BWW Interview: Catching Up With Stephen Brower, One Of the Stars Of ANASTASIA On Tour
Stephen Brower made his Broadway debut in the Broadway company of Anastasia. Beginning as a vacation cover, he soon joined the ensemble as a "Dmitry" understudy and had the opportunity to go on in the role several times. Now he's back out on the road with Anastasia and has stepped into the role of the young con man full-time.
Anastasia marks Brower's third national tour since graduating in 2015 from Texas State University. Previously, Brower has appeared on the national tours of Pippin and An American in Paris. The Tulsa native has also been seen at Ogunquit Playhouse, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, and The MUNY.
BroadwayWorld caught up with Brower at the show's San Antonio stop to get his thoughts on taking on the lead role full-time and taking Anastasia to audiences around the country. See the interview below!
You've had a lot of success right out of university. Tell us a little bit about how you got started and first got involved in performing.
I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and we had a little neighborhood community theater. It put on theater summer camps for kids and one year my brother did it as a way to get out of the house. All I remember was being eight and sitting in a theater fluorescently lit in a tiny Little Room with folding chairs and a bare black stage and thinking, "This is absolutely magical. I'm doing this." I kept doing that as a kid and started doing high school musicals, taking voice lessons and dance lessons.
Then you went to your rival state and went to Texas State University? What's up with that?
I know. All my family's from Texas. Both my dad and my mom are from Texas. The program was incredible. I mean Kaitlin Hopkins has a huge draw. I got to go down there for the auditions and I fell in love with the program. I was lucky enough to get in.
Now, you've been involved with a lot of great shows but when you were in high school and at Texas State, what were some shows you loved doing?
When I was in high school. I did RAGTIME. Don't ask me how a high school put on RAGTIME. I loved it and the score, I'd never heard a score like that. I didn't know that musicals could touch on material like that. That was a really impactful experience. And now I'm so lucky to do another Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, score and now a book. In college, I got to do ANGELS IN AMERICA. That was probably my most impactful experience there. ANYTHING GOES was pure fun. A couple other shows here and there. Readings and workshops which was always neat. They always bring in guest artists. I felt like I got a wide range of opportunities.
Then you were off to New York You barely graduated and you booked shows. Tell us about that.
I had always been on a fast track. I graduated in three years. I really knew that I wanted to be in New York and wanted to be auditioning and working. I hit the ground running and went in for everything that I could. PIPPIN worked out. That was pretty quick after I moved to New York. I had to finish furnishing my room so I could sublet it. That was a great experience for eight months and then because I was a swing in that show, I went back and forth to New York a couple of times when we were on the east coast and I auditioned for other things. I was lucky to book my next show, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS before I closed PIPPIN. It was a nice back to back experience.
Then you went onto Anastasia. How did you get involved with the Broadway show?
I first auditioned for Anastasia when it was in its developmental stages many years ago. I had a friend who was an associate choreograph and I got into a dance call and was cut that first round. Three years later, they'd already been open for a bit and due to some injury leaves and some vacations, they needed someone to come in last minute for a three week period to cover somebody's vacation. I needed to be backstage in case the worst happened, I had to get thrown on last minute. That was a great opportunity. I showed up and worked hard. Pretty quickly a spot opened up in the ensemble which they offered me. That was a temporary couple of months situation again. He covered Dmitry so I got familiar with the show and it was my Broadway debut. It was the cooled thing ever. By the time that the tour auditions came about, I knew the role really well. So, it just worked out timing wise perfectly that I could go into the room, have some fresh ideas about the role. I was lucky enough that they trusted me with this to lead out the tour.
What do you see as differences between being on Broadway and being on tour?
On tour, you have more of a family environment because you have to spend so much time together. People had always told me that Broadway was a certain way but I didn't realize it until I was just going to work every day that this is people's day jobs. They show up, clock in, do their thing and then clock out and go home. The Broadway Cast was wonderful and welcoming. They were all old pros who had been doing this for a long time. There wasn't the same sort of forced comradery as on tour. It ends up being beautiful. It's like a college environment where you're all kind of going through highs and lows together. That's been really nice to come back to that after a year or so away.
If you had not gotten into show business, what do you think you would have done?
That's a tough one because it's been such a part of me ever since I was little. I think that I would have found my way in some artistic profession. I always gravitated towards those teachers at school. I always felt more at home around artsy people and creative people. But, I also really like chemistry in high school so I guess I would pursue that.
Don't miss out on a chance to see Stephen Brower as he performs with the rest of the cast at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas from February 5-10, 2019. Get your tickets here: MajesticEmpire.com.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew Murphy