MAKING WAVES: Honoring Wren Brown

February 19, 2019

Wren Brown Bio:

A versatile actor with a deep melodious voice, Wren T. Brown is a fourth generation Angeleno, and also a fourth generation theatrical. He is very proud to be in his fourth decade as an Actor, Producer and Director. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Wren is descended from a long line of talented performers, including his father, jazz trumpeter Troy Brown Jr., his paternal grandmother, Bertha McElroy (a dancer at the Cotton Club NYC), and his paternal grandfather, actor-comedian Troy Brown Sr. (5th black actor in Screen Actors Guild). His maternal grandmother, Ruth Givens, was a torch singer and dancer (Cotton Club Los Angeles and movies) and his maternal grandfather, Lee Young Sr., was the first black staff musician in Hollywood (Columbia Pictures 1946) and the drummer and musical director for Nat King Cole. His great grandfather, Willis Handy Young, was a multi-instrumentalist, teacher and owner of his own Vaudeville troupe at the turn of the 20th Century (The New Orleans Strutters).

Among Wren's film appearances are: "Beyond the Lights," "Waiting to Exhale," "Heart and Souls," "Under Siege 2: Dark Territory," "The Dinner," "Hollywood Shuffle," "Biker Boyz," "The Importance of Being Earnest," "Midnight Clear" and David Mamet's "Edmond." On television, Wren co-starred as Whoopi Goldberg's brother and comic foil in NBC's "Whoopi" and was a regular in "Flipper: The New Adventures," as well as CBS's "Bless This House." He has also guest starred or recurred on: "The West Wing," "The Practice," "Touched by an Angel," "Frasier," "Seinfeld," "Charmed," "Star Trek: Voyager," "Eli Stone," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Women's Murder Club," "Everybody Hates Chris," "The Game," and as Professor Wilkins on "Half & Half." Wren also starred opposite John Larroquette in Hallmark's "McBride: Tune in for Murder."

Most recently, Wren has also been seen in the award-winning Amazon series, "Transparent" and "Dear White People," "Being Mary Jane," "Grey's Anatomy" (recurring), and as the voice of Virgil Simpson, on "The Simpsons." Wren will next be seen in Season 2 of Seth McFarlane's hit sci-fi series "The Orville." Some of his theatre credits include: Shakespeare's "As You Like It" (Drama-Logue Award winner), "On Borrowed Time," "Burning Hope," his NAACP Image Award-nominated performance in "Jeffrey's Plan" and most recently, The Public Theatre's "The Gospel at Colonus" at the Delacorte (Sept 2018). Wren has appeared in over 100 commercials and a broad range of voice-over and spoken word projects including being tapped by acclaimed pianist Billy Childs to recite the classic Langston Hughes poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" on Childs' GRAMMY Award nominated album "I've Known Rivers." He narrated The History Channel's "U.S.S. Constellation: Battling For Freedom," The Learning Channel series "Scene of the Crime," and "E! True Hollywood Story" on the life of Diana Ross. He also voiced Disney's Br'er Rabbit for various projects and can currently be heard narrating Laurence Fishburne's "Bronzeville," a 10 episode 1940s-era Chicago podcast.In his directorial debut, he directed over thirty-five actors and actresses in their performances in "Inspired By... The Bible Experience," winner of the 2007 Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year in which Wren also narrated the book of Matthew. In April 2018, Wren made his theatrical directing debut on the Lone Tree Arts Center (Colorado) stage reviving August Wilson's cultural classic "Fences."

In 1999, Wren made his debut as a producer with the critically acclaimed feature film, "Boesman & Lena" starring Danny Glover and Angela Bassett, followed by Dianne Reeves' concert film of her GRAMMY Award winning CD, "In the Moment: Live in Concert." He has produced an array of short films for new directors.In 2007, Wren founded Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT), the first African American professional Equity theatre company in Los Angeles history where he serves as its producing artistic director from inception to the institution's now 10 year anniversary. ERT, under Wren's leadership, has produced Ovation Award and NAACP Theatre Award winning productions of August Wilson's "Two Trains Running," Regina Taylor's "Crowns," Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin In the Sun," Jeff Stetson's "Fraternity," Phillip Hayes Dean's "Robeson," "The Gospel at Colonus," of which the Los Angeles Times wrote "Theater at its most healing, electrifying and transcendent, 'Colonus' demands attendance." (June 2015) and the 2017 musical hit Clarke Peters' "Five Guys Named Moe" (May 18-June 11, 2017) which the Los Angeles Times reviewed as " of the more entertaining experiences available to humanity..." Wren periodically gives a six-week entertainment industry seminar through the ERT Performance Lab entitled, "Purpose, Passion & Possibility" as well as being an active cultural/motivational lecturer, recently interviewing filmmaker/executive Reginald Hudlin in the second annual Black Business Leaders Hall of Fame Induction event (Sept 2018).

Wren has formerly served on the boards of Antioch University, Los Angeles, the Screen Actors Guild, the Friends of Washington Preparatory High School, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and the Charles R. Drew University.


Wren Brown