Five Burning Questions with Chicago Headliner, Brandy Norwood
August 18th, 2017
by Josh Ferri
Tell your friends, set up a reminder, call your family—get a group together and get yourself to Broadway's Ambassador Theatre to see Brandy Norwood (possibly the greatest Roxie Hart you'll see) in Chicago. You only have until August 31 to see her, and you'd be bigger fool than Fred Casely to miss it.
BroadwayBox caught up with the Grammy-winning stage and screen star (who is dying to play Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, so someone get on that!) to talk about returning to Broadway, fame vs success, and the bio-pic she'd like to star in.
1. You've played Roxie here on Broadway, in LA, in DC. Do you have a pre-show ritual for Chicago? Do you like to listen to anything as you get into Roxie’s headspace?
There is this soundtrack that I listen to called The Theory of Everything, and it is amazing. It’s no lyrics, just beautiful classical music. It helps me calm. I have low-key stage fright so I try to get into my zone that way. Then I write a lot in my journal.
2. What surprised you most about your first run in Chicago on Broadway?
That I could do it. I didn’t know. When I was rehearsing, I wasn’t with the cast (because the show is going so they can’t stop it to rehearse), so I was working alone and I didn’t really know how I was going to fit in. Then, when I did the put-in rehearsal, I was like, “This feels like home. This feels natural. I’m supposed to be here.” I’m just so thankful to be back.
3. What’s an illusion or myth about fame that you can debunk right now?
That it’s real. Fame is not real. Success is real. Fame can kill you. Fame is arrogance. Fame is needing people to validate you and that’s not good. If you are a vessel, you are a vessel, and you are not supposed to get caught up in fame. You should be in service and be an example and an inspiration. It’s not about, “Do you know me? Do you recognize me?” Fame can kill people—it’s killed a lot of our great legends—but it’s not going to kill me, at all.
4. Clearly, I love you, and I love Jenifer Lewis, and when you two come together, I’m dead. Is there a dream project you two want to do together?
I would love to do anything with her—that’s one of my best friends. She is a godmother to me. I would love to play Jenifer Lewis. She’s told me, “You! You are Jenifer Lewis. You are going to play Jenifer Lewis. You got the part.” So we’ll see.
5. Is there a time in your career you wish you said yes when you had said no?
No. There’s not a time in my career. I have no regrets. I would be afraid to have a regret because I wouldn’t be sitting right here if I changed anything. Everything is connected and has led me to this point. Then, for me as a person, I’m proud of the person that I’ve become, and I don’t want to change and become arrogant or unappreciative. I want to be humble and thankful and grateful forever. When I was younger, I didn’t feel thankful or grateful for things and now I do, so I don’t want to change any of that. I’d rather be grateful than successful.
Don't miss your chance to see Brandy as Roxie in 'Chicago' at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre through August 31.