BWW Interviews: Brian Justin Crum Discusses WE WILL ROCK YOU, His Career in Advance of Washington, DC Tour Stop
Next week, Washington, DC's Warner Theatre will play host to the current national tour of the popular, audience-friendly musical We Will Rock You, directed by Ben Elton who also penned the book. We Will Rock You, which features more than 20 of the rock band Queen's greatest hits, has enjoyed a twelve year run in London's West End and has spawned an array of other productions, including national tours, throughout the world. It's an indeed an audience favorite for anyone looking for a fun night out.
In advance of the upcoming tour stop in Washington, DC - playing from June 3-8, 2014 - cast member Brian Justin Crum (Galileo) answered a few questions via email for BroadwayWorld.Com about the show, his experience with it, and his musical theatre career more generally. Crum has been seen on Broadway and on tour in audience favorites like Wicked and Grease, and also understudied the roles of Gabe/Henry as the award-winning and critically acclaimed Next to Normal on Broadway. Other credits include the national tour of The Addams Family (Kennedy Center audiences might remember him as Lucas Beineke, Wednesday's love interest), as well as the original Chicago cast of Altar Boyz, for which he earned a Jeff Award nomination (the Jeff Awards are the equivalent to DC's Helen Hayes Awards).
Although Baltimore has hosted We Will Rock You, the upcoming tour will be the first production in DC. Tickets can be purchased via the Warner Theatre website: http://warnertheatredc.com/event-calendar. It should prove to be a fun time for local audiences, particularly with Mr. Crum's high powered vocals being featured in a leading role.
Jennifer Perry (JP): What should audiences expect from We Will Rock You and your performance in particular?
Brian Justin Crum (BJC): A good time! We Will Rock You does just that! I like to think of this show as a party, a party where you get kicked in the face by awesomeness! Great voices singing great songs! What more could you ask for?
JP: What's the most challenging thing about being on tour with the show, and why?
BJC: Touring with any show can be difficult. Being away from home, family, and loved ones... This show is particularly hard because it's a beast. It's a vocal marathon for me. I need to take very good care of myself to do it every night. It's a challenge I welcome fully!
JP: What's your favorite part of performing the role of Galileo and why?
BJC: I get to be a rock star every night. I love that this sensitive outcast gets to take a journey of self discovery and come out on top.
JP: Your career to date has included performances on Broadway in popular shows like "Wicked," but also critically-acclaimed and award-winning ones like "Next to Normal." Both are obviously very different from one another, but how would you define those experiences, what part of those experiences proved most memorable, and how have they shaped your current endeavors?
BJC: Wicked was my first job. I was barely eighteen and had never been away from home. I had idea what I was doing. It allowed me to learn from the best in the business. I felt like a sponge, soaking up all the information from coworkers. I worked quite a bit between Wicked and Next to Normal. It [Next to Normal] was the first time I allowed myself to be vulnerable on stage. I felt so naked. I was twenty two and sharing the stage with Broadway royalty. It was an honor to go work everyday, I'm still so thankful for that job, what it taught me, and what it provided for me on a personal level. It was life changing.
JP: How did you get into musical theatre and is it what you always wanted to do?
BJC: I have the best mother in the world. She was a single mom raising 3 kids. She worked thirteen hour days and needed an after school activity for me and my sisters. I joined a theatre group when I was seven called Christian Youth Theatre (CYT). I spent my entire youth there. When I was seventeen, I began driving to LA for bigger auditions. That's when I met Craig Burns [Casting Director and Partner at Manhattan office of Telsey + Company). I've always felt like he was the first person to take notice of me and I really owe him so much for giving me a shot and casting some kid. Thanks Craig!
JP: What are some roles you'd like to play in the future?
BJC: Effie White in Dreamgirls for sure... But, really, I'd love to take on some meaty roles. Explore work in plays...something new and exciting. I'm very much looking forward to the future!