Tsilala Brock Excited For Broadway Debut

February 6, 2024 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Bermudian actress Tsilala Brock is set for the biggest stage of her career after being cast in a Broadway production of Suffs, a musical about the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

Produced by former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Prize-winning activist, the show features an all-female cast, with Ms Brock playing a real character, Dudley Field Malone, who served as the assistant secretary of state to president Woodrow Wilson.

Malone publicly resigned from office in 1917 to persuade President Wilson to shift his stance on women’s suffrage and later represented the suffragettes in court.

Ms Brock admits it will be a challenge portraying someone whose race and sex are different from hers but is excited by the opportunity to capture the essence of someone who had the courage of his convictions.

“There’s a strong sense of everyone wanting to get things right about a piece of history that hasn’t often been told,” Ms Brock told Bernews.

“Everyone’s playing a real-life person. We want to do it justice.

“This role allows me to celebrate my craft. I’m playing a man in the early 20th century, a white man – there’s quite a lot to explore within that.

“He’s an earnest person who learns new information and changes his mind. If I look at the role of playing a race, I’ll fail.

“His resignation letter was published in the New York Times – that’s the song I sing for my solo.

“It was a brave thing for him to do. Where does one find that when you sit in the comfortability of privilege? He sacrificed a bit of his comfort to fight for the betterment of others.”

Tsilala Brock Suffs Broadway Musical Bermuda January 2024_1

The 31-year-old, who is making her Broadway debut, first auditioned for the play in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, submitting a videotape.

Her first in-person audition was that summer in the brand-new Public Theatre of Manhattan, where the off-Broadway play was performed before being reproduced and showcased on Broadway.

The new production opens at the Music Box Theatre on April 18.

“It’s not a continuation of the off-Broadway production,” Ms Brock stressed. “They learned plenty from that. There’s been a lot of changes, including new songs.

“I’ve tried to take the current script as the ‘bible’ and not get too stuck on what happened in the past.”

The former Saltus Grammar School student, whose theatre credits include a US national tour of The Book of Mormon, is set for an intense period of rehearsals from February 12 until March 26, six days a week from 10 am until 6 pm.

“I was back home in Bermuda recently just to rest and be with family,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of mental gymnastics and physical care involved. It’s wild.”

Ms Brock, who left the island at age 15 to attend the Nancy Campbell Academy in Ontario, Canada, studied at the United Dance Productions in Bermuda and was in Troika Productions, including Beauty and the Beast and The Colour Purple.

She has also recently completed voicing the audio for Bermuda author Florenz Maxwell’s novel Girlcott – a coming-of-age story set during the 1959 Theatre Boycott.

The audiobook is out on February 25.

“There’s an alignment between the two [Suffs and Girlcott],” she added. “For the audiobook to be coming out during Black History Month and a week into my rehearsals of Suffs – also a story of activism and a moment of history that perhaps we haven’t understood the gravity of – is well aligned!”

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