The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Brian Bohlender: City College student wears many pants for many roles on-stage
Actor and City College Student Brian Bohlender. Jason Pierce | Photo Editor | [email protected]

Anastasia Sher-Jones

Guest Writer

[email protected]


He has been the introverted best friend. The dashing, young bachelor. A highly intelligent monkey.

Brian Bohlender has lived many lives. His closet holds everything from shimmering hot pants to period-era dress. During the day he’s a normal City College student, but as the sun dissipates into the evening, Bohlender is taking his acting career to center stage.

“I just auditioned for show after show,” says Bohlender. “I kept getting community and supporting roles, and then a lead in ‘Trevor.’ [That] was my first lead in Sacramento.”

Bohlender portrayed an 11-year-old chimpanzee for the starring role in the subversive comedy “Trevor” at Big Idea Theater in the fall of 2016. He says he enjoys roles that challenge norms and embraced the chance to play this unusual character. He says parts such as Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast” would be an easy fit, but would not be as interesting. Since his role in “Trevor,” theater has consumed his life.

He wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It just feels right,” Bohlender says, talking about how he found his passion for theater. “It’s like putting on a really comfy pair of pants. When I was doing music, the [pants] fi t fi ne, but it wasn’t like a dream. Theater was this one thing in my life that just filled a hole where God is. There’s a lot of empathy involved, too. You have to express many different lives that you haven’t lived. No other profession in the world lets you do that.”

Like any profession, theater can be, well, dramatic. Bohlender says each show has its difficulties. Along with 8 1⁄2-hour long rehearsals and only one day off a week, the theater crew can make or break a show.

“A good way to describe acting is like when you have a conversation,” he says. “It should be like throwing a ball back and forth to each other. That’s what acting is. But sometimes you have people only throwing balls to themselves, and it can be very frustrating.”

Bohlender started acting in his hometown of Turlock. Junior high musicals and youth community theater gave way to a passion for acting. After moving to the Sacramento theater scene, Bohlender tested the waters with dozens of auditions, and even worked on an independent web series.

At 21 years old, Bohlender made his debut with Green Valley Theater Company in the fall of 2015. He played the supporting role of Rocky in “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which was a big success. With Sacramento’s eyes on him and his glittering shorts, Bohlender continued to audition for shows that would help him grow as an actor.
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He has made many connections with co-actors through the years.

Chloe King has worked with him as a peer, and later as a director, at Big Idea Theater.

“I think that one of his traits as an actor is that he can play very diverse roles well,” says King. “Not just comedic versus dramatic, but he can go from being one person to being an entirely different person really well, which is really cool.”

Bohlender met one of his closest friends, Brandon Lancaster, through acting. The two have worked together since Bohlender’s start in Sacramento.

“Brian is someone who has had his sights set on becoming a fully professional actor since I’ve met him,” says Lancaster. “He has made theater the top priority in his life and it shows [by] the quality of work he has under his belt now. I have no doubt we’ll be seeing him on Broadway within the next 10 years.”

Last fall, Bohlender started an independent theater company with other local actors named Hungry Moth Players. They put on their first production, “Much Ado About Nothing,” at the beginning of this year. Bohlender played Benedick, the lead role. On the night of their show, they did not expect to fill the 30-or-so seats at Kupros Craft House, a bar and grill in Midtown.

There was a raging storm that night. Trees were knocked down in the streets and power outages affected entire blocks. Within the first half-hour of the play’s opening, the entire room was packed with eager viewers, like a well-lit can of soaked, ragged sardines.

With the success Bohlender has found in acting, his parents couldn’t be more proud. His mom, Julie Bohlender, smiles when boasting about his accomplishments.

“I was all for it,” says Julie, when talking about the beginning of her son’s interest in acting. “I’m a true believer that if there’s something that you enjoy doing, then you need to pursue it.”

Julie remarked that her favorite performance by her son was his role in “Trevor,” but she especially enjoyed seeing him “all dressed in blue” during his seventh-grade role as Genie in “Aladdin.”

Bohlender was recently accepted into one of the most prestigious performing arts schools in California: the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, California. With plans to move in the summer, Bohlender will soon give his last bow as a local Sacramento performer.

“Once I go out there, I can take on L.A. or New York, something like that,” he says.

Bohlender says one of his dream roles is to play Shakespeare’s Hamlet. With the stage set for success, he may no longer need to ask the question that the well-known prince Hamlet posed: “What dreams may come?”

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