Interview With Bradley Gibson | A Journey Of Self-Discovery

We all have been in a situation where we feel the pressure to please someone else’s vision of what is the best way we suppose to live our lives. When we understand that we all have our own unique creative expression in life, we will be able to accept ourselves and others for who we want to be. 

Broadway rising star, Bradley Gibson who currently is shining as Simba in the iconic musical the “Lion King,” says:

“What I connect to most with Simba is his journey of self-discovery. We all go through that and feel the pressure of making our families proud. I really think that’s what makes The Lion King so successful and long-lasting. It’s an incredibly human story that we all can relate to.”


Introduction

  • Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Bradley Gibson?

Hey, Y’all! Bradley Gibson here, I’m a Broadway actor, currently playing Simba in the Lion King. I’m a southern boy who always had big city dreams and a passion for performing. It’s taken many years of training and hard work, but I consider myself as an example of what can happen if you combine faith, kindness, and dedication to what you love.

  • Do you remember the moment you saw yourself being on stage? If so, how did you feel?

My first exposure to theater was watching movie musicals. I grew up in a very small town in North Carolina, so there wasn’t always a strong arts and entertainment influence in the community. I remember watching movies like The Sound Of Music, and Grease. I would watch them on repeat and they brought me so much joy. When watching these films, I knew that performing was what I wanted to do with my life.

Entertainment Industry

  • What does theatre mean to you and what it does for the audience in general terms?

Theater to me means exposing people to stories, cultures, and experiences that either remind audiences of their own lives or teaches them something new. Great theater provides us with new insight, compassion, understanding, and of course entertainment!

  • Despite Broadway’s long tradition, everything changes and expands and so the way the stories are being told. Do you think there are more opportunities and diversity for young artists? If so, please elaborate?

I feel like this is 100% true! We are currently in a golden age of theater. There is so much art being created because people have so much to say.

  • How do you think musical theatre will continue connecting with the audience, specifically with new generations?

I think because of contemporary influences like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, musical theater will continue to use music that is relevant to the times. By doing this its more relatable for audiences and they naturally feel more connected to the stories being told on stage.

Photography by Josh Dela Cruz

Musical Theatre

  • When you audition for a musical, you have to show your skills in acting, dancing, and singing. Could you elaborate through an example, how does a day (or more) of audition looks like?

When auditioning I prepare what I think not only best shows my skills, but also who best serves the piece that I’m auditioning for. An audition or callback can be very short or can be an all-day event. The best situations are when you and the creative team/people behind the table are working organically.

  • How do you balance your training between continuing expanding your talents in all these artistic disciplines? Does it become a lifestyle?

Training is just essentially part of my life. To be on Broadway or to be auditioning for new opportunities, it requires your skills to be sharp. I make sure always to take my weekly voice lessons, work with my acting coach, and remain in good physical shape. This would be the case if I weren’t doing 8 shows a week on Broadway or pounding the pavement.

  • The first debut on Broadway for you was as Apollo Screed in the musical “Rocky.” Do you remember the moment you learned you are part of the cast? If so, how did you feel?

I actually got my first Broadway show about a month after moving to NYC. Getting that phone call from my agents was so overwhelming. I had been dreaming and working my whole life for that moment. It also sparked a fire within me to work even harder moving forward.

  • For “A Bronx Tale The Musical” written and produced by the iconic Chazz Palminteri you portrayed Tyrone. How was your experience being part of such a personal story that shows us inclusion, diversity, and authenticity?

I consider “A Bronx Tale” to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. Not only was it my first principle role on Broadway, but I also got to work with some of the best people in the world every day. We really all became a family during the shows run on Broadway.

  • You recently became part of the “The Lion King” musical cast as Simba. What resonates most to you in your character?

What I connect to most with Simba is his journey of self-discovery. We all go through that and feel the pressure of making our families proud. I really think that’s what makes The Lion King so successful and long-lasting. It’s an incredibly human story that we all can relate to.

  • At the theatre, you perform the same act at least once a day, sometimes eight shows a week. How do you keep yourself ready, in shape and excited about doing the same performance every day?

I keep myself prepared by taking really good care of my body and voice. The show is very physical, so it does also require a lot of rest. Our audiences definitely keep me energized and excited. So many people have such a strong connection to The Lion King, so it’s thrilling to tell that story every night and feel their energy from the stage.

Photography by Josh Dela Cruz

TV/Film

  • You also have appeared on Netflix’s series “Mozart in the Jungle” as the ballet team captain. Do you envision yourself doing TV and films in the future? If so, what kind of project would like to be part of?

I absolutely see myself doing more TV and film in the future! I would really love to be involved with any project that Shonda Rhimes or Ryan Murphy are working on. They are both so brilliant and are constantly taking TV to the next level.

Good Soul

  • You are a vivid philanthropist. Where does your passion for humanitarian causes come from? Do you support any charitable organization you want to mention?

As a black man in United States of America, I feel that it’s important to be aware and to speak on issues that affect people of color. The world and this country are in a pretty crazy place right now, so we have to talk about it and make ourselves heard.

Personal

  • Did you have any life-changing event that happened to you while watching a musical? If so, please elaborate.

I will never forget seeing Ragtime on Broadway. It was the first time a musical really moved me and made me feel something. I wanted to run on stage and join the cast! That was a major moment that I knew performing was my calling.

Life

  • What is the most precious moment during the day for you? And why?

The morning is always very special to me. No matter what I always try to give myself time to pray, have my coffee, and have a little quiet time with myself. It really helps me start my day with gratitude and ease.

Your Instagram is full of inspirational quotes. As a performer, you must be very aware about your body.

  • How does your inner state of being, affects your physical actions?

I always try to remind myself and others of the importance of self-love. We are constantly forced by society to compare ourselves to others, so it’s just great to have little reminders that we alone are enough.

Photography by Josh Dela Cruz

Close Up

  • The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of a Joyful Living.” How does Joy during the process of creation affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?

Doing things through joy allows us to naturally have a better outcome no matter what. I know that if I make joy part of the equation that my experience will be only more thought out and therefore more purposeful.

  • When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?

We are the writer and creators of our own destinies. Life can be incredibly hard sometimes, and naturally, there will be low moments, but we all have to keep reminding ourselves that we can do anything we want with our lives. This is something that I tell myself every day. Life requires hard work, dedication, faith, and kindness.


BradleyGibson
Photography by Josh Dela Cruz