Danielle Brooks on Growing Wings in The Color Purple & What She’s Learned from Sofia

first_img Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 8, 2017 In the corporate world, employees leaving a job are often asked to sit through an exit interview with HR about their time at the company. That concept doesn’t exist for Broadway performers, but we love checking in with stars as they finish up a successful run. Danielle Brooks received a Tony nomination for her delightfully boisterous Broadway debut as Sofia in The Color Purple. Brooks will leave the Tony-winning revival at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on November 13. In her Broadway.com Exit Interview, Brooks shares why she’s leaving, what she’ll miss and how the role has changed her.How did you feel when you first got this job?I was super elated. I couldn’t believe it. When my manager told me they had offered me the job, I kept saying “Are you serious? No, are you serious?!”How do you feel now that you’re leaving?I feel ready. I’m going to miss working with my castmates and John Doyle. I feel like I have gained so much from this experience as an actress and as a person and have given a lot of myself every night onstage in service to those who come to see our play. Now, it’s time for the refueling of my mind, body and spirit.What are three words you would use to describe your experience?Spiritual. Taxing. Earned.What was the easiest thing about this job?I don’t think there was anything easy about this job. I can’t think of anything.What was the hardest thing?Every night it’s been something different. Sometimes it’s difficult to release the character at the end of the night; sometimes I’m vocally tired and I have to push through. Other times, I’m tired of laughing and all I want to do is cry, and others I’m tired of crying and all I want to do is laugh.What was the highlight of your time at this job?Getting to perform for my family. Having both my parents watch their first born live their dream was a highlight. And also my baby brother getting to see his big sister in his first Broadway show. That I will forever cherish.What skills do you think are required for future job applicants?Number one: she has to be honest. Don’t come in not being authentic. She has to have a sense of humor, an old soul, backbone, grit and a lot of heart.What advice would you give to future employees in your job position?For anyone ever tackling the role of Sofia, you have to come from an honest place. Don’t ever play for laughs and don’t allow the character to ever have pity on herself. She represents strength and perseverance. She’s the strongest bird in the pack that looses her wings, so it’s even more challenging for her to gain her strength back.How do you think you’ve grown?After doing this play over 400 times, I am finally convinced that I am and have always been capable of playing Sofia. What people might not know is that the casting director asked to see me; I didn’t ask to be seen. I had so many doubts and fears coming into this project that I had masked from the hardcore desire to play this part. Some days it took everything in me to step on that stage; I had so much anxiety the first few months of the show, but then something happened in my spirit. Maybe it was the audience, maybe it was the words of the play, but I realized my purpose is greater than my fears. So from then on, I was ready to go out there and share myself without any hesitation.Why are you leaving?I’m leaving because it’s time. I’ve stretched myself and grown as much as I could in this play. It’s time to learn new lessons from another character. I’ll be back to engulf in the bliss of the Great White Way again. Danielle Brooks(Photo: Matthew Murphy & Bruce Glikas)center_img The Color Purple View Commentslast_img

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