A native of the Carolinas, Brandon grew up as his “Daddy’s roadie” and helped set up hundreds of club shows before he was old enough to get into the venues. His professional career began as a teenager and has included theater, film, concerts and television. Across those mediums, he has found success as a performer, producer, technician and engineer. Brandon made his Broadway debut in James Joyce’s The Dead beside Christopher Walken and Marni Nixon (the singing voice behind the biggest stars of film’s Golden era including: Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Woods and Deborah Kerr) who later became his go-to voice teacher. He appeared in the Tony Award winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie opposite Sutton Foster (Younger). He continued his Broadway performing career in the Tony Award Winning production of Assassins with Denis O’Hare and Neil Patrick Harris, Good Vibrations the Beach Boys Musical, and Catch Me If You Can. He played Scott in the hit Off-Broadway show Evil Dead the Musical where he set a new record for onstage deaths by a performer in a week (48 deaths). Brandon was featured in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl which also starred Wayne Brady, Nichole Scherzinger, Vanessa Hudgens, Aaron Tveit and Rachel Harris. Wardell performed live for an audience of more than a million people, with a television audience of millions more at the Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration. Outside of the amazing places he plays with Streetlamp, some of his favorite performances have been on the stages of Radio City Music Hall (Tony Awards), Avery Fisher Hall (on PBS’ Great Performances) and MerleFest, where he shared the bill with Allison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. He specializes in creating shows specific for any event or venue. Brandon is a proud member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices Choir and The Recording Academy.
Also a prolific producer, Brandon’s work for the stage has been honored with five Tony Award nominations, with one win for Porgy and Bess. In the recording studio, his work has garnered four Grammy Award nominations including Gypsy starring Patti Lupone, Ain’t Misbehavin’ starring Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis, and Fela! which features the world famous afro-funk phenomenon Antibalas. Brandon’s musical compositions and voice can be heard on the upcoming film release Gala and Godfrey, appearing now in festivals worldwide, having already won multiple awards. Brandon is one of the producers behind the hit show Delusion, which is a live, interactive horror show currently being developed in a virtual reality setting by Skybound Entertainment (The Walking Dead).
“My father is my number one influence when it comes to music. I grew up in a house where our third bedroom was a band practice room for my dad filled with equipment. He gave me every opportunity to be a part of his world. I had my first gig playing drums with his band when I was twelve. When they announced my name, my Dad says I walked on stage twirling sticks in both hands and I never looked back. Although a stroke a few years ago has been a setback, he never has given up on learning how to grow as a musician.”
“My fondest memory in Streetlamp happened during the taping of our 3rd PBS special. I was shooting my closeups for the song ‘Daddy’s Home’ and my daughter Wendy was able to come to the taping. As the camera was right in my face, she was running back and forth between rows right in front of me playing, laughing and clapping along. I wanted to watch her and join in the fun, but we were in crunch-time and I had to pretend like it wasn’t even happening. Once the cameras stopped, she was allowed to run up to me to jump in my arms and we captured one of my favorite pictures of us together.”
Favorite Song to Perform:
“I really enjoy getting to perform ‘Danke Schoen’ during the show. It’s a loose, jazzy song that can be a bit different every time. The audience’s reactions really feed my energy on that one. It goes from small and intimate to over the top in just a few minutes and I always enjoy the journey I take with the audience. I even got to write a new verse for it, so it’s extra special to be able to sing my own words within this iconic tune.”