Gianna Tricomi, Staff Writer for the student newspaper, The Current
Dreams Do Happen At Brookdale

Brookdale has produced yet another notable alumnus. Tommy Kaiser graduated BCC in 2020 and has embarked on a professional theater career, traveling the world with the National Tour of “Rent.”

In 2021, Broadway produced a National Tour of the hit production “Rent” in celebration of the popular musical’s 25th anniversary. The production visited all major U.S cities, as well as Japan and performed over 1,000 shows on the road.

Shortly after graduation, Kaiser was cast as a “swing” understudy. The timing could not have been more perfect as Kaiser was trending on TikTok as a musical talent and had recently won Broadway World’s NextonStage competition.

Despite what some fans believed, TikTok and NextonStage were not Kaiser’s first steps in the industry. Prior to the tour, Kaiser was heavily involved in performing arts during high school, starring in multiple productions throughout his youth.

But when Kaiser came to Brookdale, he decided to step down from the stage and focus on his books. With a plan of attending BCC for a year, Kaiser expected he would then transfer to a 4-year university.

However, during his time at Brookdale, COVID struck, and he decided to continue his classes online, where he eventually graduated a semester early with his associate’s degree in liberal arts.

Due to the nature of the virus, Kaiser was unable to participate in any of Brookdale’s productions. However, that did not stop him from using TikTok as an outlet to share his talents and continue his passion for Broadway.

With a degree under his belt and his social media presence growing, Kaiser felt it was the best time to move to New York City and pursue theater full time. Once there, the opportunities started flooding in, and he accepted the chance to tour with “Rent.”

“The audition process was not how I ever expected an audition process to go,” Kaiser said “The casting directors emailed me and said that my soon-to-be director saw my performances on BroadwayWorld and was interested in seeing me for the roles of Mark and Roger.”

Kaiser agreed to meeting with the team and auditioning for the roles. He was then cast as a swing understudy for the two male leads, as well as all the male ensemble roles. In total, the performer had to learn six parts.

While on tour, Kaiser ended up playing both the roles of Mark and Roger; a dream he had since he was a little kid.

“It was fantastic. I grew to really love traveling and made friends I see myself having in my life for a really long time,” Kaiser said. “I grew a lot of confidence in my abilities.”

“I wouldn’t be where I am without Brookdale,” he said. “Its flexible schedule allowed me the room to pursue theater at the same time as my education. I was able to commute to the city, enter competitions and attend auditions in my free time.”

“Brookdale is a great place to be when you don’t know where you’re going. They give you the time and resources to figure it out,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser advises current and future students that it is OK to be confused about your future. “Your journey is going to be different from everyone else’s. Take your own steps and don’t follow anyone else.”

“Listen to yourself and follow your heart. You know deep down what you want to do and Brookdale will help you do that,” he said. “They have so many elective courses to help you pursue your interests. Really focus on your craft because that’s what you are going to be best at.”

Now back in New York City, Kaiser continues to share his talents and personality on his platforms and to work on his craft as a performer. He often makes appearances at Stage 42, an off-Broadway theater, located on 422 West 42nd Street, as well as continues to entertain his fans on his highest-streamed platforms, TikTok and Instagram.

While his next project is not yet confirmed, Kaiser is confident that the National Tour of “Rent” was only the beginning of his career. In the meantime, he will continue to attend auditions and enhance his skills in acting, singing and his new hobby, dancing.