(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)
Today's guest is Braden Bell. His novel, "The Road Show," was released this week! From his website: Braden Bell grew up in Farmington, Utah and graduated from Davis High School. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his wife, Meredith live with their five children on a quiet, wooded lot outside of Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches theatre and music at a private school. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long walks with the dog. He can also be found at his blog.
SME: Welcome to INFF!
Braden Bell: I'm very excited about this. Thanks for having me.
SME: You are most welcome. I have picked out some particularly probing questions for you.
Braden Bell: Excellent, I will try to be profound and witty, poignant and wise.
SME: Nah. If you were any of those things no one would recognize this as I Need Friends Friday.
So, first question: What song/artist would people be surprised was on your playlist?
Braden Bell: I am so predictable, I'm afraid. But it might surprise some people to know I have "It's America" by Rodney Atkins.
SME: Which brings us to question 2: If you could go to any concert (artist could be living, dead, a dissolved group, whatever), which one would you want to go to?
Braden Bell: The original performance of Handel's Messiah in London.
SME: Ooooh. I hadn't thought of that. Great choice!
Braden Bell: Thanks!
SME: Old-school musicals (Rogers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, etc.) or modern (Andrew Lloyd Webber, etc.)?
Braden Bell: Oh old school. Big time. Although, I directed Cats last fall at our school. But I am a HUGE R&H fan.
SME: We can officially be friends now. I'm old school, too. *Rogers and Hammerstein fist pump!*
Braden Bell: That is so cool!!! Hammerstein is actually one of my greatest heroes--a writer I hope to be like when I grow up.
SME: Do you have a favorite musical?
Braden Bell: I love them all. But, I think South Pacific is a uniquely wonderful show.
SME: I saw South Pacific at a fabulous dinner theater in Phoenix last year. "Bali Hi......"
Braden Bell: I'm jealous. I haven't actually seen it for years--but I listen to it regularly. And I play songs from the score frequently.
SME: Tell us a little about "The Road Show"
Braden Bell: "The Road Show" is a novel about 5 contemporary Mormons, each of whom is struggling with a flaw or burden--pornography addiction, depression, loneliness, etc.
Through their reluctant participation in their ward road show, they connect with the Atonement and find healing and peace.
SME: And it's available now?
Braden Bell: Yes, although Amazon temporarily sold out of it. But they're getting more. I'm VERY excited about all of this.
SME: Understandably so. In honor of your new release, I have a game for us!
Braden Bell: Ok, I am ready for the game.
SME: I've entitled the game: "Sarah's Sordid Road Show Past" You see, I have an extensive history of participation in stake productions.
Braden Bell: Excellent. I can't wait to hear more.
SME: I'll ask you three questions about my experiences in road shows/stake plays and then give you 3 possible answers. Get them right and you will be crowned INFF champion--an honor that many covet but not all achieve!
Braden Bell: I hardly dare hope!
SME: Question 1: At the tender age of 4, I made my debut appearance in a stake roadshow playing the part of...
a.) a 4 year old girl forced to be in the stake roadshow
b.) the ghost of a plant killed by crows because the scarecrow didn't" believe in himself"
c.) a sunbeam, as in a beam of sunlight
Braden Bell: If it's not b, it should have been. I'm going to go with the most dramatic choice here, even though it's probably C. B!
SME: It was, in fact, B!!! All the little plant spirits sang inspirational songs so the scarecrow would get his confidence back. *tear, sniffle*
Braden Bell: Awesome!!!
SME: Questions 2: For a Stake production when I was in my mid-twenties, I was so dedicated to the role I played that I...
a.) wore my costume to church the Sunday after the show
b.) stole the show, even though I was the back of the horse and not the front
c.) died my hair black
Braden Bell: I'm going to go with C, although B is very tempting.
SME: I could totally pull off B. I could. But, the answer was C. Two out of three, Braden. Not bad at all! [SME side note: our last family portrait was taken during this time, so my hair is black in the picture hanging in our living room--people always do a double take]
Braden Bell: Oh, this is getting really intense now. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
SME: One more. Can you keep up your winning streak??
Question 3: As the director of a stake production two years ago I gave out an award at the end of each rehearsal. I dubbed that award...
a.) Sarah's Special Statue
b.) The Roadshow Rock
c.) The Glorious Golden Trophy of Awesomeness
Braden Bell: I have to go with C, although A has a nice alliterative quality.
SME: Whoa. I'm beginning to wonder if you are psychic. Or maybe you've planted a hidden camera somewhere that has followed me around all my life. Craaazy. The answer is definitely C!
Braden Bell: Yayyyyy!!! I'd say it is my vast experience in amateur theatre that has attuned my intuition
SME: Apparently. Theatre geeks unite!!
Braden Bell: Amen.
SME: Let's mosey on over to the portrait gallery and have a look at your portrait!
Braden Bell: I can't wait!
*the squeak of markers, rustling of papers*
Braden Bell: Wow! It looks exactly like me!
SME: I know!!
Braden Bell: Thanks for not including my unibrow.
SME: I always remove unibrows. It's in my contract. And I hadn't seen a pair of rockin loafers in a while, so I threw some in there.
Braden Bell: I agree. Loafers are highly underrated. I also wear sweater vests--another sadly underrated garment.
SME: Also underrated: the sweater vest/loafer combo.
Braden Bell: I probably need to invest in some loafers.
SME: I would recommend it.
That brings us to the final question of the interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.
Braden Bell: 1. You like Rodgers and Hammerstein.
2. You have done church theatre
3. You said I could plagiarize your life for a book [SME side note: this is in reference to a pre-interview conversation--curious now, aren't you?]
4. I have a new fashion idea
5. I have a portrait in which I am skinny, youthful, and no unibrow!
SME: You are also highly fashionable in said portrait. Bonus!
Thanks for joining me on INFF!
Braden Bell: Thanks for having me.
SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!
If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!
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