BWW Spotlight Series: Writer/Producer/Actor Mykell Barlow
With the current theatre world on hiatus, I have created a Spotlight Series on Broadway World Los Angeles which features interviews with some of the many talented artists who make our theatre community so exciting and vibrant thanks to their ongoing contribution to keeping the Arts alive in the City of the Angels. And like so many right now, I wanted to find out how they are dealing with the abrupt end of productions in which they were involved.
This Spotlight shines on writer/producer and actor Mykell Barlow, who I first saw onstage in the Los Angeles premiere of "Dessa Rose" at the Chromolume Theatre. His next big production is his wedding planned for 6/13/2020, which he hopes can go on as planned.
Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?
Mykell Barlow (Mykell): I have been obsessed with the theatre since I was 9 when my aunt wrote a Christmas play and we performed it in my Grandmother's living room. When I got to high school, I threw myself into performing with drama club, marching band, choir...you name it and I was doing it. Even my English presentations always had lots of dramatic flair.
In my first semi-professional theatre production, I played a tap dancing thug in "42nd Street"." I eventually scored one of my dream leading roles as Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." This led to a series of events that brought me to Los Angeles where I threw myself into the Hollywood Fringe Festival scene. I did a few shows including "We are One" by Christian Jaeger.
Since I've been in LA, I have been lucky enough to play a lead role in the Los Angeles premiere of "Dessa Rose" at the Chromolume Theatre and understudy in DreamGirls at Cupcake Theatre.
(SB): I am sharing my Broadway World review of "Dessa Rose' which is the first time I saw Mykell onstage! The outstanding ensemble cast made this musical a favorite of mine in 2018. /los-angeles/article/Review-DESSA-ROSE-Musical-Performed-to-Perfection-Saluting-Black-History-Month-at-Chromolume-Theatre-20180219
(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?
(Mykell): I was helping a friend get their first Hollywood Fringe Festival Show up and running. I have also been involved in helping another friend develop a stage musical to pitch to investors. Thankfully we were able to do a few showcases for them before the shutdown came. The biggest production I have been gearing up for is my wedding to my fiancé Justin Patten which is scheduled for June 13th in Downtown LA.
(SB): Congratulations! No doubt it will also be a very dramatic event for the two of you and those lucky enough to attend, which I hope can happen as planned. With the Hollywood Fringe Festival postponed until October 2020, are plans in place to present that production at that time?
(Mykell): Since the Fringe Festival has been postponed until October, I am not sure if the show will continue involvement with everyone involved possibly having other commitments in place at that time. We just have to wait and see. In regards to my wedding, Justin and and I are hopeful that we won't need to push our wedding date, especially since there are a lot of moving parts with a production like this. So of course, we are keeping an eye on things and will make adjustments accordingly. My hope is that it will go ahead as planned and be a great celebration for everyone itching to get out and party after an extended time stuck inside.(SB): Have any other future productions on your schedule been affected by the shutdown?
(Mykell): I recently joined Actors Equity and have been excited to audition for some equity shows. Now they have all be postponed, so I guess I will continue honing my audition skills during this time while I stuck at home.
(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?
(Mykell): I have been digging through my video archives and posting clips from past shows on my twitter and instagram (@officialmykell) which has been a fun trip down memory lane and a great way to reconnect with old castmates. I have also been writing online articles for AfterBuzz TV to help maintain a constant flow of entertainment content.
To all my fellow members of the L.A. Theatre Community: I know this time of uncertainty can be unnerving but don't stop creating. Never stop creating. Write, sing, dance, put on a costume and perform a one man show - and record it for the world to see. During moments like this, we need the light that only the Arts can provide. And for all our sakes, please stay inside!
Mykell Barlow and fiancé Justin Patten
Mykell Barlow as Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"