. My first Broadway show was Motown, and I auditioned 6 times for the role of Marvin Gaye before securing that role. It’s a funny thing, right? It really takes persistence, faith, and a healthy sense of self worth to stay in this biz. You really have to just keep going. Hard work really does pay off.
BTC: This is the first time I’ve replaced an actor in a musical. It’s definitely like learning in a vacuum. The team at Hamilton is Amazing! They are so gracious, patient, smart and intentional. They taught me the entire show in 3 days. Then I locked myself in the room with the material and drilled like an obsessed student. We had check-ins, where the creative team would meet with me to check on my progress. I had a work through, where you rehearse the show scene by scene – you run it, get notes, and run the scene again. Then I had a “put in” which is a final dress rehearsal with the cast. They won’t let you on the stage until your ready. And today is the day! Here comes the general!
JG: What is the thing they can’t teach you in school that you can only learn on the job?
BTC: School can teach you the craft, but only life can teach you the business of acting. Learning how to endure constant rejection, how to handle highlights with humility, money management for the artist, building your brand. There are classes out there for lots of this, but experience is really the best teacher.
JG: As an artist, what is your mission statement?
BTC: For me it’s really about two major things… reconciliation and giving a voice to the voiceless.
When we create characters we allow people to see themselves. We become cultural mirrors, people are often reconciled with themselves when they are exposed to the truth of themselves. Seeing yourself in a new way through a performance can be life changing.
Reconciliation and giving a voice to the voiceless
JG: Do you identify as a geek?
BTC: Sometimes… (laughs). All my closest friends would identify me as a geek. They are too, though, so it’s fine! I think I approach most of life from an intellectual space. I love engaging in things that stimulate my mind. I guess that expresses itself in Geeky ways.
JG: What’s an item you can’t live without?
180s Bluetooth Heaphones & Ear Warmers
BTC: Right now I can\\\'t live without my 180\\\'s Bluetooth Ear Warmer Headphones. They pair with your phone so you can take phone calls and play music. They are also wonderfully warm. A must have for this New York Winter.
JG: Favorite book?
BTC: I’m reading the Master Key System by Charles F Haanel. It was written as a 24 week correspondence course in the early 1900’s. It really focuses on the power or Thought and Intention. I’m also reading Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow… Gotta get inside the life and mind of GW!
JG: Favorite visual artist?
BTC: I really love a Jackson Pollock. I can stare at those images and all that splatter for ever. It really speaks to me.
JG: Can you hook us up with tickets to your new gig? (laughs) No really… can you hook me up?
JG: I’m printing that, so everyone can witness it. (laughs)
Tell Bryan to break a leg on twitter!
For tickets to Hamilton, save up, and buy them here:
To try to win tickets, enter the Hamilton Raffle!