Artist Spotlight: Kyle Brauer ’11

Andrew LaCombe

(by Tara Atkinson)

The end of spring term is a busy time for most Lawrentians, but few students’ calendars can compete with Kyle Brauer’s upcoming schedule. Brauer, an accomplished singer, actor and dancer, is involved in several major productions in the next few weeks.

Brauer will first be seen playing Caliban in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” May 5 to 7 in Cloak Theatre. This role has been a good challenge for Brauer because Caliban is not human and has a dual personality.

“I’ve been concentrating on my physicalization and movement patterns to denote when he’s more monstrous and more human,” he said. “He’s one of the two antagonists in the show, but he’s probably the one that you feel most sorry for. He walks the fine line of being someone you pity and someone you dislike.”

Shakespeare will also be featured in Brauer’s senior voice recital. All of the text in the music comes from the great English poet and playwright, including an aria from Lee Hoiby’s operatic rendition of “The Tempest.” He will end the show with “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from the Broadway musical “Kiss Me, Kate.” Brauer will take the stage in Harper Hall on Saturday, May 14 at 6:30 pm.

Brauer first got involved in theatre in fifth grade through a troupe at a library in his hometown of LaCrosse, Wis. He performed in his first musical in sixth grade and was hooked after that. Growing up, he studied piano and French horn and started taking voice lessons in eighth grade. His older sister is a music teacher, which was a major influence on his artistic development.

Dancing has also been a big part of Brauer’s life. His parents are wonderful polka dancers, and Brauer became the first male member of his high school’s dance team during his senior year. At Lawrence, he is the co-performance director for the Mélée Dance Troupe. A routine performed to the first movement of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5” is one of the highlights of their upcoming show — Saturday, May 28 at 8 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre.

“It combines classical movements and techniques with very abstract contemporary choreography, as well,” Brauer said of the Beethoven dance. “It provides a great juxtaposition between the serious mindset of performing great classical music and doing great classical dance and a goofy side to it — not taking the classically music as seriously as we think we need to.”

Earlier this year, Brauer appeared in “Into the Woods,” “All My Sons” and “The Mandrake.” He is in his second year as the choreographer for Appleton’s Xavier High School non-competitive show choir, and is also a member of Concert Choir and Harmonia, the early music vocal group on campus.

Brauer plans to graduate in June 2012 with a Bachelor of Music degree in choral and general music education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater arts and education. He is considering several options after leaving Lawrence.

“I would love to teach high school or maybe college,” said Brauer. “I am a huge show choir person, because it really allows me to bring together theatre, music and dance. I would love to one day be able to direct my own show choir and probably choreograph them as well.”

A career in performing would also make Brauer happy. He thinks that singing, dancing and acting are wonderful to do separately, but he is happiest as a member of an ensemble in a big dance number in a musical.

“There’s something really wonderful about singing in an ensemble, and dancing with other people is one of the most joyful experiences a person could have, in my opinion,” he said. “I know that if I perform professionally, I won’t be getting lead roles, but I would be signing in an ensemble. I would be completely happy if I could just be up there and generally have fun. That is what keeps audiences coming back, and that is what makes a show good.”