We had the good fortune of connecting with Bruno Streck Rodrigues (he/him) and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Bruno, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk-taking has always played a significant part in my life. When I watched “High School Musical” for the first time in Brazil when I was still in Middle School, I knew I wanted to be an actor in musical theatre. Still, I was facing one major challenge: musical theatre did not exist in Brazil at the time, and it is only barely starting today. Knowing these challenges, I took a significant risk that many immigrants know all too well. I moved to a new country where I knew I could follow my dreams, leaving everything and everyone I knew behind. First, I came for a year in High School in 2012 and returned to study theatre in 2014. I want to shout out to all artists out there, including myself, because being an artist is a very risky career. We never know where our next contract will come from, and the grind is unstoppable. We study our crafts relentlessly, give up comfort, a steady income, and our time to try to follow our dreams. Coming from Brazil, I also had little access to singing and dancing classes. While I have been acting since I was eight, I had to work hard through an Associate’s, two Bachelor’s, and a Master’s degree to catch up on the training I needed to succeed in my career. Now, as an actor in Childsplay AZ’s touring production of “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” I am finally where I wanted to be, entertaining and educating audiences through storytelling, music, and dance. Besides my career risks, which did come with personal risks, I think it is valuable to mention the risks that we as Queer people have to take to live proudly. Being on a national tour throughout the country can be very daunting, and I chose to be out every day, and I display my queerness through my actions, clothes, and lifestyle. Not all cities are as accepting as the one I live in, and even in accepting cities, hate crimes against Queer people are a huge problem. This very week in Macon, GA, I was yelled at and called a homophobic slur for wearing short shorts to the gym. However, that is a risk I gladly take because we, Queer people, are here, and I want the children who see me perform to see me as a role model if they feel like misfits like I once did. I take a risk to be an out and proud Queer person, especially for Queer kids in these small cities that might never have come in contact with someone like them. I want them to know that we can be on every stage and win every challenge that life throws at us.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As I previously mentioned, getting where I am today as an artist was not easy. In Brazil, we did not have a lot of musical theatre training available, so I moved to an entirely new country to learn two skills I knew very little about, singing and dancing. I don’t think people understand how hard going to school for the arts, specifically music and theatre is. You have to audition into programs, which is a very elitist and daunting concept, especially for someone that did not have the resources to study all of these subjects from a very young age. After we get into the program, we put ourselves in front of our peers, sometimes early in the morning, and project all of our innermost vulnerabilities to them, showing our emotions and how hard we have worked technically. I have taken classes with artists I view as far more technical than me, and following them after a performance is daunting because I knew I would not be as good. Having to focus on my grand plan to reach greatness kept me going, keeping me out of my comfort zone and growing at all times. I knew others had more opportunities than I did, but that did not stop me from reaching the same heights they did.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite things to do are to see friends, meet new people and party! Let’s say Ūgene Titus (they/them), one of my best friends, was coming to see me in Phoenix, AZ, for a weekend. I would take them to my favorite Brazilian Steak House, Galeto, in Chandler, AZ, take them on some lovely hikes around the city, maybe to a couple of bars, like Charlie’s Phoenix or Karamba. Being the lover of travel that I also am, I would take the opportunity to show them one of my favorite cities on the west coast, San Diego! I love San Diego because it has a big city feeling, but the people are so amicable and more approachable. I have made wonderful, lifelong friends in San Diego from just visiting, something I have had a much harder time making happen in cities like LA or New York. San Diego has Hillcrest, a beautiful gaybourhood that I highly recommend to anyone! There’s a lovely little gay store called “Humanity!” where I would take Ūgene shopping and then have a good time at Rich’s, one of my favorite clubs. Depending on the year, I would also take them to “Turn,” my favorite gay party in San Diego! The next one will be a weeklong festival running from November 25-28, and you can bet I am going to the parties on Friday, 11/26, and Saturday, 11/27, the very next day after I return from my tour!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shout-out to my two best friends in the world, Juliana Simōes (she/her), and Ūgene Titus (they/them), and my partner Rory Kruithoff (he/him). Juliana, whom I met through work in my undergraduate institution, Grand Valley State University, is a fellow Brazilian immigrant like me. She has been through the entire immigration process with me. She is the person I call in the middle of the day to talk about my woes. She is someone that I learn with and that I know will support me through anything. Ūgene is a friend I met doing the show “Hit the Wall” in Grand Rapids, MI. They are someone with a light that shines brighter than any other light I have seen before. They have introduced me to subcultures of Queer culture where I indeed found myself, and I would truly not be the person I am today without them. Finally, last but not least, is my partner, Rory Kruithoff, the kindest and most caring human being I know. From the moment he took care of my food poisoning on our fourth date, I knew this man would be the one I would marry one day. We have been through so much together, and he supports my career and life choices unconditionally and I cannot wait to share the rest of my life with him.

Website: brunostreckrodrigues.com

Instagram: @brunostreckrodrigues

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bruno-streck-rodrigues-16b5a41b3

Facebook: Facebook.com/brunostreckrodrigues

Youtube: Bruno Streck Rodrigues

Other: TikTok: @brunostreckrodrigues

Image Credits
Samantha Brigham, Reg Madison, Jan Lewis, KJ Madison, Isabel Han

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