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Gregg Brandt

Raised in the Garden Heights section of Altoona, Gregg Brandt went to Carnegie Mellon University for musical theatre and vocal performance and graduated in 1989.

He says that he attributes his success in life to some really good teachers who took their time and said, "You're really talented.  Maybe you might want to consider going into this field."

Brandt adds that his parents were really supportive.  They knew about the arts, but they just sang in church. "Singing in church is pretty much how I got started.  I'm thankful for such supportive and loving parents."

While at Carnegie Mellon, he auditioned for things like The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and The Pittsburgh Opera.  After performing many productions with each arts organization, he adds that one thing leads to another and ended up doing a couple of national tours.

He was still doing some things on the side while working on his Master's Degree at Carnegie Mellon University.  He ended up not finishing it because he got some other shows, including a national tour.  He ended up being a couple of classes short.

Then, he ended up getting cast in the Broadway production of Les Miserables in October 1996.  He debuted on November 1, 1996.  "I was part of their tenth anniversary vision, which was March 12, 1997.  I was part of the new regime, in a way."

He stayed with the show until January 2003.  He and his son became the first father/son team to perform the show together.  "My son was seven, almost eight. He actually just finished performing in the Broadway revival production of Annie Get Your Gun starring Reba McEntire.  They asked if I would be willing to go perform on the national tour with my son and I jumped at the opportunity.  I was what they called a "Swing", which meant I understudied all the roles in the show except for a couple of the lead characters and I would go on in  a moment's notice.  I was also the Dance Captain which was kind of like an assistant director for that kind of show because there was not a lot of dancing.  That is how I got interested in directing more."

**To read the entire article, please check out the upcoming book release They Came From Blair County Volume 2 due out by the end of the year.

**Information for this article was obtained through a phone interview with Gregg Brandt

**Photos were taken by Photographer Brian Ray Norris

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