Neil Brewer is one of those natural actors, and he’s serious about his art. The 19-year-old, who resembles a young Jimmy Stewart, grew up in Lanesville, Ind., where his classmates considered him the “creepy kid.” But he who laughs last laughs loudest, and Brewer’s laughter can be heard ’round the world.
He admires Kevin Spacey and Edward Norton, calling both the “great good guy everyone loves, as well as the great bad guy everyone hates.” His roles to date certainly bear this out.
Brewer fell in love with the stage during an IU Southeast acting workshop in the eighth grade. His parents paid out-of-district tuition so he could attend Floyd Central High School, which has a nationally known theater program.
Everything didn’t come up roses right away, though. “The talent pool had grown, and I was eaten alive that first year,” he admits. He worked his way up to playing Jerry in Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story,” one of his favorite roles. As a senior, Brewer traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Floyd Central’s “Zombie Prom.”
While in high school, he got to produce, direct and act in “The Odd Couple.” He played Felix, the nerdy one. Recently, he was the awkward teen in Bunbury Theatre’s production of “Rabbit Hole,” and he played a high-strung group-home resident in Clarksville Little Theatre’s “The Boys Next Door.”
Brewer even scored a starring role in Barry Blaustein’s film “Guys ’N’ Divas: Battle of the High School Musicals,” which is scheduled to air on Showtime this fall.
He heads to IUS this fall, majoring in high-school education. “The world needs more good teachers,” he says. That may be true, but the universe might have other ideas: Although he has no plans to actively seek fame and fortune, he won’t squawk if it comes knocking.
For now, you can catch him stocking frozen foods at Kroger in New Albany, and he’ll appear in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” at Clarksville Little Theater in September. —Sherry Deatrick
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