Brad Sherrill Performs
‘The Gospel of John’ and ‘The Prophet’
Atlanta actor Brad Sherrill has been performing his one-man show “The Gospel of John” for 10 years. With 600 performances in 40 states, as well as in England, Ireland and Canada, Sherrill has created an acting career that keeps him busy eight months of the year and allows him time to do other acting work.
“The Gospel of John” will be playing in repertory with his new one-man show “Prophets” at Georgia Shakespeare March 24-28.
One of Atlanta’s finest actors, Brad brings a character and a story to life. I spoke with him on the telephone.
You’re doing two shows based on the Bible. Were you always very religious?
I grew up in a church that had a strong drama ministry. I acted at the church as I was growing up in Chamblee and acted in plays throughout my 20s and 30s. I never went to New York or L.A. cause I found steady work in Atlanta. In my late 30s I got burned out going from play to play, some that I didn’t like. One day I started memorizing the prologue to John, my favorite gospel. I had no acting plans when I started memorizing it. It’s almost 20,000 words and took me four and a half months to learn. I was led to the material in a devotional way. As I learned sections I invited people over to my house to perform it. My church said share it with us. The response was positive, and that’s when I went to Theatre in the Square, and it turned into eight well-attended weeks. Other church theater runs followed.
Had you been thinking about doing a one-man show?
I never saw myself doing a one-person performance. The interaction between me and another person is what thrills me. In these shows the audience is the acting partner. Those individuals are the ones you’re working with.
How did you decide on doing Prophet?
These are texts that I was interested in that the three major faiths share. The show is taken from the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah. It’s multimedia with contemporary images that put stories into modern times. It’s ninety nine minutes with no intermission. Gospel is two and a half hours with an intermission.
Where are you performing your shows?
I’ve played to diverse audiences across the country, in small towns with one traffic light and in big cities, mostly in churches but in theaters too. The church books the show for a fee and it charges tickets or gives it free to the community. I’ve performed in a thousand-year old cathedral in England and in church basements and cafeterias. If the story is good, it can be told around a campfire or on a little set.
What kind of advice do you have for aspiring actors and young actors today?
Actors are in a submissive position. They’re dependent on someone hiring them. I’d tell them to create your own work. Don’t wait around for the right play. Write a show for yourself. You have to have a story to tell or express. That’s where the creative urge arises. What do you want to say? With these biblical sources, I found my voice. I’m interested in the questions they ask. How are we supposed to live in this world? These ancient texts answer that question.