Brad Frenette is a name to look out for. At a young age he started acting in community theater and then transitioned to professional at the age of fifteen. Brad attended Penn State and received his Actors Equity card the summer after he graduated. In October, he sets out for a six month tour of “Hello Dolly!”.
On Tuesday we sat down to chat at Barnes and Noble on the upper east side of Manhattan. We sidetracked and talked about the brilliance of Stephen Sondheim for a while which you will not read here but I can assure you, it was a great conversation. Below is a sneak peek into the life of actor, Brad Frenette. Enjoy!
The Playbill Collector (TPC): When did you start acting?
Brad Frenette (BF): When I was younger, I would act in a sense at home. I’d fabricate stories to my family and friends. When I was around 11 years old, I started doing plays and then transitioned into professional theater in high school.
TPC: Did you always do musicals?
BF: Actually, I mostly did plays until high school. However, I sang in some show choirs. I never thought of myself as a singer.
TPC: Wow, I would have never guessed that! You have a great voice. What were you doing professionally in high school?
BF: A girl had seen me in “Beauty and the Beast” and she needed an immediate understudy for a production of “Lucky Stiff”. She asked me to understudy two roles. We did it in a bar which was amazing because I was 15 years old and got paid $50 a week. During my senior year of high school I did “Hairspray”. We rehearsed in Colorado and performed at a theater festival in Nebraska.
TPC: What brought you to college at Penn State?
BF: When I was a senior in high school I auditioned for four musical theater programs and Penn State was my first choice. The faculty was what made it on the top of my list.
TPC: I was able to see you in “Kiss Me Kate” and “Sweeney Todd”. Both great roles for you. What other shows were you in at school?
BF: She Loves Me (Head Waiter), Sunday in the Park with George (Louis), Peter Pan (Cecco), Rent (Mark), I Love You Because (Austin).
TPC: After school did you just start auditioning and how did you land your role in the “Madagascar” tour?
BF: Two days after graduation I went to West Virginia to be in “Putting it Together”. Then I went back to Penn State to do “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”. After that I went into “Sweeney Todd”. I was so busy but I had my agent tell me if there were shows he really thought I should audition for. When I needed to audition I would rent a car, drive in to New York, get in at 3am, crash on a friends floor, wake up at the crack of dawn, be seen at 10am and be back in time for “Sweeney” rehearsal. In that process I pulled an all nighter and got the “Madagascar” tour. It was crazy!
TPC: How was touring in Europe?
BF: It was amazing! At that point I would have stood in a furry costume and handed out pretzels just to be in Europe.
TPC: Was there a particular favorite place you stopped at?
BF: We rehearsed in Amsterdam and toured the UK. Bournemouth was my favorite place. It was a little beach town and we lived in condos. Every morning I would run on the beach and I took some of my favorite pictures there. There were jazz bars all around. We really lived that week!
TPC: I know you can’t talk much about your upcoming tour of “Hello Dolly!” but are there any places you are excited to go to in particular?
BF: I’m so excited to go to Detroit. So many people from my childhood will be there. When I was young I thought if I played the Fox Theater by 30 it would be great. My extended family who haven’t seen me in a show since high school plan to be there. I’m really looking forward to that!
Not only is Brad an incredibly talented guy, he is genuinely kind. For more information about Brad check out his website: http://www.bradfrenette.com/