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YPAS and Walden Theatre alumnus Adam Brown cast in major role in Broadway’s ‘Once’

by Melissa Chipman

Adam Brown // Stewart Talent Agency

Adam Brown // Stewart Talent Agency

Yesterday, Louisvillian Adam Brown began rehearsals for the major role of “Eamon” in the Tony award-winning Broadway production of “Once.”

Brown, a 2008 alumnus of both Youth Performing Arts School at duPont Manual High School and Walden Theatre, signed a twelve-month contract to play the role, according to Isaac Spradlin, Walden Theatre’s communications manager.

“Once” is based on the 2007 movie of the same name. Set in Dublin, Ireland, the musical drama starred musicians Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová as star-crossed street musicians who inspire each other and create an album together.

The cast of “Once” is currently led by Arthur Darvill, fresh off his three-year stint as Rory Williams on “Doctor Who,” as “Guy” and actress Joanna Christie as “Girl.” Brown’s role of “Eamon” is the second male principal role and is currently being played by David Abeles, who played “Jerry Lee Lewis” in “Million Dollar Quartet” and originated the role of “Eamon.”

Last month, Adam Brown was a nominee for Chicago’s prestigious Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principle Role for his work in Jackalope Theatre’s production Long Way Go Down. Chicago Theatre Beat said of his performance, “Brown has terrific comedic instincts and gives the undereducated Chris a sensitive side.”

According to a news release from Walden:

The process to earn the role began six months ago in Chicago, when Brown auditioned with casting agent Jim Carnahan for the upcoming national tour of Once. Carnahan told him he belonged in the show, but he’d have to figure out where to put him. After months of waiting, Brown finally got a callback– followed quickly by a ticket to New York and a demanding final round of auditions that included Irish and Czech accents and playing guitar, bass, piano, drums, ukulele, melodica, and harmonica.

After impressive auditions for the touring show, Brown was offered the Eamon role in the Broadway production to replace a departing original cast member. He was happy to accept.

The Broadway production of “Once” has been kind to Kentucky actors. Steve Kazee, who originated the role of “Guy” off-Broadway and went on to star in the Broadway production, is from Ashland, Ky. and a graduate of Morehead State University. Kazee won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical for the role in 2012. His last performance as “Guy” was in March.

Brown was involved with Walden Theatre for nine years and in 2007 placed first overall in the English Speaking Union’s National Shakespeare Competition. Brown graduated from The Theatre School at DePaul University in 2012 with a BFA in Acting.

In a 2008 interview with LEO Weekly, just as he was about to leave for Chicago to attende DePaul, Brown said: “The hardest part about going to school will be having to watch Louisville disappear in the back window. … I’d love to get some recognition as an actor and move back here to raise a family.”

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