Professional Pianist. Broadway Bigwig. Morning Meditator. Walk the grounds and feed the chickens with musical mastermind Bryan Perri.
“Because I do the same exact thing each afternoon and evening, I really enjoy the freedom I have in the mornings.”
“She’s eating my damn foot!” Bryan Perri swats gently at a chicken, one of several he’s hand feeding, while crouched down in the mud. With several flicks of his wrist, he offers the rowdy brood a homemade mixture of organic mealworms, dried shrimp, flax, buckwheat and corn: “Our special morning snack blend.”
Of all the living things in and around the Ridgefield, Connecticut home that Broadway music director Perri, 35, shares with husband Dan Levine, the two humans require the least maintenance. There are the chickens, the hundred or so plants, the birds and the fish. Each morning, the pair makes their rounds on the hillside property (Dan purchased the house five years ago, Bryan joined him three years later) attending to each dependent until the sweep is complete, and Bryan and Dan retire to the kitchen, fresh eggs in tow, hungry for breakfast.
Perri is a pianist and conductor. Lately, he’s been at the helm of the wildly popular Wicked. He makes the commute by car, six days a week to Manhattan. He returns home late. “Because I do the same exact thing each afternoon and evening, I really enjoy the freedom I have in the mornings,” he explains. “We’ll just hang around the yard, trying to identify different bird calls. Or I’ll meditate, or play piano for a while if Dan is working” (Levine, in addition to acting, runs Big Apple Tutoring, one of NYC’s top tutoring services).
Bryan cooks up two of the chicken’s latest lays in a pan with some grapeseed oil and makes himself another coffee. Dan tends to an aquarium filled with brightly colored tropical fish. In addition to the vast number of species at the Perri/Levine residence, there are also lots of spaces – a greenhouse (finicky Staghorn ferns are a favorite challenge), a converted woodshop (where Perri’s father comes over to offer tutelage), a detached library, pool area, and a tall, rocky mound that overlooks the backyard, where Bryan does his morning meditation. “It’s certainly the most dramatic place to meditate,” he says as he situates his butt on a pillow.
Another morning routine involves essential oils – Bryan’s latest obsession. “You feel like you’re doing something good for yourself,” he says as he dabs a combination of lemon, lavender and peppermint in his palms and inhales, rubbing some of the oil on his neck. “This,” he gestures “is a good one for spring allergies.”
“I’m self conscious about people hearing me—unless I’m there in the orchestra pit at work.”
Perri’s passion for piano (“It’s all I do”) doesn’t usually extend to performing for guests, “My parents would always make me play for people when I was a kid,” he laughs. “So maybe it’s my childhood trauma resurfacing.” But he indulges us and soon his fingers are gliding across the keys, his small office filled with the results of his deft playing. Like the music, a morning this tranquil doesn’t come without work. Luckily for Bryan, he happens to love his job.