ORLANDO, Fla. – You see Wayne Brady every day on News 6 hosting "Let's Make a Deal," but News 6 anchor Julie Broughton was lucky enough to catch up with him during a visit to Central Florida.
The Orlando native brought his improv show to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on a day designated Wayne Brady Day by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
"You know what's really cool? Last night my daughter, we were having dinner before I got on the plane to go to Orlando, and she looks at me -- she's 16 and we were talking -- and she says, 'Dad, did you ever think you would go back to Orlando and it would be Wayne Brady Day?' And I said, 'No, but I can apply that to most things you would ask me about in my life,'" Brady said.
Brady said when he graduated from Dr. Phillips High School, his goal was simply to work.
"I wanted to sing and dance at Disney because I was hoping to be a Kid of the Kingdom at Disney. I thought, 'Oh, maybe if I stumble around and do the right things, maybe I can be on Broadway. Maybe I can in the chorus of a show on Broadway,'" Brady said. "Those were my aspirations because I couldn't see past what the wall was. Because I didn't know it existed."
Brady recently performed in "Freestyle Love Supreme" on Broadway and has starred as Lola in "Kinky Boots" on Broadway. The multitalented star is an actor, singer, dancer and improviser.
"I know, that for my skill set, I'm one of the only performers on TV who can walk on a stage and you say, 'Here are the parameters of the show,' and turn on the camera and I go. I will give you the show no matter what it is," he said.
All of those skills come into play in the fully improvised show he does with "Let's Make a Deal" announcer and University of Central Florida graduate Jonathan Mangum. The two met in the early '90s at Orlando's SAK Comedy Lab.
"He and I, after all these years together, we're like an old married couple with telepathy. So, on stage, it's just the two of us bouncing these improv scenes, songs and stories off each other as fast as possible."
The entire show is based on audience suggestions.
"People after all these years still say, 'Hey Wayne, I really love that show, but there's no way you really made all that stuff up.' Oh, yeah? Well, you're in the audience, you just gave me a suggestion, now you're on stage with me and I'm making it up. Now go tell everybody," Brady said.
Brady said 2020 promises to be a busy year. He's working on a follow-up album to 2008's Grammy nominated "A Long Time Coming." He said fans can expect that early next year.
Brady also owns a production company with his ex-wife. They're currently in production on a teen reality competition.
"It's really my search for the next quadruple threat who can kind of follow in my footsteps to do a show like 'Whose Line' or go onto SNL. If they have the basic skills, I can teach them the funny," he said. "It's really based on if I had a mentor who could have said, 'Here, take me these things ... Take it out to LA,' and given me a vision even past my high school years."
Brady said he's also developing a show called "Young, Gifted and Whack."
"Which is about my childhood in Tangelo Park, being bused back and forth to Dr. Phillips Elementary, going from my world to a completely different world and being a kid in the middle," Brady said. "And especially here in Orlando, knowing I can trace my growth of being this kid who wanted but didn't know exactly what I wanted and no one was giving me, then once I got to Dr. Phillips, I got a taste and then that journey started."
You can catch Brady on "Let's Make a Deal" weekdays at 3 p.m. on News 6.