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Broadway’s Brandon Kalm On American Psycho, The Job Of A Standby, & Advice For Young Actors

Be fearless. Do what YOU do and be yourself, because that’s what’s going to set you apart from the thousands of others who are trying to do the same thing as you.

-Brandon Kalm

There’s been a chilling feeling creeping through the streets of Broadway over the past couple of weeks thanks to Duncan Sheik’s new musical American Psycho. The murderous tale of investment banker Patrick Bateman, played by Benjamin Walker, has been thrilling audiences since its opening on April 21 at the Schoenfeld Theatre.

In addition to American Psycho’s captivating book and electrifying score, the musical’s cast is a group of highly talented and extremely fit performers who bare it all out on the stage (literally). Among them is Broadway newcomer Brandon Kalm, a 2014 graduate of Pace University in New York.

Kalm was bit by the acting bug during his freshman year of high school after being asked to audition for that year’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. He soon found himself immersed in the craft which eventually led him from Texas to New York City. Kalm told us a little about how attending college in New York greatly benefited his career.

Kalm- “Pace was really incredible. It did so much for me [as a performer]. I had never really taken a voice lesson or an acting course, but living in New York City and making the connections I did through the school, working alongside people who are professionals in the industry, was so valuable to me. And my classmates who I went to school with were young professionals [themselves]; kids who were eighteen years old and working on Broadway. So I learned a lot by being surrounded by all these incredibly talented people.”

Brandon in "American Idiot"
Brandom in “American Idiot”

After his second year of college, Kalm booked the touring company of American Idiot, taking a leave of absence from his education to travel the world with the show. He returned, however, after eighteen months and graduated in May 2014. Being a strong believer in the benefits of education, Kalm continued his studies at the prestigious William Esper Studio with Bill Esper.

In January of 2015, Kalm auditioned for workshop production of American Psycho. After performing in front of the musical’s creative team, he received the news that he did not book the show. His career continued, however, until he auditioned for the show again in October of 2015. After not hearing back for months after the audition, he assumed he hadn’t booked the gig. To his surprise, the call came four months later in January informing Kalm that he would be making his Broadway debut as a standby in American Psycho.

A standby is a performer who is ready at a moment’s notice to step into the show. Though they don’t perform every night, Kalm told us how a standby’s job is truly never finished.

Kalm- “Since I do cover five different roles, the work is truly never done. I’m constantly running the show backstage and what people often forget about is that there is a whole other show happening backstage. [For instance], the dressers have their own set way of how to do quick changes with one person changing here and another there while another is running across the stage to get their costume. So you’re learning the backstage choreography as you’re solidifying the onstage choreography which is a lot of work.”

Gianluca- American Psycho is such an unconventional show, something never before seen on Broadway. What’s it like to be a part of this electrifying production?

Kalm- “For me, I always want to be working on projects like this which is why I’m so lucky to be a part of this show. When you’re pushing the envelope, there are going to be people who hate it because that’s the nature of art. But, at the same time, there are going to be people who are obsessed with it, who can’t get enough of it, who are completely fascinated by it and want to know more about it, and those are the people we are doing it for.“

Gianluca- What advice do you have for aspiring performers?

Brandon Kalm, Theatre Nerds, American Psycho Broadway
Brandon with fellow American Psycho Cast Members

Kalm- “Be fearless. Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot or sound bad or to be terrible at a scene. You do your best learning and growing when you are failing. As long as you are positive about it and pushing forward and following your dreams then everything is going to work out. And be unique. Do what YOU do and be yourself, because that’s what’s going to set you apart from the thousands of others who are trying to do the same thing as you.”

Follow Brandon on Instagram @BKalm and on Twitter @BrandonKalm and make sure to catch American Psycho before it closes on June 5.

Written by Gianluca Russo

Gianluca Russo is a writer, performer, and theatre critic based out of New York.

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