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After following sisters onto the stage, actor Brandon Bieber comes home for Fringe play

When Brandon Bieber was a toddler, his parents took him to his older sisters’ dance recitals.

Soon, he was riveted to the sight of their sequins and sashays. When a call went out for children to be part of a Westport Playhouse production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” his sister tried out.

“They said, ‘We like her — and we’ll take the boy, too,’” Bieber said.

For more than a decade, Bieber has worked as a Broadway and touring dancer and actor. He’s back in St. Louis to direct a St. Lou Fringe Festival play about a stock-car racer challenging traditional female stereotypes, called “Race Cars and Romance.”

The production is a musical comedy set in Alabama that resonates with Bieber’s Midwestern roots.

“Even though I'm a New Yorker now, I know St. Louis audiences,” Bieber said. “I grew up with them I know their sensibility and a sense of humor.”

Bieber grew up in Ballwin and graduated from St. Louis University High School in 2003. He got his start as a Muny Kid before attending The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

St. Louis Public Radio  talked with Bieber about the Fringe play and his career.

Nancy Fowler: What made you want to come back to St. Louis and do this work with The Fringe?

Brandon Bieber: My two sisters went to Nerinx Hall. They are a very forward-thinking women; my mother is as well. And I felt the need to do them proud. I think the progressive woman is a really wonderful character. The journey that she takes throughout, I find very special and very poignant in today's world.

NF: Did you have any conversations with your sisters or your mother about how you might approach this project — and if so what were those?

BB: Yes … basically I'm like, “Well here's this line,’ I'm like, ‘I'm not sure.’”

NF: Can you tell me what that line was?

BB: The character says, “All I need is a man to hold me,” like, ‘I'm not quite sure — does this work? Would you say this?’ And my mom was like, “Yeah, yeah.”

And my sister was like, “No. No way, no, no, no … this woman would never say this.” And our writer is so lovely and such a Southern gentleman and you know he's like, “I didn't intend it to come across [like that]” and I was like, “Of course.”

And he's written something … even better, and it's going to be good. It's just great to be having those conversations in the world right now.

If you go:

Fringe Festival’s ‘Race Cars and Romance’

Where: Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square

When: Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 23-25

How much: $25

Tickets: Metrotix website

Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

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