-Welcome back to the show.
-I’m back! -I’m back. -And congratulations
on everything that is happening. We’re going, what, final season
of Orange is the New Black. -I know. -You’ve got
a music video that came out, -which was amazing, by the way.
Phenomenal… -Yes. Thank you. -I directed it, wrote it. Thank
you. -That was really, really– -You-you did direct it and…
-Yes, wrote the music. -It’s-it’s phenomenal. Such
a beautiful song. -Thank you. And, on top of that, you’re
doing Shakespeare in the Park. -Let’s talk about Orange is the
New Black first. -Yes. Okay. -Final season. Is it–
-Final season. Are you watching? -Is it bittersweet?
-Are you watching? -I’m-I’m gonna binge.
That’s what I do. -Okay, good. -Okay, good, good.
-I’m– I-I have to see the end -of Taystee’s journey.
-Good, good. Yes, yes. But-but it must be bittersweet,
’cause it’s-it’s been a huge part of your life,
and now this is it. -It is. I mean, it’s been seven,
eight years for me. -Right. I was 22 when I started.
I’m about to be 30 now. And it’s changed my life,
you know? Completely changed my life,
as an actor, -as an activist,
as a human being. -Right. Um, so I have– I just owe Jenji
Kohan, the writer, so much. I’m so grateful that the world
has fallen in love with Taystee and has fallen in love with me
and allowed me to be myself, -truly be myself, through this
character. -That’s beautiful. -So I’m gon’ miss her,
but it’s time to go. -(laughs) I think we’re gonna miss her,
but we’re gonna love traveling with you
on your upcoming journeys. -Yeah. -Because,
as we’ve seen, you’re-you’re– you have multi–
uh, you’re multi-talented. -You know? Music,
acting, directing. -Thank you. -Doing everything
is in your future. -Thank you. -Shakespeare in the Park though
is something -I know. -I wouldn’t have expected.
-Really? Because you had movie offers. Oh, yeah.
(laughs) And then you were like,
“No, I’m gonna go do -a free production in the park.”
-I know. -Why?
-For nothing, Jesus. -(laughs)
-Uh… (laughs) -Why?
-Um, because I didn’t know if this opportunity would
ever come again in my career, -to play Beatrice,
to play the lead. -Right. Um, and the movie was a great
movie, but I wasn’t the lead. It was a rom-com, but now I get
to be in another rom-com, speaking Shakespeare,
showing people that I’m trained, -I’ve done this, I know what I’m
doing with this language, -Yes. and to also give opportunity
to women that look like me, -to young girls that look
like me and say, -(cheering) yes, you can be dark-skinned
and thick– honey, size 16– and you can do this. -You can be a Beatrice.
-WOMAN: Yeah! And so that’s why I took it.
For no money. (cheering and applause) People are loving
your performance. Um, people are raving
about the production. -It’s-it’s in the park.
It’s a different world, -Yes. because, I mean, like, it’s–
there are some days -where it rains. What do you do
when it rains? -Oh, my gosh. We perform in the rain. -And there’s no covering…
-You’re not covered? No. No covering for us.
No covering from the audience. It’s an 1,800-seat house. At least 1,000 people are
still there to watch this show. -That is amazing.
-It’s crazy. And it’s been–
It actually fuels us. ‘Cause, like, people are, like,
so hyped and they’re like… -(screeches) Come to see us
do this thing. -Right. I’m like,
“Y’all don’t want to go home?” But, um… but they are so ready
to hear this story, -and so you have to deliver
everything you got. -Right. And there’s bugs.
There’s raccoons. -(laughter)
-Yes. I mean, it’s-it’s
a world of wonder out there. -(laughing)
-Uh… but it’s been fun. I wouldn’t have taken it back
for the world. -Wouldn’t take it back.
-Shakespeare’s one of the hardest plays
to perform though. -I mean, like you said,
it’s the language. -Yes. -It’s everybody knowing it
so well. -Yes. Was-was a little bit of that
daunting at all? No. It’s just getting
the opportunity, -’cause you know you have it
within you, right? -Right. So, to finally get
to tell this story, -to make this l–
It’s set in 2020, -Yes. in-in a small town out
of Atlanta, Georgia, around Atlanta, Georgia. So, I’m from South Carolina. -(cheering)
-I just get to be me, unapologetically be who I am. If I’m saying, “O Lord, he will
hang upon him like a disease,” I’m gonna put it how I would.
“Lord, he will hang upon him -like a disease!”
-That’s amazing. -So we’re making it very,
you know, relatable. -Right. It’s Shakespeare,
it’s relatable, it’s now, -it’s you.
-Yes. It’s black! (cheering and applause) It’s black. Where do you–
where do you go from here? I know you’re going to the show. You’re actually gonna perform
tonight. -Where else do you go from here?
I– -Yes. Like, what are–
what are your dreams and where do you just want
to see yourself headed? I want to do those things that
surprise people like yourself. When you was like,
“I didn’t know you was gonna do Shakespeare
next.” I want that to be every inch
of my career, where people are like, “Wow, I
didn’t know she could do that.” And I just pray that I can be one of the best actors known
to this generation. I think that’s gonna happen. -(cheering) -Every moment
that you’re onstage is amazing. The Public Theater’s
free Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About
Nothing runs through June 23. And Orange is the New Black
returns for its final season on Netflix July 26. Danielle Brooks, everybody!