Music with Minnesotans: Bradley Greenwald

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
February 22, 2012
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St. Paul, Minn. — I met Bradley Greenwald at an after-performance discussion at the Jungle Theater in November. He played all 30+ characters in Doug Wright's "I am My Own Wife." He was beyond superb, giving a kind of performance that was touching, funny, passionate and absolutely spot on. It was one performance I will never forget.

But the added bonus was the discussion after the show. Bradley came out all by himself and spoke to a group of Concordia College students. I was with my elderly father so we couldn't rush out with the crowds and ended up staying for the talk we weren't exactly invited to.

But what a wonderful accident!

Bradley was so down-to-earth, so real, so approachable and we all asked him tons of questions about the play, about his work, and about creating all those roles. Bradley even admitted to us something I could relate to as a former professional musician - blanking out for a moment on stage thinking about what's for dinner - and consequently having a small, but imperceptible, hiccup in the play. Even the best performers are human!

What did get me thinking about music, though, and Bradley's relationship to it was not so much about his classical career, but about his use of music as an actor - the pitch, rhythm, structure and tone - and how that affects what he presents.

It may be what makes Bradley so successful as a stage actor. His speaking voice is as lovely as his singing voice and his approach to drama is filled with an overarching musicality - though you'll hear soon his introduction to classical was not from the hallowed space of a concert hall, but rather the pop charts!

These days, Bradley is playing in Ten Thousand Things production of "As You Like It" and true to TTT's mission, in non-traditional spaces with an audience often made up of people who have never seen theatre.

Bradley tells me he is interested in performances from the Baroque when musicians improvised. Though he's not known as an improviser, he loves the freedom it can offer to live performance. Each time he's on stage, anything can happen and the quick interaction with his colleagues, responding to the audience or the day or the mood, etc can make a performance exciting and oh, so special.

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Bradley Greenwald's playlist:

Louis Clark, Hooked on Classics - Clark/Royal Philharmonic

Peter Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique" - Maazel/Vienna

Franz Biber, Sonata Jucunda - Combattimento Consort

Benjamin Britten, A Midsummer Night's Dream: Now the hungry lion roars - Britten/London

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Next week, retired engineer Ron Haglind joins me. He's studying French these days in hopes of being able to communicate on his many trips to the Continent. That led to his discovery of "Le Mozart Noire" and a really fresh playlist.

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