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Brittney Johnson of ‘Wicked: The Musical’ talks about her solo concert at Birdland in New York

Actress Brittney Johnson of “Wicked: The Musical” chatted about her upcoming solo concert at Birdland Jazz Club in New York on May 1st.

Brittney Johnson
Brittney Johnson. Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid
Brittney Johnson. Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid

Actress Brittney Johnson of “Wicked: The Musical” chatted about her upcoming solo concert at Birdland Jazz Club in New York on May 1st.

Birdland Jazz Club show

On her forthcoming solo show at Birdland, she said, “This is going to be an intimate evening with me, where I get to peel back some of the more vulnerable layers of what makes me “me” and dig into the music and artists who have influenced me the most.”

Playing Glinda in ‘Wicked: The Musical’

She made Broadway history as the first African American actress to portray Glinda in the award-winning musical “Wicked.” “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share such a beautiful story with hundreds of thousands of people,” she admitted.

“What an even greater gift to have opened a door that was previously closed to people who look like me, and to give hope and reassurance to all people who have ever been told that an opportunity was ‘unavailable’ to them because of who they are, that anything is possible,” she elaborated.

Motivations

On her daily motivations as an actress, she shared, “The opportunity to tell stories that encourage empathy and make a real change in people’s everyday lives.”

Future plans

Regarding her future plans, she responded, “I’ve stopped trying to plan my future. Any time I’ve tried, they never go as planned! And thankfully, they usually go far beyond what I could have planned. I have taken instead to setting goals, and to dreaming big.”

“Bigger than feels comfortable at times,” she said. “Aside from my goals onstage of originating a role on Broadway, and my film and TV goals both in front of and behind the camera, most of my dreams are currently comprised of ways that I can give back to my community and help up and coming artists develop their talent and gain the life skills they need to be successful.”

Career-defining moments

On her career-defining moments, she shared, “Every single moment in my career has given me something that I needed to become the artist and person that I am today. Whether it was people in my company who I learned lessons from, or career defining, history making roles. I don’t believe in small moments. Every moment creates the person you are in the present.”

The digital age

On being an artist in the digital age, now with streaming, technology, and social media being so prevalent, Johnson said, “To be honest, it is very difficult at times. I’m what they call an “elder millennial”, so I have the privilege of remembering a time before social media and the immediate and constant access to art in all its forms.”

“I remember having to wait a week for the next episode of my favorite TV show, and if I missed it, I was just out of luck until I could buy the entire season on DVD and catch up,” she recalled.

“On the one hand I think it’s amazing that younger generations have so much access to art and artists, a breadth of outlets for education, and opportunities that I couldn’t have imagined as a kid, but on the other hand, I think we need to be careful that the quality of our work doesn’t suffer in the name of content,” she explained.

Advice for young actors

For young and aspiring actors, she said, “My advice to my students and to anyone who asks me this question, is to explore all of the unique interests and qualities about themselves that make them unique. Maybe you love to paint, maybe you love numbers, or interior design– don’t be afraid to explore the other things you love in addition to honing your craft.”

“I always say that a well-rounded human being makes for a much more interesting artist, and actor especially. After all, how can you embody characters that live full and complicated lives if you haven’t lived yourself,” she said.

Success

On her definition of the word success, she remarked, “My definition of success has changed so much over the years and will probably continue to change as I grow and develop over time.”

“For me, right now, success is the ability to touch people’s lives, make them think, and help them grow while doing a job that I love– a job that lets me create, and sing. For as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted to do was sing. It’s still surreal to me sometimes that I get to do it for a living,” she elaborated.

To learn more about Broadway actress Brittney Johnson, follow her on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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