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BWW Blog: Share the Spotlight - Brendan Lynch (CU Boulder '20)

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'Share the Spotlight' will feature current University of Colorado Boulder theatre students and recent grads - first up is Brendan Lynch!

Congrats on graduating from CU! What is your degree in?

I am a dual degree with a BFA in Musical Theatre and a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Alright, give me the laundry list of productions you've done at CU. Brag a little!

The laundry list is a bit long, but I am happy to go for it. I have been in nine productions with the Department of Theatre and Dance, one production in the Eklund Opera Program, and a workshop performance. My freshman year I auditioned for the season before my first day of classes and started rehearsals for 44 Plays for 44 Presidents my first day of college. This mainstage production was a great experience and opened the world of possibilities of theatre. My next production was a workshop and world premiere of Killer Wigs from Outer Space. It was there I had my first lead at CU, and my first collaboration with David Nehls, who wrote the piece. It was amazing being the only freshman in the production collaborating with established veterans in the department. My second mainstage production was playing Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show. Then came my sophomore year with Eurydice, The Adding Machine, and Hair, where I played supporting roles and developed my acting chops. I also played Tobias Rag in Sweeney Todd, where I had the pleasure of working with opera graduate students on a beautiful production of Stephen Sondheim's work. My last two years I had the pleasure of all musicals: Gabe in Next to Normal, the Baker in Into the Woods, Bob Cratchit in Broadway Christmas Carol, and Moritz Stiefel in Spring Awakening.

What has been your most challenging role in college?

Two roles have challenged me more than any others, Moritz in Spring Awakening and Gabe in Next to Normal. Moritz was a character whose complexities and honesty were often intangible to me when I tried hardest to access them and came easier when I didn't try. So much of his personality is centered around base needs, in wanting love, compassion, and to feel accepted. Finding this alongside our highly stylized process in order to access the inner truths of the character and bring them out proved an extensive but rewarding process. Gabe was another beast entirely. Without spoiling the plot of the musical, the character serves as a metaphor for our mental state. The ability for the character to shift between being pleasant and being malevolent was difficult, especially to form an honest and engaging character when often the actions the character takes represents both the darkness and light of being human. Finding this while introducing dance into a show that doesn't traditionally have that element accessed pieces of the character that were entirely non-existent in the original production and encouraged me to form a character that is entirely my own.

BWW Blog: Share the Spotlight - Brendan Lynch (CU Boulder '20)
Photo Credit: Brendan Lynch

What's a class you took that surprised you?

Musical Theatre repertory was taught by Marla Shulz, a choreographer who I worked with closely on five different shows. She helped to form my understanding of what movement in theatre and musical theatre could be. Traditionally, I would say a musical theatre class would traditionally be about technique and mechanics. This class deviated from that in order to teach us that theatre is about recognizing the limitations we put on ourselves and our performances and exploring what would happen if we took those limitations off. For example, we often think that the movements we do are what induce storytelling, but in this class she had us randomly perform movements, and still communicate the story with nonsensical words and non-intentional actions. This class taught me it is about the nuance of how you perform actions and say words. That is what is base human nature and communicates to the deepest part of our soul, the rest produces logic and is based upon how culture has shaped us.

We all have that guilty pleasure soundtrack. What's yours?

Oh no, must I say. Well, despite it being one of the biggest Broadway flops ever, I love the musical Wonderland.

Engineering and theatre is such a unique combination. How did you balance the two?

I always thought about each as a break from the other. The main frustration of engineering is that everything always has an answer, and you continually search for everything to be more correct, and in theatre nothing is ever correct, and the search for perfection is unattainable and unmeasurable. When I need a break from one challenge, I get the freedom of pursuing the other.

BWW Blog: Share the Spotlight - Brendan Lynch (CU Boulder '20)
Photo Credit: Brendan Lynch

Who has been someone you've loved acting alongside? What do you admire about them?

Rita Disibio is one of my favorite actors to be onstage with. I have had the pleasure of being in five different shows with them, and there is never a moment that enough is enough. While some actors reach a point where the work is complete, Rita would always find one new thing to look at and challenge me to never settle because there was always more nuance. They found meaning in connection, in listening, and always involved the other onstage by engaging and being present, and it was an honor to act with them.

We are entering a weird world right now, but any post-grad plans?

Indeed, right now I am planning on moving out to Los Angeles and pursuing a job with Medtronic in Software Engineering. As far as acting goes, I was originally pursuing the field in Los Angeles, but with the world being as strange as it is, I am hoping to focus on my own artistic formation and finding my voice and style by experimenting with the voice, dance, acting, and learning guitar.

Dream role?

I only can dream of playing George in Sunday in the Park with George.

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