Rapunzel’s Funny Bone
Long-time actor Brad DePlanche is no stranger to comedy, appearing in close to 20 shows at Orlando Shakes over the past 13 years. Central Florida audiences will recognize him for his slapstick humor and funny voices in roles like last season’s Grumio (The Taming of the Shrew) and Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood (It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play). But what patrons may not know is that Brad also enjoys the view from the director’s chair.
Brad’s directing career sprouted at Orlando Shakes, after he was cast in the Florida Premiere of Around the World in 80 Days. Brad remained involved in 6 or 7 productions across the country, and was eventually asked to take on the role of Assistant Director. More recently, he co-directed the University of South Carolina’s production of The 39 Steps alongside Artistic Director Jim Helsinger. “That’s when the directing bug really bit me,” Brad recalled. Additional directing projects include three 1-person shows in Solo Mio at Actors Theatre of Louisville and an upcoming production of The Comedy of Errors with The Young Company at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. When asked what he liked most about directing, Brad said it was the opportunity to take what you’ve learned and give it back to other actors. “I like sharing, and this is the most creative and rewarding way to give back. I love that I’m a part of the creative process where we find the answers together.”
So when Brad was invited to direct Brandon Roberts’ adaptation of Rapunzel (playing from June 19 – July 27, 2014 in the Goldman Theater), he jumped at the chance. The long-time friends have shared the stage countless times as actors, and were excited to work together as Director and Playwright. “Brandon’s incredibly accessible and open to any changes we’ve wanted to make. This has been a great collaboration.” And Brandon’s Rapunzel, Brad assures me, is unlike any other. It’s got audience interaction, magic, ninja moves, a light-saber battle, and one awesome heroine. Rapunzel is a tough tomboy who knows how to work a wrench, fix a sink, and install a toilet—and she doesn’t need a prince to rescue her!
Overall, Rapunzel’s got humor, and that’s something that Brad DePlanche understands better than most. “My favorite sound in the world is a child’s laughter. To be a part of something that helps elicit that response is really special.”
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