Veronica Brady is relaxed. Or so it seems. “We found another great actor,” Brady says as she falls into an tattered-old couch backstage at The Malibu Playhouse. Brady, who is in rehearsal for the West Coast premiere of Billy Roche’s Belfry out in Malibu, has a warm relaxed confidence that you can tell after a minute or two is a refined skill she’s developed in order to get what she wants. “We lost an actor yesterday to a national tour and we open here in two weeks but we found a great kid today. He’s in New York but we’ll be fine. He’s Skyping into rehearsal tonight,” Brady says smiling behind her sunkissed cheeks.
Brady covers up her stress better than a politician. She is a real pro. Maybe it’s the twenty plus years of living in Malibu or maybe it’s because she’s a mother of four or maybe it’s just because she has done so much damn theatre that nothing phases her while in the confines of her theatrically sacred space. We’ll never know.
One thing is certain, Brady knows how to make a theatre go. From the start, Brady was a theatre kid and had theatre on her mind. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal, where she co-founded Tuesday Night Cafe, she went on the co-found two other theatres that are still thriving today twenty five years later. “All three theatres are still up and running. I’ve always been focused on new work and that seems to keep people interested,” Brady says. “I love an environment where we build something from nothing.”
Brady’s love of new work took her back east where she found a creative home in the early years of The Naked Angels beginning to spread their wings in New York. Her passion inspired her to build and create theatre wherever she could find the space. In a few short years, Brady founded The New Stage at Princeton University and alongside playwright William Mastrosimone, she co-founded The Passage Theatre in Trenton. “It was a lot of work for very little money but the foundation we laid has sustained throughout, even in this environment,” Brady says. “There is just less money going around for everything these days but I think people will always be starving for intimate connections and LA’s 99 seat theatres are a perfect place to find it.”
In the early 90’s Brady and her family made the jump to the west coast, landed in Malibu and hit the ground running directing and producing throughout Los Angeles. Within her first couple years on the west coast, she was working beside Sean Penn, James Gandolfini, Beth Henley, Bill Pullman and Emma Stone. “I find myself gravitating toward actors and writers that really want to dig in and with all the restrictions that are put on the artist out here I find LA actors really inspiring,” Brady says.
But Brady didn’t come to LA to do just theatre. “Theatre is what keeps me alive but I have to pay my bills,” Brady laughs. “I’ve been producing film and television for a long time as well.” Brady is not only an Emmy Award Winner, a Television Critics Award Winner but most recently she became an Alumni of Sundance, screening her award winning film Ethel at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
“Going back and forth between film, TV and theatre is what keeps me going. I love directing. I love producing,” Brady says. “Los Angeles is a special place where artists have so much available to them… you just have to be malleable and relaxed and things will fall in place.”
The West Coast premiere of Billy Roche’s Belfry opens Jan. 31st at The Malibu Playhouse.