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BWW Interview: Kelly Brandeburg Takes Her Hat Off for THE ROOT BEER BANDITS

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THE ROOT BEER BANDITS re-opens the Garry Marshall Theatre stage on October 2nd

BWW Interview: Kelly Brandeburg Takes Her Hat Off for THE ROOT BEER BANDITS

The shiny new and improved version of the Garry Marshall-mentored THE ROOT BEER BANDITS re-opens the Garry Marshall Theatre stage on October 2, 2021. As with any Garry Marshall production, re-vamps and rewrites are also welcomed and encouraged. Original creators Joseph Leo Bwarie and Lori Marshall (book and lyrics) and Rachael Lawrence (music) have polished the 2019 production even further for this 2021 show with more songs, more story, and more live music.
Had the chance to shoot some questions at Kelly Brandeburg, who's reprising her role as Copper Penny, on her BANDITS history and her brush with the Smithsonian.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Kelly!

You are back to reprise your 2019 role of Copper Penny in THE ROOT BEER BANDITS. Did it take you long to remember all your lines and staging?

I'm overjoyed to be asked back to reopen the Garry Marshall Theatre in this treasure of a show. Joe, Lori & Rachael gave us some great new material to work with - there are many new lines and harmonies to learn. The biggest challenge has been not saying old lines out of habit! The staging and choreography have all gotten a reshine as well - so we've been able to really build the show as something new for the 2021 production.

Will all of the 2019 cast be returning for this production?

BWW Interview: Kelly Brandeburg Takes Her Hat Off for THE ROOT BEER BANDITS Four of us are returning to Sarsaparilla City - and we have two new cast members joining us as well. Josey Montana McCoy is back to play my "partner" Zeke. He has an ability to captivate the audience with physical comedy skills that I've only seen bested in early Hollywood Movies. Cloie Wyatt Taylor is reprising her role as Sally Sue Tucker, the finest dress shop owner in town. With Cloie on stage again, I'll definitely have to bite my cheeks to keep from breaking character - she is the queen of adlibbing, and they get me every time!

The part of Sherriff Bailey will be split this go around. Clayton Snyder is back with his signature cowboy swagger, and lovable charm. Joining him in sharing the role is Travis Leland. Watching Travis & Clayton in rehearsal has been fascinating - they both have created their own different versions of the character, and both are engaging and full of heart.

Last but not least, we have a new leading lady! Tiffany Daniels has joined us as Pollyanna Peppercorn. Tiffany is an ultimate triple threat, and you can tell as soon as she steps on stage. As a castmate she is unwaveringly kind and supportive - a quality she shares with her character. Her star shines bright, and I can't wait for her to capture the audiences' hearts.

BWW Interview: Kelly Brandeburg Takes Her Hat Off for THE ROOT BEER BANDITS If you were to submit your character Copper Penny on a dating site, what qualities of hers would you list?

Fiery Red Head. Killer Pipes. Natural Born Leader. Talented storyteller and writer. A woman who knows what she wants.

What flaws would you make sure to omit?
Short Temper. Long-Winded. A bit of a Micro-manager.

What would your three-line pitch of THE ROOT BEER BANDITS be?

Two vaudevillian bandits attempt to steal all the Root Beer in Sarsaparilla City and hilarity ensues. It's up to Polly, Sally Sue and Sheriff Bailey to restore things by changing hearts, minds and inspiring us all to dream big in this good ole fashioned wild west musicale!

BWW Interview: Kelly Brandeburg Takes Her Hat Off for THE ROOT BEER BANDITS You won the 2015 BroadwayWorld San Francisco Award for Best Solo Performance for your one-woman Streisand tribute MY FAVORITE BARBRA. What made you choose to Barbra for your solo tribute?

To this day, Barbra's performance in the film Funny Girl has had the most prevalent influence on me as a performer. Her fearless choices, effortless comedy - and unfettering truthful moments throughout are the images I come back to when I'm on stage.

I knew that I wasn't alone in being so impacted by her work. Each of us can remember where were when we first heard one of her songs, or who we were with when we first saw one of her movies. I wrote a show to tribute not just MY FAVORITE BARBRA but everyone's favorite Barbra.

You were Miss San Francisco in San Francisco's looooong-running hit BEACH BLANKET BABYLON from 2015 through 2019. Was your headdress the Golden Gate Bridge?

BWW Interview: Kelly Brandeburg Takes Her Hat Off for THE ROOT BEER BANDITS YES! I wore the "Big Hat" of the San Francisco skyline in the show's finale. It lives in the Smithsonian now! I got to wear what is now considered a piece of history.

How long did it initially take you to feel comfortable moving around the stage wearing the headdress?

I'd say it took about a month to feel really comfortable. Luckily every wig, and headpiece was custom built to fit my head. Once I learned how to hold my body and move my head, it became like second nature.

What was the craziest audience response you ever witnessed at Club Fugazi?

SO many! The holiday show audiences were always the wildest. Heckling, knee-slapping, howling, 5+ minute-long standing ovations. They would go insane whenever a controversial character would appear. I can't reveal the characters and songs without getting very inappropriate. Which is one of the reasons audience reactions were so great.

Were you in BEACH BLANKET BABYLON's final show New Year's Eve 2019? Or were you in the audience? Was the evening even craziest than ever?

BWW Interview: Kelly Brandeburg Takes Her Hat Off for THE ROOT BEER BANDITS I actually left BBB in March of 2019. Just two weeks before they announced the closing. I attended one last time a week before the final performance. I sat in the "penalty" box seats reserved for cast and crew right above the stage. I cheered and sang along - soaking in every last moment of the iconic numbers & characters.

What's next in the near future for Kelly Brandeburg?

With the bulk of the pandemic behind us (hopefully), I'm looking forward to returning to New York City in early 2022. But as all actors will tell you, it's the jobs that dictate your destination... so stay tuned!

Thank you again, Kelly! I look forward to meeting your Copper Penny!

For tickets to the live performances of THE ROOT BEER BANDITS through October 31, 2021; log onto www.garrymarshalltheatre.org


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