Well, I first met Grasan on the Tony stage so that’s not nothing for a start. Rodrick Covington invited me to be a part of the Once on this Island onstage audience during this season’s Tony Awards. Grasan was situated right in front of me in the sand circle where I witnessed his energy and focus, nothing short of someone at the tip top of their game. A seasoned performer, Grasan has mastered the ups and downs and the ins and outs of the Broadway lifestyle, crafting a beautiful life now expanding on the west coast. Grasan’s wisdom and fullness come from the deep roots he’s planted on The BE Way.
Note from Grasan: Hi my name is Grasan Kingsberry, I have appeared in 11 Broadway productions including the most recent Tony Award-winning Best Revival Once On This Island, and the Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-Winning Best Revival The Color Purple. Some of my favorite Broadway credits are Aida, Catch Me If You Can, and Motown: The Musical. Beyond theater, I have also appeared in several television shows such as “Mozart In The Jungle,” “Late Night with Seth Myers,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade,” “The Tony Awards,” and was a part of the blockbuster film I Am Legend starring Will Smith. I’m an avid sports fan. I grew up loving and playing basketball, track and field, volleyball, football. Originally from Charlotte, NC, I moved to New York City for college where I attended The Juilliard School, and upon graduating I went on to work on Broadway, TV, film, and teaching. I currently reside in Los Angeles with my partner!
Q: Can we start from the beginning… What’s been your journey to Broadway?
A: My journey to Broadway began in Charlotte where I attended a performing arts magnet school. It’s a 6-12 grade public school that focuses on students with interests in performing, and visual arts. It was there were I began to cultivate and develop my skills and talents as a young artist. My experience and training at Juilliard prepared me for the technical aspect of being a professional artist and the variation of styles, platforms, etc. My literal “journey to Broadway” was when I got an opportunity to audition for Disney’s Aida on an open call. I started my Broadway career being a replacement for a dear friend of mine (who’s costumes I fit into perfectly!)
Q: You just made the leap from East Coast to West Coast! How is the transition going? What does this next phase of life hold for you?
A: Yes. I’ve always been a growth-seeking kind of person. So after many successful years in New York City, and a handful of accolades and accomplishments, and deep thoughtful consideration, I decided the next phase of my development (as a whole) was here in LA. The transition has been wonderful and I am really enjoying it thus far! I have an amazing support system here in my partner, and such a great group of friends as well. I have a lovely home (with central air)! And I just had my debut at The Hollywood Bowl with a production of Annie! Not a bad start!
Q: How have health and fitness been a part of your journey as a performer?
A: As a trained dancer we are considered elite athletes, so health, conditioning, fitness, nutrition and all that are very important aspects to our craft. Without the proper nourishment, regiment, exercise, and mind, body, spirit balance, the body/our instrument won’t work at its optimal level; Or the level of optimal performance won’t be consistent.
- Hydration: Water, water, water. Hydration is sooo key!
- Preparation: a thorough warm up
- Nourishment: staying fueled to burn my engine at a high level
Q: Any other holistic practices to keep you centered.
A: I meditate daily and regularly. It helps ground my energy and focus it. It also recharges me. I am a fan of essential oils too, so I use them for various occasions to center myself.
Q: Top 5 products, companies or brands that are shaping your lifestyle right now.
- Everyday Throat Spray- All natural and has colloidal silver in it!
- Kiehl’s- Great skincare products for men, and I mean hello, they give you ALL of the samples too!!
- Dr. Bronner’s- non-toxic, earth-friendly, sustainable, multi-purpose products!
- Trader Joe’s – friendly, fair priced, great quality foods and beverages. My go to grocer!
- Häagen-Daz- for they truly “shape my lifestyle!!”
Q: Fill in the blanks.
A: The best part of working on Broadway was… getting to play pretend for 1.5 to 2 hours, and getting paid to do it!
The most challenging part of working on Broadway was… the schedule and routine of performing at a high level 8 times a week.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: art, authenticity, beauty, nature, a powerful performance, god conversation, music, love, my partner, my family.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway or TV & film?
A: If this is something you want to pursue as a career, be prepared to do the work! Enjoy the process just as much as the result or end product, because how you work will influence you work on stage/ on screen. Be kind to people and understand that this is a collaborative field of work. Stay open and humble.
A: Los Angeles is a plan and meet-up kind of place, whereas in New York you have spontaneous run-ins with so many people you may know in just a few blocks. There is a calmer presence within the theater community here in LA.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about living in LA and pursing this next step in your career?
A: I am most looking forward to the change of pace, lifestyle and quality of living. I’m also excited about discovering the ways I will be sharing my gifts, talents, skills and abilities with a new group of artists, creative minds, and expanding my network here on the west coast.
BROADWAY INSPIRES ME TO BE _ an inspiration to others, as it did for me when I was a young teen seeing a Broadway show for the first time.
Photos & Interview by Jane Jourdan.