Bradley Evan Sonnenberg
Brad spoke the truth. Brad felt the truth. Brad was truth.
His heart was pure. He loved from the bottom, top and sides of it. He would say it like it was ... and it was always like he said.
I began my work at New Jew / de Toledo in 2011. I had no idea what, or who, I was walking into. I chose LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS as our first production, knowing it would be accessible, energetic and fun. Auditions began ... and in the door walks the most perfect Seymour I had ever seen. But, of course, looking the part is not enough. Then, he opened his mouth – and out poured one of the most glorious voices I had ever heard. Brad. Was. Seymour. And boy did he do that role justice. From the authentic baseball cap he bought for himself to feel connected to his character, to the way he handled the broom .... after we taught him how to use it ... he was perfection.
Over the next couple of years, he transported us to a New York City artist’s loft in RENT, then to a CABARET Hall in Berlin....and he was equally - perfect.
Our rehearsals typically started with, “Where’s Brad?” “In the closet,” was usually the response. Then we would all make our way to the music room and stand outside the closet door listening to him make his way through stunning vocal warm-ups. When we were satisfied – we would knock on the door, out he would come, and applause and laughter would ensue. We still refer to that closet as “Brad’s Closet.”
Our post-rehearsal car rides home welcomed some of my most beautiful memories, and some of the most complex conversations I’ve ever had. There were chats about the sheer magnitude and reality of the universe, he explained his theories about reincarnation and recycled DNA, and, of course, there were insightful parenting tips and fresh perspectives about my daughter’s coping skills. (He frequently tested her coping skills ... but, they adored each other.)
A brilliant mind, a deep soul, haunting wisdom, exceptional talent.
He was infuriating and inspiring, maddening and magnificent. There were surprises, hilarities, chills, and there was awe. This child was loved and revered ... more than he ever knew.
Like all of yours, my heart is in 1000 pieces. But, it will always be SO full with the moments we shared, director to actor, teacher to student, and finally friend to friend. It was an honor to share life together for a handful of years. The impact he had on me – on all of us - will last eternally. His was a powerful presence, a profound spirit - and I am beyond grateful for the blessing of knowing his beauty.
"In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee" ... we will remember you, Bradley Evan Sonnenberg.