After going to 10 different schools and living in 21 different houses throughout his childhood, Brady Reed still managed to find his home no matter where he ended up.
Reed, a senior theater major with a minor in interpersonal communications, was busy this past summer taking the next big step in his journey, but it was not a move to a new school or new house. It was a step including learning as an intern in New York City. He had been to New York before as a student, for a trip lasting only a little more than a week.
“When I first went to New York as a student I went for 10 days,” Reed said. “I went to a program where I stayed in Times Square for a week and we’d go and see a Broadway show every night, which I had never seen before. I got to take master classes from Broadway professionals, work with directors, actors, technicians, everything.”
Reed took advantage of his short 10-day time in New York by soaking in everything around him.
“It inspired me to jump out of my jar, as we call it,” Reed said. “It’s about opening yourself up to be the best you can be in performance as well as in everyday life. You have to allow yourself to not be limited by what you’ve been told.”
This past summer, however, was a bit different, as Brady stayed and learned in New York as an intern from mid-June to the beginning of August.
“This summer, going back as an intern, I learned a lot about myself,” Reed said. “I wasn’t paid, but it was a fantastic experience. Getting to see shows and connect with professionals that I, in my wildest dreams, would have never imagined. It was cool going from Maryville to New York back to Maryville. It kind of makes you feel like your dreams are more achievable and it opened my eyes as to what I really want to do with my life.”
Reed has been working toward a life in the spotlight for as long as he can remember. Whether it was Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, Reed saw the stars on television and said, “I can do that.”
“I would say my childhood and my family was very diverse,” Reed said. “I lived in 21 different houses and went to 10 different schools, but at every location they had a music program of some sort. That, plus watching Nickelodeon and Disney, all led to my inclusion in musicals.”
With moving to different schools comes the occasional bullying. Reed says bullying was harsh enough eventually causing him to move schools a couple of times, and though there were other rough patches it was never enough to get him down.
“My lowest point, and what caused a reaction of other low points, was the passing of my brother,” Reed said. “At the time, he was 3 and I was 11, and we were extraordinarily close, even with the age gap.”
The car accident resulting in the passing of his younger brother also left his mother with a large number of injuries. This caused Reed to move two states away from Illinois to live with his father in Nebraska.
“From my childhood I do suffer from anxiety and depression, so there were some emotional hardships that came out of that situation, but it also allowed me to turn my life around for the better,” Reed said.
According to Reed, it wasn’t just music helping him get through the rougher times, it was the environment around the music sometimes too.
“No matter what I was always found a place within the choir people or within the music and theater areas,” Reed said. “So I said, ‘you know what? This is what I’m going to do. These are the people that I feel uplifted by.’”
While performing is Reed’s passion, he says it is only the stage by which he helps and inspires others.
“The point of theater is to invoke a story and to become a character that is relatable,” Reed said. “There is a phrase that we always said before a show in high school, ‘In every audience there is a king, and if you play for that king nothing can go wrong.’”
This saying is important to Reed for a number of reasons. Of course its relation to theater and performing is apparent, but Reed feels this saying relates to everyday life as well.
Reed is a member of Theater Northwest and Northwest Dance Company (NWDC). He also serves as Sigma Tau Gamma's executive secretary in public relations and communications chair, as well as the Interfraternity Council’s vice president of membership and development.
Reed says he stays extremely busy, but none of this includes his membership in the Order of Omega or his position as a career ambassador. He connects the saying from theater to his other activities, hoping to make an impact on every person he meets.
“I really like to connect things in everything I’m a part of. With being a part of my fraternity, as well as philanthropic community service work and doing theater productions, working with kids and really doing any task, you always want to do it with integrity. You only have one life so you should always want to do things the best you can.”
Part of the way he likes to relieve the stresses of these everyday tasks is hanging out with friends or with his new bunny, Bun.
Rollens Hardy, a senior psychology major, president of NWDC and one of Reed’s closest friends, notices the time Reed dedicates to everyone around him.
“I feel like anytime we are studying together in the library, there are at least eight people that will come and talk to Brady in the two hour time span we are there,” Hardy said. “I think this is because he is so personable and really likes people, he's a huge people person.”
Hardy went on to address some of the hardships Reed faced in his younger years. She says his emotional strength is without a doubt one of his best qualities.
“Brady has had a lot of heartache in his life, but he doesn't let that bring him down. He doesn't let it affect his day to day life and that makes him one of the strongest people I know,” Hardy said.
Reed has been to New York and back twice, but these steps are only the beginning of his time in the limelight. Even though the future can be nerve racking, he knows everything is going to be OK in the end, just as long as he continues performing for the king in every audience.