Just The Facts
Birthday: April 18. “I think my mom and stepdad may come out. If I have dinner with friends, great. But I”m always open for a surprise party, so if anyone’s planning anything, make sure my hair and makeup are done and my outfit is cute!”
Otherwise Known As: Taylor, DAYS, 2011; Reese, AMC, 2008-09; Ava, DAYS, 2008; Carly, GH, 2001-05.
Golden Girl: Braun nabbed an Emmy in 2009 for her role as DAYS’s Ava.
Salem Pals: “I saw Ari Zucker [Nicole] recently. She’s amazing. She’s such a doll. And through Twitter, which I am trying to be good at, I contact people through there. It’s so weird: lately the universe has been dropping phone calls and notes and people who have been in my head. The last month has been full of that and I’m like, ‘Universe, thank you!’ I got a sweet, sweet text from Kate Mansi [Abigail] and she seems to be doing really well. I’m happy she’s getting some good stuff and doing great work.”
Tweet Her!: @TamaraBraun.
“It’s been a pretty blessed eight months or so, I have to say,” reflects Tamara Braun of her life since leaving DAYS OF OUR LIVES last year. “If I’m not going to be working, I’m really enjoying my life and the opportunities that have presented themselves. Sometimes in life, you just have to say ,’Yes’ for things and I’m happy I have been. It’s been quite a journey of special, special events.”
She’s not exaggerating. In short order, the actress attended the Kennedy Center Honors and dined at the White House, chatted with President Obama, caught a private tribute to Paul McCartney and went to the Grammy. Right now, though, Braun is performing in Tennessee in the Summer at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre in Burbank, CA.
“The play is based on the life of Tennessee Williams and I love this role: it’s fantastic,” she enthuses. “I play different aspects of Tennessee Williams: I am like the inner voices in his head. It’s just so relateable, not only for the artist, but people in general. We all have those voices in our head, you know, the ones that tell us we can do something or can’t do something, th ones that fight with us. It’s just a matter of how loud the demons were, but Tennessee Williams’ spoke up [laughs]!
I think it’s what made him so incredibly creative. his life was a very colorful one. And what I love about this character is that I feel like she embodies all of those great women characters he wrote. I feel Maggie from Cat on a Hot Tin roof. I feel Blanche from Streetcar and Amanda from Glass Menagerie. My friend who is directing this play, Sal Romeao, has been trying to get me to do a play, maybe 15 years. And it has just never been the right time I thought, ‘Okay, time for my actor’s soul to work again.’ I have really been enjoying the process. It’s different. Very different. There is no take two, which I’m very aware of. not that there was much of that left on daytime, but you still could do a pickup! it’s a nice challenge.”
The play, which opened on April 14, will run through May 20, and Braun admits she had trepidation about getting back on the stage. “It’s definitely daunting!” she says, “I think it’s only natural to have your nerves come up and go, ‘Oh my God. I committed to this and I’m going to be performing live.’ There is a great rush a I do love that, but there is no hiding in it. You’re right there with the audience and it’s an intimate theater, so it’s really right there. But I am looking forward to it.”
Now, about meeting the president…. “It was absolutely amazing,” she declares. “I got to go to a dinner that Hillary [Clinton] hosted, which is unbelievable, and go to the White House and meet the president and Michelle Obama. It was really special because the day of the Kennedy Center Honors, it was the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing and I was pretty torn. He was the most important man in my life and I thought I should be home with my family. then I thought about the invitation that I had and I thought, ‘Opa — which is what I called my grandfather — would want me to be there.’ When I met the president, I actually shared with him how it was such an honor to meet him that day because one of the things my grandfather was most excited and passionate about was getting Obama into office. My grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, so he knew the struggles in oppression and he was just very fired up about Obama. I felt that my Opa would be proud that I was standing with the president of the United States, our first black president, so it was not only just incredible to be there and meet them, it was also a special day to be there. I felt like my grandfather’s soul was there with me, which was lovely.”
She also met Neil Diamond that night, which sparked a special memory from childhood. “Neil Diamond was my first concert,” she explains. “My babysitters took me. I think they had to babysit me that night and then got an extra ticket like, ‘Let’s get an extra one and see if the parents let us bring the kid.’ But we sat front row! And in the middle of the concert, Neil Diamond started talking to me. He said, ‘There’s a cute little girl in the front row and she’s waving to me.’ And he started talking to me. At the end of hte concert, one of the friends who was with the babysitters said, ‘Do you have anything she can have? A souvenir?’ And they handed me this guitar pick. I have had that guitar pick forever. And I brought it along with me and I talked to him about it and I showed him the guitar pick and he said, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ He told me what the letters stood for on the pick. It was so interesting. I had such a crush on him after I went to the concert, too! I cried listening to his albums! I’m also not the kind of person who would go up to somebody, but my friend encouraged me to bring the guitar pick and another friend said, ‘You have to go up to him if you have the chance.’ I didn’t want to bother him, but I did!”
As if that wasn’t heady enough, a few months later, she partied along with the biggest musicians in the world during the Grammy weekend, which included attending the MusiCares event honoring Paul McCartney. “It was phenomenal,” she raves. “The amount of music that he has created has touched so many spirits and souls and changed people’s lives. Everyone has a memory of one song of his. I was just hanging out with Alicia [Minshew, ex-Kendall, AMC] and Willow, her daughter, and she said, ‘Ask Willow who her favorite group is,’ and Willow said, ‘The Beatles!’ She’s 2! It even touched a 2-year-old’s life! The tribute, all of those musicians honoring him? It was an absolutely powerful evening. So special.”
She was also on hand at the Clive Davis’s party the next night, held in the hotel where Whitney Houston was found dead earlier. “I always listen to the news, but I was running late and didn’t that day and when I got into the car, the driver said, ‘Have you been listening to the news? They just announced Whitney Houston died,'” she shudders. “I’ve never met this woman, but I am sure I had a reaction many people did: I was punched in the gut. And then I was going to a party hosted by teh man who made her career? I twas surreal, like do you stay or not? Do you celebrate or not? And Sean Combs came out and he really changed the mood. It was very somber and heavy fro the first few performers and then he said, ‘Let’s celebrate. Whitney loved music. She loved parties. She loved this party.’ It was hard: you felt guilty. She touched so many people’s lives.”
What brings her in such contact with the music biz? “Well, my album’s going to drop soon; I’ll let you know when it does,” she jokes. “And I’ll be appearing on THE VOICE [laughs]. No, actually, I’ve just been really fortunate.
Despite her hobnobbing with music greats, daytime is still close to her heart. “I’d love the opportunity to go back and create or re-create roles that I have done,” she smiles. “There is so much talk that daytime is dying and has no home and I’m not sure that’s the case. I think it’s changing and it’s growing. I really believe that there will always be a home for daytime because there will always be fans and people who want to live that home. I would be happy to go back. I’m an actor who likes to work and do different things. To me, it’s always about a fit and finding a good fit in a place where I can express my creativity.”
Tennessee in the Summer opened April 13 at the Sidewalk Studio Theatre, 4150 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA. and runs through May 20. For more, go to sidewalkstudiotheater.info.