BWW Blog: Eric Ulloa of Goodspeed's THE MOST HAPPY FELLA - I'm A Brass Band
In this business, sometimes you come across people who are a bit more reclusive and who tend to keep to themselves when not onstage. They are like the flutes or harps in the "orchestra" of a cast. Yet every good musical needs a blaring trumpet that makes its presence known, and that my friends, is our very own Natalie Hill. With talent pouring out of her and charisma spilling over the stage, she makes "Cleo" far more than a bitching waitress from "Big D" and more the kind of girlfriend everyone wants around through thick and thin. Her talents onstage are only outdone by the great personality she has offstage and her ability to find the fun and levity in anything. Don't believe me? ...Watch her bounce around backstage in her wig and fleece neon flower jumper...no really, I'm not kidding.
Here she is boys...Here she is world...Here's Natalie Hill!
Eric Ulloa: You are very open about being Mormon and even have a great blog about life as a Mormon in NYC (www.mormoninmanhattan.blogspot.com).
How do you balance the insanity of this business and your own personal religious beliefs? Do they go hand in hand more than we think?
Natalie Hill: Absolutely! I find it funny when people think a performing life and a spiritual life are totally dichotomous. I'm a Christian woman and was taught never to judge another. What works for me, may not work for everyone and I would never hold anyone else to my standard of living. Mormonism grounds me. I certainly make certain career choices based on my beliefs but so does everyone else in this business. Whenever you're living a life in line with your belief system (whether that be vegetarianism or not being a litter bug or Mormonism) you are going to be a happier and more well balanced person.
As for being open about it... yeah, there's no way around it. The first time I go out to a bar with my cast and I'm drinking Diet Coke or someone realizes that I was raised in Utah, I get the following questions:
1. Are you Mormon?
2. Do you know Donny & Marie?
3. Do you know StEve Young?
4. Did you go to BYU?
5. Are you a polygamist?
The answers are yes, yes, yes, no- NYU, and hell NO!
While I don't really proselytize, I'm happy to answer any questions about my faith,especially since certain projects on the Broadway and on the TV seem to consistently get it wrong.
EU: Tell me about your most embarrassing audition moment ever.
NH: Oh I have so many...I make an idiot of myself on the regular.
I had to go to an invited dance call for DROOD and I consider myself a singer/actor first (even though I've had to do some pretty iconic dance roles in my career). Every other girl there was at least 5'8" and a Rockette. I'm 5'3" and not a Rockette. And these weren't just ANY girls, they were hand picked, the best and the brightest with the biggest Broadway resumes.
Anyway, as Warren Carlyle likes to do, he made the audition combo nearly impossible, where even the DANCERS were freaking out.
Well, it was my turn and I attacked the combination. I was feeling pretty great about it actually...that is until we got to a crazy turn sequence that came to a dead stop and had to change directions with a left cartwheel then go into a tap break.
I'm a right cart wheeler. Right, I can do. Not left. No, no, no! Not. Left.
But I went for it with such gusto that I fell to the floor in what appeared to be a career-ending injury.Warren jumped up to see if I was ok and the whole room was silent. I un-pretzeled my body off the floor and practically belted, "I'm a SINGER and a REALLY NICE PERSON! I also make great chocolate chip cookies!!!!"
Needless to say, I didn't get the job but he requested that I come in for another project of his that season. I didn't get that job either. Wah, Woh.
Photo by Diane Sobolewski