Actor Brandon Micheal Hall stars in the new CBS TV series, “God Friended Me,” and he graduated from the Juilliard School in New York.
But some of his most formative experiences as an actor happened in Greenville when Hall, a native of Anderson, attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
The theater program at SCGSAH not only educated him and nurtured his passion for the arts, “it was my safe haven. It saved me from a lot of things that could have gone in a different direction,” Hall said. “It’s a heavenly place to be.”
Hall, who attended Pendleton High School before transferring to SCGSAH, has fond memories of his Governor’s School teachers, especially Daniel Murray, who is chairman of the drama department, and Jayce Tromsness, who teaches Shakespeare and theater history.
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“I went to Pendleton High, and I was in musical theater, and that’s where I got introduced to it, but it was at the Governor’s School where I started to take the craft seriously and have a better respect for the craft and an understanding of the art,” Hall said. “I owe a lot of that to the teachers over there, Dan Murray and Jayce Tromsness. They just really sat me down and helped me understand what in the world I was getting into and to develop a love for it, and also to have a respect and reverence for it.”
Hall’s first role at Governor’s School was in “Romeo and Juliet,” in which he performed the prologue and epilogue. At the end, a kid came up to Hall and complimented his performance and said that he wanted to go into acting.
That was the moment when Hall realized, “I’m making a difference. This is my calling here.’”
Hall, who’s 25, graduated from Juilliard in 2015, and since then, he’s had roles in several TV series, including last year’s “The Mayor.”
In “God Friended Me,” Hall plays Miles, an atheist who receives a friend request from God on social media, and then finds himself thrust into situations where he helps others change their lives for the better.
It has been an interesting challenge, especially for a guy who grew up in the Bible belt.
“I had to put myself in the shoes of what it means to be an atheist. So to me artistically, that made me a little nervous because I was stepping out of my own comfort zone. But lo and behold, I’ve been able to have such a better dialogue and understanding of what spirituality means to me through this project. Which is exactly what I was hoping to get out of this project.”
“God Friended Me” has only been on the air since Sept. 30, and the network hasn’t announced yet whether the show will be picked up for a second season.
But Hall is excited for fans to see how Miles continues to respond to his unusual circumstances.
“For Miles, he doesn’t convert or he doesn’t change his faith. What happens is, he starts to open up, especially to his dad, to his relationship with his friends. You start to see him go through a love connection. … We see Miles go through millennial challenges and millennial ups and downs. You see him work through it. And the God account continues to toy with him through that process, too,” he said.
Hall still has relatives in the Upstate, although he doesn’t make it back to visit as often as he’d like. But, he said, he’s heard praise for the show from the folks back home
And in turn, he praised his hometown of Anderson for its support of the arts.
“That area is the Electric City, and it’s always vibing with the type of vibrant energy that’s running through it. I think it’s embedded in the town of Anderson. … When it comes to visual arts, when it comes to dancing, it’s across the board. Anderson is producing some really good artists.”
“God Friended Me” airs at 8 p.m. Sundays on CBS.