PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Annie's "Grace Farrell," Brynn O'Malley

By Matthew Blank
October 30, 2012

Brynn O'Malley, who plays Grace Farrell in the Broadway revival of Annie at the Palace Theatre, fills out Playbill.com's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.



O'Malley has appeared on Broadway in Wicked (Nessarose), Sunday in the Park with George (Celeste 1), Hairspray (Amber Von Tussle) and Beauty and the Beast (Belle u/s).

Other stage work includes Avenue Q ("Kate Monster/Lucy T. Slut" in Las Vegas), Boeing-Boeing (Gabriella), Oklahoma! (Laurey), Meet Me In St. Louis (Esther), She Loves Me (Helen Hayes nomination), Arsenic and Old Lace (Baltimore Centerstage), Into the Woods ("Baker's Wife" at Kansas City Rep), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels ("Christine" at North Shore Music Theatre) and Jekyll & Hyde ("Emma" at Pittsburgh CLO).

Television credits include "The Big C," "Royal Pains" and "A Gifted Man."





Full given name: Brynn Maureen O'Malley
Where you were born/where you were raised: Southeastern Michigan-- born, raised, and schooled
Zodiac Sign:Sagittarius
What your parents did/do for a living:Dad’s in marketing, Mom’s a piano teacher. Both in fake retirement because neither can sit still.
Siblings:Meghann Kathleen, Leann Marie, Grace Kathleen, Rosemary (Rosie) Francis, Colleen (Bean) Therese and Norah Irene. I'm 2nd in that line-up.
Current audition song/monologue: I don’t know... every time I whip out "A Cock-Eyed Optimist" I see people's shoulders relax during the intro. Yo, people love a classic.
Special skills: My favorite special skill on my resume is "manual wheelchair operation" because I've been in one or pushed somebody around in one SO many times in SO many shows.

I'm employing this skill once again in Annie. Get your tickets now - I’m so super good at it.

Something you're REALLY bad at: Any movement or expression immediately following the direction "Brynn, just be sexy!"
First Broadway show you ever saw: The revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Where did you train? Any particularly memorable college productions? I got my BFA from the University of Michigan. (There are 3 other UofM grads in this production of Annie, by the way: Jeremy Davis, Ashley Blanchet and Desi Oakley).

My senior year we did Merrily We Roll Along and I played Mary.

Everything I’ve done since has been a let down.

If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Original productions of either Follies or Gypsy.
Current or recent show you recommended to friends: Once. A movie-musical done right!
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: “Someone In a Tree”
“Finishing the Hat”
“Now” – “Soon” – “Later”

I’ll stop there before I just list every Sondheim song in some order.

Some favorite modern musicals: Book of Mormon, Once, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Urinetown
Some favorite classic musicals: Gypsy, Music Man, Oklahoma!

Everything by Stephen Sondheim

Broadway or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Judy Garland
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: I saw Beyonce in concert the weekend she launched her “Back to Business” tour last Memorial Day, and it made me realize that not only am I untalented and lazy, but I can never complain about my workload in any Broadway show again.

Beyonce reached out and touched a woman’s face in the front row, and the woman immediately started throwing up and praising Jesus and I totally understood her compulsion.

MAC or PC? MAC
Most played song on your iPod: Any song by Punch Brothers
Most-visited websites: I still visit "Lost" fan sites hoping one day there will be news of its return to television. Guys… we have to go BACK!
Must-see TV show(s): “Breaking Bad”
“Homeland”
“Game of Thrones”
“Louie”
“Sherlock” (BBC)
“Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule”
Last good movie you saw: “The Cabin in the Woods”...depending on your definition of "good."

"Awesomely unexpected" may be more accurate.

Some films you consider classics: “Elf”
“Inception”
“Howard's End”
“[REC]”
“Magruber”
Performer you would drop everything to go see: My boyfriend. Boring, obvious, honest.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: “Bachelor Pad”

I’ve never seen “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” but “Bachelor Pad” was some of the finest reality television I have ever seen. The season finale this year still haunts me. It’s THE WORST. Check it out.

First CD/Tape/LP you owned: First CD was the “Newsies” soundtrack. It cost $20 and came in most comically gigantic packaging.
First stage kiss: The Harold to my Marian in The Music Man my sophomore year of HS.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Anne in A Little Night Music when I was 16 at the local community theater. It was the 3rd musical I had ever done, and I was certain I was going to change lives with my take on the ball of yarn scene.
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I was in high school, my voice teacher gave me her old record of Sunday in the Park and I copied onto a cassette tape (!).

I remember listening to it on the way to school and being totally late for class because I was crying in my car in the parking lot. I remember thinking, "If I can be a part of shows like this, I want to do it forever."

Cut to me getting my audition appointment for the revival and trying to cancel it because I knew if I didn’t get it, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

How you got your Equity card: A summer season at the MUNY beginning with Side By Side By Sondheim
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Sweet potato tempura roll from Kodama. Never gets old.
Favorite liquid refreshment: Coffee dries out my chords so I guzzle unsweetened green tea---straight up, strong. The more it tastes like dirt, the better.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Always depends on the show. Right now for Annie, it’s running my entire show in my dressing room before my first entrance so I don’t miss any changes or notes. I like to be able to act when I get out there—not be stressing about adjustments.
Most challenging role you have ever played: Gabriella in Boeing-Boeing...just because it was so different from the parts I usually play. I didn't have a bag of tricks already assembled for her. I had to start from scratch.

Also, teaching myself an Italian dialect was a minor headache.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: Long story short: when I was in the Broadway company of Wicked, my wheelchair malfunctioned during Elphaba's "spell" in Shiz. I was rapidly propelling downhill on the raked stage towards the pit facing backwards when I felt my back wheels hit the edge of the stage and start to go over.

THEN--Jayne Houdyshell--like one of those moms that lifts a semi off her baby--leaped forward, grabbed my armrests, and wrenched my chair back up onto the stage. Super-human strength!

Saved my life.

Worst costume ever: Whisk Broom in Beauty and the Beast, no contest.

Now, I'm not knocking the costume design, it's just that I made my debut in that show during it's 10th enchanting year on Broadway and let's just say it had seen better days, particularly the purple leotard foundation that had been worn by so many girls before me.

I know this because their name-tags were still sewn into it, one on top of the other, forming a stack so thick it looked like a deck of cards.

I'm saying it smelled.

Worst job you ever had: I was a tour guide on the “Sex & the City” Tour my first 4 months I lived in NYC.

I woke up one morning and realized I was participating in a waking nightmare and...just...didn't get out of bed.

I left 47 tourists waiting on a bus and was promptly fired. But I got a piece of my soul back that morning.

Did you grow up a fan of the "Annie" movie? Of course! I definitely used to know every word.
Does Twan Baker have any upcoming gigs he'd like to plug? Indeed. My sweet little munchkin is making his Broadway debut next week in Annie. He is featured in the Lower East Side transition, and his mother is played by Sarah Solie. Jerry Marshall (Production Props) may be the best sport in the business.
If you could trade roles with anyone in the cast for a week, who would it be? Well, listen, this question is lacking a lot of specifics. When I magically trade roles do I also get to trade talents?

Because, if so, I would switch with Jeremy Davis just so I could experience what it's like to dance like that for a week.

But if this isn't a package deal, I want to play Punjab.

Some of your favorite screen/commercial gigs: I shot a commercial campaign last spring and part of it was a print ad. I spent the day in 10 very expensive, very fancy designery "looks" and I got to buy at a discount and/or keep a LOT of the clothes... which was great because I hate shopping.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Either Mrs. Lovett or Mama Rose... I still have some time to make up my mind, right? Right?
Leading man role you'd like a shot at: Harold Hill....since I was 14. I'm off book. Just lemme know.
Something about you that surprises people: I'm not Katy Perry.
Something you are incredibly proud of: I'm not Katy Perry.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: I still haven't finished “The Wire.”
Career you would want if not a performer: I am so jealous of and fascinated by any writer on a great TV show.
Three things you can't live without: Green tea, my DVR, and my flat iron (I have curly hair and the beast must be tamed)
"I'll never understand why…" ... "Lost" isn't still on TV.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Do everything you can within your power to be prepared and ready to audition, rehearse, and perform at the highest peak of your ability so that you can walk away from every scenario--good or bad---feeling confident and proud because your end of it was covered.

So much of this business is completely out of your control, and it's easy to drive yourself nuts trying get a hold of it, like trying to grab a fistful of water. It's a waste of time and energy. Work your butt off, prepare, treat your body with care and respect, be professional, and focus. Everything else is somebody else's problem. Let them lose sleep over it.