Mackenzie Brown is from White River, Vermont, and now resides in Hyde Park. She studies theater and technical theater, and is a senior at Johnson State College. Brown has been in 19 theater productions so far, 12 of them from her four years at Johnson State College.
What got you into theater?
I got into theater in about sixth grade just doing musicals. I did it throughout high school. I was originally going to college for culinary school and I just loved theater so much that I just had to keep doing it. I really liked singing at a young age, and my mom always said I had a beautiful voice and urged me to do shows. I was enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University and then, a couple weeks before school started, I switched over to Johnson.
Who is your favorite actress/actor and why?
My favorite actor is Christoph Waltz, and I’ve done so many acting projects on him. He’s incredible and has really good composure, and you can tell in his face during his performances that he knows what he’s doing. I did a project for one of Isaac Eddy’s classes and we had to pick our favorite actor and why, and so what we did was show a clip of the movie and describe what it looks like his process is.
So what is your favorite movie?
I mostly watch musicals, but I like Django Unchained a lot, and Inglorious Bastards, which stars Christoph Waltz.
If you could trade lives with someone for a day who would it be?
I think it would definitely be an ensemble member of a dance-heavy Broadway show. You never notice them, but I always notice the ensemble more than anybody because you can see them working so hard.
What is one social issue you want to fix?
I think, especially right now with our political system, would be just to work on acceptance of LGBTQ people and minorities. I have so many friends that love anybody and have been struggling recently about hearing about brutality.
What do you worry about?
I don’t worry about graduating, per se, because I know I am definitely graduating, but mostly about what is to come after that. You graduate and then what? I’ve been talking about moving and even that thought is terrifying. My plan is to somehow get to Florida and somehow work for Disney or Universal for a very small amount of time. I think I want to end up in Boston.
What never fails to cheer you up?
My dog. I just got a puppy and he is a Pitbull/Mastiff mix. He is eight months old and we got him over the summer when he was two months old. You have a bad day, and then you go home and you see your dog and everything is okay.
You were recently in the show “Rocky Horror,” right? How did that go?
The process was a little rocky — no pun intended. But it ended up being okay. We had some issues with our director not seeing eye to eye with us. It ended up being one of the best shows I’ve ever been in. You could be as crazy as you wanted and it was okay. I miss that show.
You “miss” that show?
Yeah. I miss a lot of shows actually. You create a bond with your crew and every show is so different. I think “Much Ado,” “Rocky Horror,” and “Eurydice” have been the top three best productions of my life so far. It helps having an awesome ensemble and awesome cast members.
If you were to die tomorrow what would you like to accomplish?
I think I would just wanna pick a destination like New Zealand or Italy and just spend the rest of my existence exploring that one place. I also want to visit Finland in my lifetime because I’ve heard the Fins are really friendly.
What do you want your grave to say?
“Mackenzie Brown Slays Life.”
How would you describe your personality?
I would say positive. I think it is especially important, as of late, to be positive with the new political changes and the rioting and deaths. I usually tell people, “Hey, it won’t always be crap. It might be today, but not tomorrow.”
If you could give advice to new freshmen or new theater majors what would you say?
Go all out. If you’re gonna audition for shows or your goal is to be in a show, you have to do what the director asks of you and just go all out. They will always tell you to tone it down if needed. The one thing I regret as a freshman is that I always gave the same quality performances and “safe” auditions and didn’t challenge myself.
Have you seen a transition in your performing, then?
Oh, yeah. For my first couple of years, it was Russ who was in charge, and now we have Isaac and they are completely different people. For instance, in “Much Ado,” he wanted me to be more physical, so I was flopping on the floor and dragging myself across the stage. That stuff used to be out of the question and something I would never do. It is crazy, from a year ago, that I couldn’t do anything like that, and I have changed with Isaac’s help.
What are you going to miss about Johnson?
Dibden is like this crazy vortex that sucks you in and you want to get out of it once you’re in it, but when you’re out of it, you want in. That’s what I’m going to miss the most I think. I’m the only senior in Dibden right now and I’m going to miss everyone so much. I’m so grateful for JSC.
What would be your dream job?
My dream job would to be at one theater and be the master electrician and to work with lighting in all aspects. Acting wise, the dream is Broadway always. I would love to be in a small theater or touring house though and to be an ensemble member.
Do you take shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels?
I do not take them. My hair is so thick that I use those bottles up in one use.
What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
I dip chicken nuggets usually in ranch or honey mustard.
Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen a ghost?
I do believe in ghosts. It’s a big thing in my house to watch real ghost videos on Youtube. I’ve never actually seen one though.
Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
I’m such a bad crier. I cry for almost every emotion. But I have cried plenty of times when I am happy. I cried when my boyfriend adopted a giraffe as a present for me for Christmas.
What was the first concert you went to? What was the last concert you went to?
I went to a fall out boy concert when I was in middle school. My last concert was Mayday Parade in Burlington. Mayday Parade was my favorite band in high school.
What’s your favorite 90’s throw back jam that you could listen to on repeat?
…Backstreet’s back alright!
What was the last gift you received?
I got a tattoo gift card from my boyfriend for our anniversary in October. I am planning on getting my third tattoo soon with it.
What was the first play you say as a child?
I saw a high school version of Once Upon a Mattress.
What do you think of the stereotype that men in theater are gay?
I hate that stereotype. I think people connect acting with being emotional on stage and if men do it they must be gay because god forbid that a man acts emotional in public. Acting is such a sacred and beautiful art and for a man or woman to go onstage and be so vulnerable and trust an audience is undoubtedly brave.