Comedian Andre Browne heads for the big timeWhen Andre...

SUNDAY SNAPSHOTS

November 08, 1992|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Comedian Andre Browne heads for the big time

When Andre Browne tells people he's a comedian, they rarely believe him.

"They say, 'Oh, that's nice. But what do you really do?' " he says. "They think I'm lying. They think I really work at a 7-Eleven."

But the Morgan State University dropout -- who has been called a "fusion of Robin Williams, Sinbad and Roger Rabbit" -- does indeed crack jokes for a living. He prefers to sum up his style more simply.

"I'm silly," he says. "As adults, we forget what it's like to stand on tables. I help my audiences remember."

After years of playing clubs from New York to Los Angeles -- and having small roles on TV shows like "America's Most Wanted" -- the 29-year-old believes his big chance may have arrived.

He recently got a featured role in an episode of "Homicide," the NBC-TV series being filmed in Baltimore. Next month, he can be seen in Eddie Murphy's new movie, "Distinguished Gentleman."

And in January, he begins a national comedy tour of college campuses.

And success hasn't always come easily. To get on the college circuit, he had to audition in Michigan -- a trip he didn't trust his 10-year-old Toyota Tercel to make.

"I went there by bus," says Mr. Browne, who lives in Northwest Baltimore. "I can tell you exactly how many miles it is from Baltimore to Grand Rapids -- 785. I know, because I felt every one."

Rachel Shapiro's bedroom shelves are lined with music she loves: Beethoven, Bach, Brahms . . . Led Zeppelin.

Classical music and classic rock and roll do indeed converge when you're 15 and an accomplished violinist.

Encouraged by her mother, Rachel began playing the instrument at age 4. Within years, she was taking lessons at Peabody Preparatory, commuting three hours from her Pennsylvania home as often as four times a week.

Her efforts have brought results. Rachel has played with the Harrisburg Symphony and tonight at 7:30 performs at Park School, where she is a 10th-grader.

"People don't understand why I have to practice three hours a day," she says. "They say, 'Don't you get sick and tired of it?' It's a lot of hard work. But I'm happy with what I'm doing. The love of the music keeps you going."

Last year, her family moved to Pikesville, in part to make her study easier. Her parents also have installed a soundproof studio for her in the basement.

Rachel has done her part. Several years ago, she made a tough decision about a favorite pastime. After breaking a finger while playing field hockey, she gave up the sport rather than risk further injury to her hands.

One thing she hasn't done, though, is convert her friends to classical music.

"I've tried," she says. "But I don't force things on them. Everyone has their own taste."

Have someone to suggest? Write Mary Corey, Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or call (410) 332-6156.

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