What's Next With Juwan Crawley
The Broadway actor, musician and DUMBO House member shares 27 of his favourite things
Based in Brooklyn, Juwan Crawley made his New York debut on stage in the original cast of Spamilton, an award-winning, off-Broadway musical revue that spoofed Hamilton and earnt the breakout actor a nomination for the Clive Barnes Award. At the age of 22, he starred in Casey Nicholaw’s Broadway production of Aladdin, before going on to star in Tina Fey’s hit Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
When it comes to his music, Crawley’s sound is influenced heavily by gospel, and he often draws from his early experiences of singing and playing the drums in church. Since releasing his EP in 2020, he’s now working towards recording a full album.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your own music?
‘It really depends on the song – sometimes the entire hook just appears in my head, like a gift from the muses. That aside, though, usually I’m inspired to write about a specific moment in time. Recently, I’ve been writing a lot about love. I used to focus on trauma. I thought love songs were overrated, but I was wrong.’
What does authentic representation in theatre look like?
‘Precisely what theatre looks like now, but not all white, not all cis. Writers, producers, directors, music directors, pit players, cast, crew, voters, audiences – full of people from every walk of life. Every skin colour and tone, ethnicity, gender, all of it. It’s not hard to imagine. The hard part is getting those in positions of power to willingly allow more room at every table, and equitable representation at those tables.’
What do you hope to inspire in a new generation of creatives?
‘My greatest hope is that the freedom I’ve found in myself becomes so profound that just by merely being in the world authentically, I liberate others into the fullness of themselves.’
How does your queerness impact your art?
‘It removes the limitations from my art. It allows me the freedom to express how I feel in whichever way feels best.’
Seven of my favourite songs
‘Sing To The Moon’ by Laura Mvula
‘Misty’ by Sarah Vaughan
‘Love On Top’ by Beyoncé
‘Cranes In The Sky’ by Solange
‘Be Good’ by Gregory Porter
‘Cross My Mind’ by Jill Scott
‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’ by Leo Sayer
‘Nothing human is alien to me.’
Five favourite places to eat and drink in New York
La Rina in Fort Greene
Le Gamin in Greenpoint
Ponty Bistro in Harlem
Simple Cafe in Greenpoint
The Back Room in the LES
Four people who inspire you and why
Black women – they inspire me the most. They’re the blue print of humanity, the creators of culture, and the most beautiful of us. What is there not to aspire to?
Pharrell Williams – because of his endless ability to grow. Year to year, project to project, Pharrell is one of the only artists who’s found the endless expansion within himself; I want that for my life as well.
Maya Angelou – no explanation needed. Her books are amazing.
Myself – waking up every day, doing my best, daring to be all that I am while looking this good. I’m kinda dope, and I hope you think you are too.
Three pieces of critical theatre that everyone should see or read
We’re Gonna Die by Young Jean Lee
God Bless The Child by Molly Davies
Shuffle Along by Aubrey Lyles and Flournoy Miller
Two favourite games
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft: Legions