Danielle Brooks learns to ask for what she wants

NEW YORK — Danielle Brooks is a performer at her core, but the "Orange is the New Black" breakout actress works behind the scenes, too.

Having already earned a Tony nomination for her Sofia in the 2014 Broadway revival of "The Color Purple," Brooks is now an executive producer of "Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations."

"It's been so cool," she told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "I want to know more about what I'm doing, besides being told what to do all the time."

A good friend, Jeremy Pope, was in the show and invited Brooks to a rehearsal. She said she was so moved by the story of the young Temptations "living a fully realized life" onstage that she sat down with the lead producers and said, "I can learn from you and I have value in what I can bring."

Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce gave her a shot.

"It's been a great learning experience," Brooks said. "The biggest thing that I learned is to not be afraid to ask for what you need or want. A lot of times we get so stuck by, 'Ooh, this person is so huge. I could never approach that person.' They're either going to say yes or no."

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