The cast of A Bronx Tale has been rocking my world since day 1! I’ve been super lucky to get to know a few of them and they all inspire me in new ways! Bradley, along with his cast mate Brittany, reignited my love of yoga! (Literally just went to my first yoga class in for-ev-er thanks to Bradley!) His entire approach to fitness, health & Broadway emphasizes the balance of mind, body, & spirit. Bradley reminded me that sometimes the simple practice of taking the time to be present is the best way to be Fit for Broadway!
NOTE FROM BRADLEY: Hey y’all, I’m Bradley Gibson! I play Tyrone in A Bronx Tale over at The Longacre Theater, and being on Broadway has been a dream of mine since I was a little southern boy growing up in North Carolina. I’m also a huge fan of all things health and fitness, so lets do it!
Q: Bradley A Bronx Tale is at the top of my list of must see shows right now!!! I’m so grateful to feature a handful of people from your cast who are all super inspiring and amazing examples of what it takes to be FFB. Let’s start from the beginning. What was your journey to Broadway?
A: I’ve had dreams of Broadway pretty much my entire life! Acting, singing, and dancing have always been an escape for me, and even as a child I took them very seriously. Growing up in small town Pinehurst, North Carolina I was always involved in the arts. At 16 I was cast in my first professional production. I played Richie in a summer production of A Chorus Line. This job was a life changer for me, because for the first time I was around people who were living lives that I only dreamed of at that point. They were all either theater students in college programs or professionals working and living in NYC. I returned to school after that summer so driven and so determined to make to the big city! After high school I attend The Boston Conservatory. At the Conservatory I received top level training in all areas of musical theater, while also being given the freedom to explore and find myself as an artist. About a month after graduation I moved to New York City. I arrived with very little money, but so ready to hit the pavement and make something happen! About 4 weeks into living here, working, and auditioning I booked my first 3 jobs, one being my Broadway debut, Rocky the Musical!
Q: How has fitness and health intertwined throughout your journey as a performer?
A: I learned very early on that living a healthy lifestyle only made me a better artist and performer. In college I began weight lifting and spending a lot of time in the gym, which made me stronger and also built up my endurance, something that is so needed in this business. Building muscle only made me a better dance partner, and having a higher endurance only enhanced my vocal abilities. During Rocky, training as a boxer was a requirement of pretty much everyone in the show. Prior to being cast in Rocky I never really had any experience in boxing, so it truly took a lot of dedication and focus to be in the show. I consider Rocky to be the show that made me truly fall in love with fitness and all things health.
Q: What are specific physical demands of A Bronx Tale? #TrainingforBroadway
A: In A Bronx Tale one of my major demands is vocal health. Tyrone, my character in the show sings some pretty high notes, so I always try to take good care of my voice. I also try to just continue to keep my body in shape. Being on Broadway and doing 8 shows a week is hard work because you want to always do and be at your best. In many ways performers are like athletes and we have to treat our bodies as such. I always try to sweat everyday through yoga, running, and weight lifting. For my voice I always make sure to work voice Lessons into my schedule, drink lots of water, and make sure I get plenty of sleep.
Q: You’re a yogi like me! How did you get introduced to yoga and what are the benefits for someone performing 8 shows a week on Broadway?
A: I LOVE YOGA! Yoga came into my life about 10 years ago. The mother of two of my best friends growing up began teaching and eventually opened her own hot vinyasa studio in my hometown in North Carolina. When I began to practice I immediately saw the benefits and changes in not only my body, but also my mind. Yoga provides me with meditation and time to focus and check in with my body. Living in New York can be hectic, so it’s so important to have time to quit the mind. Also it’s a perfect way to strengthen your core and assist with flexibility.
Q: Do you have any mental or spiritual practices that help keep you grounded and centered every day?
A: Every morning I always take ten minutes to meditate, pray, and sit with my thoughts. I just use that time to breathe in new air, give thanks for what I have, and give up the power of what I can’t control to something greater than myself. I think as humans it’s only natural to have moments of stress, or to always want and be striving for more, but we also have to present and thankful for where we are in the now. Those first ten minutes of my day are so precious to me.
Q: Do you have a pre-show ritual?
A: Before the show I usually always have a little snack and coffee. At the theater we have fight call, to ensure that everyone is focused and safe. After that I usually spend sometime checking in with the rest of the company. One of the best things about being in A Bronx Tale is that our company is so tight and really feels like a family. They make going to work everyday a joy! I also spend some time warming my voice up and doing vocal exercises to make sure that I’m vocally ready to do the show.
Q: Can we play “My Week in Fitness!” ? (a brief outline/example of a week in your fitness life with as many details as you want to include)
- Monday- With this being my day off, I usually listen to my body and take it easy. At most I’ll do some cardio or take a yoga class
- Tuesday- CHEST/BACK/ABS- Along with this I always make sure to do 30 mins of cardio and some abs to get my heart rate up and to get the blood flowing.
- Wednesday- LEGS- I will admit that this is my least favorite, but I make sure to work in a good leg workout in every week. The results of leg exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, show throughout the entire body. DO YOUR SQUATS PEOPLE!!
- Thursday- ARMS/ABS- This is easily my favorite workout of the week!
- Friday- SHOULDERS- On this day I usually mix in some heavy cardio, or I’ll make sure to take a yoga class
- Saturday- FULL BODY- Because Saturday is a two show day, I usually hit the gym and just do a good full body workout. I do about 3 exercises for each part of my body, after I always work in some good cardio and stretching to make sure that my body is ready for the day ahead
- Sunday- DAY OFF- Usually I take Sunday off from the gym. I always try to sleep in a bit and relax at home before the last show of the week.
Q: How does nutrition play a role in feeling your best for each Broadway show?
A: FOOD IS FUEL!! To do a show 8 times a week and to just feel good in my day to day life, I have to feed my body the right stuff. I always try to my best to eat clean, to load up on lean protein, get my greens in daily, and to stay away from dairy. Throughout the day I also drink a lot of water/ coconut water to stay hydrated. Eating this way allows me to have energy and the focus to do the show every night.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: My family and friends for sure. I think it’s so important to have good people in your life that support you and give you unconditional love. The people I love in my life make me a better person and only help me strive for greatness.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway?
A: Don’t limit yourself or convince yourself that you aren’t worthy of your dreams. Each of us has the ability to make great things happen for ourselves, but it does require dedication, hard work, and true faith in your abilities to make the impossible your reality. Always be kind and respectful to others! Never stop learning, and NEVER give up!!!