Monday, May 4, 2015

Success Story: COREY BRILL

COREY BRILL is a theatre, television and film actor living in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Cambridge, Ohio, Brill's first role was Jon in a local production of Peter Pan when he was 10 years old. He earned a BFA in Musical Theatre from Otterbein College in Ohio before moving to New York. After earning his equity card in a children's musical titled Young Tom Edison (and exaggerating the number of instruments he played) he was cast as Max, the owner of the Kit Kat Klub in the Broadway National Tour of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's Cabaret starring Teri Hatcher. After a year and a half on the road, he pursued an MFA in acting from the University of CA, San Diego and stayed on the West coast thereafter. Before he had finished graduate school, Brill was cast as Jim, the Gentleman Caller, in The Kennedy Center's 2004 production of The Glass Menagerie starring Sally Field. Since then he's worked in regional theatres across the country including The Old Globe, Seattle Repertory, Hartford Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville and others. He's originated roles in three world-premieres at South Coast Repertory theatre in Costa Mesa, CA. On Broadway, Corey worked with Robin Williams in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Moises Kaufman. The following year he played Don Blades in Gore Vidal's The Best Man on Broadway. The all-star cast included James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergan, Eric McCormack, John Stamos and many others. In HBO's The Normal Heart, Corey played Henry, a closeted politico who works for Mayor Ed Koch during the peak of the AIDS epidemic. On television, Brill most recently portrayed Pete the resident surgeon of the Alexandria Safe Zone on AMC's The Walking Dead. He also happens to be Los Angeles’s only Downtown Beekeeper.

How long have you been on Actors Access and how has the service helped you?

Corey: I guess I’ve been a member since moving to LA after grad school. It’s been really helpful to have all of my media in one place. I know that my representation and casting directors are all on the “same page”. Because they are, literally!

How did you get into acting?

Corey: I started doing plays at my high school in Cambridge Ohio. It’s a pretty small town and we did one show a year. I was hooked and a career advisor told me that (for the first time in his career) he recommended I give this acting thing a try so I applied to Otterbein University. I didn’t get in at first, but I guess another prospective student dropped out…

What did you learn working on the set of the immensely popular show The Walking Dead?

Corey: I learned so much! Too much to accurately put into words, but – just as in sports, we play better when we play with those who are at the top of their game - and the entire cast and crew of TWD is at the top of their game. I’ve never seen so many people work so hard and so well together and it makes you raise your own performance. I also learned that nobody cares what you need to do to be in the right head-space before “action” (as long as nobody gets hurt!) - Just get there.

Has Eco-Cast changed your career as an actor?

Corey: Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of Eco-Cast until my awesome SE Agent Lu Anne Bernier (Monarch Talent) told me that it’s how I booked the role. I’ve never been as on top of the “business” side, so maybe the best thing about something like Eco-Cast is that is allows me to focus on the audition. I can relax and know that my work will be seen in time and by the right folks.

What has been your favorite role to play?

Corey: Hmmm. Well, on TV I have to say Pete on The Walking Dead - It’s been such a trip to be a part of something so well done AND so intensely popular. How rare is that?? Most of my career has been on stage and I’d have a hard time picking a favorite role. That said, I’d say Gary/Roger in Michael Frayn’s Noises Off! at Actors Theatre of Louisville. I got to fall down stairs, hop around with my shoes tied together and dump plates of sardines on my castmates' heads…and they paid me to do it!!

What advice would you give your fellow actors just starting out?

Corey: There’s so much very practical advice out there for actors new and old, but here’s my big tip: Be pleasant to work with. I don’t mean you have to be the life of the party on set or backstage - just leave a pleasant aftertaste, you know? Talent and luck are fantastic, but out of our control. Whether you smile or frown is totally up to you.

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