Lake Oswego resident & Broadway producer creates projects at home
As a creative person, Lake Oswego resident and Broadway producer Corey Brunish had to, well, get creative.
Isolation and stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic have made life extremely difficult for the entertainment industry.
Broadway shows have halted, movie theaters have closed and it's been difficult to film with the governor's ban on gatherings.
But despite the closures, Brunish — who was most recently on the list of producers for the Broadway show "Come From Away," which has since been put on pause due to the restrictions — has not stopped working.
The three-time Tony Award-winner has 10 new projects — spanning from documentary to TV series and Broadway shows — coming down the pipeline, all while self-isolating with his wife Jessica and nine-month-old daughter Olivia.
Brunish has been involved with theater for most of his life — acting, directing, producing and the like. In Portland, he started developing old buildings and got involved in real estate, "restoring them and giving mom and pop shops a chance to make a living," he said.
But now Broadway is closed through September and many retailers are still not open for business.
"It's a really interesting time," Brunish said. "To say it's unexpected and unforeseen and unprecedented — we're all in the same boat — but this seems like a double dose to me."
Though Brunish said he's unable to talk openly about certain projects right now, one of the projects he's helping produce is a documentary about Eddie Kramer, a record producer who's recorded Jimi Hendrix albums and Woodstock.
"He worked with The Beatles at one point. He's kind of a legend in his 40, 50 years as an audio engineer," Brunish said.
Another project he's working on is a bio-musical with a rock legend for Broadway.
"We're going to do it in a very unorthodox way," Brunish said. "It will be something unusual, something pushing the boundaries of the preconception of what a bio-musical will be."
While Brunish's job is pretty hands-off at the beginning of a project — as a producer, Brunish said he's the wrangler and does hiring, develops concepts and ensures finances are in place — it's been easier to work from home.
"We just orchestrate, kind of like a conductor, so we put the pieces together," he said.
And when it comes to filming a documentary, he added that it's pretty straightforward and is easier to maintain physical distance.
"All you need is a person in a room to interview them and then you package that with stock footage and you have yourself a documentary," said Brunish, adding that feature films are trickier because you have to sequester the cast and isolate them from the outside world.
Though Brunish isn't working on any feature films at the moment, he is planning to work on a TV series.
"We will see how that pans out," he said.
For now, Brunish continues to stay in his Lake Oswego home, walking four miles a day, spending time with his family and listening to Broadway cast albums.
And if all goes well for the next six months, "we'll have something to show the world," he said.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.