One on One with Composer Britta Johnson

Life After is on stage June 11 - July 17!

Playwright/Composer Britta Johnson
Playwright/Composer Britta Johnson

By Ata Younan 

The Toronto-based playwright/composer talks her favorite Chicago restaurant (hint: huge portions of Italian food) and why she cries tears of joy every day in the rehearsal room.

Ata Younan: What are your plans the night before the first preview?

Britta Johnson: We will have a dress rehearsal and then I will likely be watching Project Runway. The place where I am staying has an entire channel dedicated to Project Runway. I have been watching so much Project Runway. I have learned so much about fashion from about ten years ago. What I won't be doing?... is sleeping. I can't sleep the night before a first preview.

AY: Inquiring minds would also like to know…what’s your favorite restaurant or food joint in Chicago?

BJ: The food in Chicago has really been living up to the hype! La Scarola! Huge portions of cozy Italian food and every time I've gone, I've made a new friend. I think huge portions of cozy Italian food make people especially friendly.

AY: What’s your favorite snack?

BJ: I love a honey crisp apple with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese.

AY: Anything fun or interesting that you’re currently reading or listening to? Books, albums, podcasts, etc?

BJ: I am obsessed with Yebba's album "Dawn" and have been listening to it so much since I've been here, I think because it talks about grief so beautifully. It's an incredible album. (Also, did I mention I have been watching a lot of Project Runway?)

AY: Besides phone or wallet, what are three essentials you always keep in your handbag/bookbag/pockets?

BJ: My Notebook, a pencil, a fidget spinner (I have anxious hands and a fidget spinner is a new discovery for me! Our music director, Chris Kong, bought me a set of six during our rehearsal process and I swear they help me to stay calm-ish!)

AY: What are three things you can’t live without?

My sisters, my piano, my dog.

AY: What’s a superpower you wish you had?

BJ: I wish I could play the double bass. I know this isn't a superpower but Skyler (who plays Kate in the show) plays the double bass and it seems like a superpower to me.

AY: What’s a trend you’d like to see disappear forever?

BJ: Low-rise jeans.

AY: How many times have you cried during the rehearsal process?

BJ: Honestly? Almost every day. And I'm not even embarrassed! This is my first time working on a production since the pandemic and I'm just so grateful to be back with this amazing team. Sometimes my gratitude comes out of my eyes. It's who I am.

AY: If you could play any part in the cast (male or female) who would you understudy for a day?

Hannah!!! She delivers the laughs and then she makes us cry.

AY: What's your favorite room/space in the Goodman?

BJ: The Healy Rehearsal Hall. This rehearsal process has been a highlight of my whole life (for real) so I have to choose the room where it happened.

Ata Younan is the Publicity Manager for Goodman Theatre.

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