Next to Normal: To the Patron in Seat AA5

To the patron in Seat AA5:

Thank you for being a part of my performance each night. Without knowing it, your presence has been part of one of my favorite moments in Next to Normal. Let me explain:

During “Make Up Your Mind/Catch Me I’m Falling,” Kristin Parker (Natalie) and I enter on the upstage platforms, singing background vocals. From this moment until we begin our backstage concert scene, we are staged to look directly forward. And directly in front of me is a seat in the first mezzanine of the auditorium: Seat AA5. 

Allow me to share with you a brief history of me as a performer. Although I grew up acting, the experience that made me want to pursue it professionally was when I was in the ensemble of Pippin. It taught me that I love being part of a theatrical family. It taught me that I love shows with darkness about them. But most of all, it taught me that I love singing and dancing with other talented people.

For me, there is something very visceral about ensemble singing and dancing. I get a strong sense of fulfillment from creating stage pictures: matching my body to others in time to create a story. The same goes for choral singing: I love the physical feeling of singing in harmony with others. For me, there’s nothing else more exciting.

I made my Broadway debut last year in The Addams Family, performing in the ensemble and covering one of the lead roles. While I loved the thrill of performing a principal on Broadway, I felt more fulfilled when performing my ensemble track. I loved singing that big, choral music and performing that creepy, kooky choreography every night.

I’ve never dreamed of being a star; my dreams are about being part of a team of incredible performers. My bucket list of shows I want to do includes Godspell and Parade: shows with big scores, filled with thrilling ensemble music.

I share this with you to impart that my favorite moments in Next to Normal are not my solos, but the group numbers. Singing the lush harmonies in the finale “Light” fills me with a joy that no words can fully describe. I get a kick out of matching vowel sounds and dynamics with Jonathan Rayson (Dan) during “A Promise.” And I love the warm, full sound the cast creates in “Make Up Your Mind/Catch Me I’m Falling.”

During this song, as I stare at Seat AA5, I allow myself to step out of the character of Henry for a moment. Focusing on this person sitting directly in front of me, I project all of the gratitude I can towards them: gratitude that I get to sing this amazing score, gratitude that I get to make my living as an actor, gratitude towards this audience member for attending our show and being part of the performance that night.

Maybe you’ve sat in Seat AA5. Maybe you’ve noticed me staring at you during this song and smiling. Maybe you didn’t think anything of it. But I want to tell you that I noticed you, and I thank you for being a part of our show.

Mo Brady is originally from Seattle and made his Broadway debut in The Addams Family. He performed in the world premiere of Catch Me If You Can at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, as well as in six additional original productions at the theater. His performances inSeven Brides For Seven Brothers and Hello, Dolly! there won him a “Best of Seattle” Award from Seattle Weekly magazine. He has worked on many developmental productions and world premieres, including Villains Tonight! with Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen for Walt Disney Entertainment, Robin Hood with Martin Charnin and Snapshots with Stephen Schwartz, both at Village Theatre in Seattle. This fall, Mo performed in workshops of two Broadway-bound musicals: The Rhythm Club, directed by Casey Nicolaw, and The Honeymooners, directed by Jerry Mitchell. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Whitman College. Read more at www.mobrady.net. Follow @mo_brady on Twitter.

One thought on “Next to Normal: To the Patron in Seat AA5

  1. Mo,
    Your words touched me. I am an inveterate theatre-goer who also loves to sing and dance (both poorly!) and feels (vicariously) the joy that I imagine you experience on stage. I’ve always assumed that the 4th wall was impenetrable and the audience invisible to performers so it delights me to know that you make a visual connection with someone in the house.
    I’ll be in Little Rock to see N2N before long….perhaps in seat AA5!!

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