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Homeless man lands major role in Smith Center musical

Posted at 10:47 AM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 15:52:42-04

A homeless man shocked everyone, when he went looking for a job at The Smith Center.  He wanted to work backstage, but ended up getting a major part in a summer musical.  

Several years ago, Brett Etter lost his home, and the only thing he took with him was his trumpet.  

"You can always carry your trumpet with you," says Etter.  

Right now, he is staying at Catholic Charities, cleaning up in exchange for a bed.  

He showed up to auditions for Broadway in the H.O.O.D.'s summer musical called From Broadway with Love, hoping he could help out backstage.  

"I thought maybe they needed somebody to fix up the backdrop or something," says Etter.  

That's when the theater director noticed what was in Etter's bag.  

"He had some other stuff with him, and I said well what's that thing?" says theater director, Torrey Russell.

"I said well that's what I do!" says Etter, talking about his trumpet sitting in his bag.  

Less than a minute into his impromptu audition, Etter was given a part he didn't even know he was up for.  

"Mr. Brett will play the first note on stage in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center," says Russell.  

Russell says changing lives like Etter's is why he started Broadway in the H.O.O.D.

"Broadway in the H.O.O.D.  Hood stands for helping others open doors, and that's what we're all about," says Russell.  "We have former drug dealers, former gang bangers, we have people that are displaced at this time." 

Etter will take the stage in July for From Broadway with Love.  The musical features 16 of Broadway's hit musicals, including The Lion King, A Chorus Line, CATS, Hamilton, and Matilda.  

You can find more information and tickets here.