Actor Susan Brown has a tremendous task in the current revival of Angels in America. Not only does she open both parts of the two-part epic, as Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz in Millennium Approaches and as Aleksii Antedilluvianoviach Prelapsarianov in Perestroika, she plays a total of five characters across the eight-hour play, switching from male to female, Jewish to Mormon, and more. She’s had to master dialects from Utah to Russia. And she has now earned a Tony nomination for doing it.
While she has mastered the transitions between the rabbi, Washington, D.C., man Henry, Mormong mother Hannah Pitt, the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, the Russian polemic, and The Angel Asiatica as characters, her greatest challenge was maneuvering the backstage transitions. Brown says the greatest lesson she learned in this experience is “to try to stay calm, which was quite hard at the beginning because there was more drama offstage for me than onstage because of the ridiculously fast changes that I have to make and not being able to steady yourself and prepare for each entrance. But I've learned how to deal with that now,” she says. “Hopefully now this is more drama onstage than off.”
As one of the 11 record-breaking Tony nominations for Angels, Brown feels nothing but pride. “It’s completely overwhelming. I think it's deserved. I think it's one of the finest productions I've ever been in,” she says in the video above. “I wish I could see it from the outside.”
Watch the full video interview above.
Take a look behind-the-scenes of the National Theatre production in London before it transferred to Broadway: