BWW Blog: Eric Ulloa of Goodspeed's THE MOST HAPPY FELLA - I'm the Greatest Star
As promised, we finish getting to know each and every cast member of "The Most Happy Fella" before we close up shop on December 1st.
This week we wrap up the interviews with the rest of our star ensemble, as I asked them the following questions:
1. What was the show that made you say, "Yup, I gotta do this for a living" ?
2. What's your guilty pleasure TV show? One that you'd never want someone to know you watch...except for this blog and its thousands (fourteen) of readers.
3. What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? What are some of your favorite parts of this holiday?
Ready, set, here we go...
1. Sweeney Todd. I was at a performing arts summer camp with a dance concentration and when the end-of-the-summer dance concert was finished we still had another week before we went home because all the acting campers still had to perform Sweeney Todd. Instead of hanging around and not doing anything the last week, I volunteered to be assistant props/run crew. It was awesome! I got to dress up in rags, smear brown makeup all over my face, black out my teeth (even though no one ever saw my teeth, cause I never spoke), and drag "dead" bodies off stage. I was hooked!
2. I've become obsessed with the Game Show Network. And my roommate (your beloved blogger) wants to kill me every time I turn it on. It's just easy, mindless entertainment that you can turn on while you're having a quick lunch break. As far as a certain show, I guess I'd have to say "Family Feud" because it's on about 80% of the time you turn GSN on.
**(Eric's Interruption- What Noah doesn't know is that I've set up parental controls on the TV to block this station forever and ever!)
3. This year, like most, I'll be having Thanksgiving with my family in Brooklyn. And you're all invited!!! The address is 352... Just kidding, sorry! I love Thanksgiving because I love to cook and help out in the kitchen. Some of my favorite dishes are this AMAZING mushroom bread pudding my mother makes that you have to fight people off to get to. And then there is this great cranberry upside-down cake that she makes with cornmeal that isn't very popular but I LOVE it and I force her to make it every year. I think it's more a sentimental thing because I remember it so vividly from my childhood and I get very upset if it's not there. After stuffing our faces at around 2 or 3 o'clock we usually take a power nap and then go to the movies. I think this year will be "Hunger Games" or "Dallas Buyers Club". We have to see how we feel and options are good!
Next we have...
Sarah Tranchina-Ensemble/ Famazing dancer (that's actually a real word that combines "fabulous" and "amazing")
1. There were two shows that got me for different reasons. When I was growing up my mom took my sister and I to see Broadway shows regularly, and I remember sitting in the audience of Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk (I must have been seven or eight at the time) and thinking that I had to be on stage; but it wasn't until High School when my school did a production of Ragtime that I realized that I really needed to pursue Musical Theatre specifically. I would sit in my room day in and day out listening to the soundtrack and following along in my script, laughing and crying... I think I learned every single line in the show I was so obsessed with it. The rest is history!
2. Right now its "Revenge" ...don't knock it till' you try it, folks! It's totally addicting!
3. We always have Thanksgiving at my mom's house on Long Island. We eat from sun up to sun down, and then do another round late at night when dinner has worn off. Everything is equally mouthwatering, and I eat enough for 10 to 12 people... there's no control (think your stretchiest stretchy pants.) Good luck to the Friday matinee audience (which will consist of my entire family!) I'd like to say I'd have some self control this year, but I really can't promise anything.
James Zannelli- Ensemble/Cashier/Truck Driver/Bus Driver/ EVERYONE else, pretty much
1. Many people may, or may not, know that in the 80's I was big into the heavy metal and hard rocking hair bands of the day (think Rock of Ages). My room was COVERED floor to ceiling with Mötley Crue and KISS posters, I grew my hair long, "partied" and went to a ton of arena rock concerts. I was big into MTV and I wanted to rock like my idols and be in a band. But alas after HS graduation in 1988 and a brief stint in a garage band I took some classes at Glendale Community College in Glendale, AZ. I started out as a business major but by my second year I had switched over to music. In the spring of 1990 my choir went to NYC to sing the Shubert Mass in G at Carnegie Hall. While there a group of us had planned to see LES MISERABLES. I was 19 years old and I had just started taking voice lessons. My voice teacher had recently taken me to see my first opera (Lucia di Lammermore) and I was expecting to see some French opera. Well.....there were drums and synthesizers and pop rock vocals, men with long hair (like me) singing in English with microphones on this massive set! To me it was a rock show! I was totally turned on by it and I said to myself, "that's what I want to do." By 1998 I had earned a BM and MM in Vocal Performance (Arizona State) and after a brief career singing with AZ Opera I joined the actors union and crossed over into the world of musical theatre. I moved to NYC in 2003 to further my career and in 2008 I played Thenardier at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre. In 2011, I proudly booked the national tour of the 25th Anniversary production playing the Bishop and covering Thenardier (performed). Dreams DO come true!!!
2. Guilty pleasure TV: Well I loved "Breaking Bad" and I'm always a sucker for a "Law and Order: SVU" marathon. Right now I am hooked on "American Horror Story: Coven". But the show that you may or may not know I love to watch is called "That Metal Show" on VH1 Classic. It's a talk show hosted by a NJ rock DJ turned historian and author named Eddie Trunk. Discussions on the show focus on "all things hard rock and heavy metal", past and present.
3. Thanksgiving this year: I am finishing up MHF. I already had a fun pre-Thanksgiving feast with the cast so I'm planning on a quiet relaxing day off in the city. I'll be hanging out with a friend, dinner, maybe a movie and/or bar hopping, depending upon the weather.
Elizabeth Ann Berg- Ensemble/ Went on as a pitch perfect and beautiful Rosabella last week/ My favorite partner in offstage crime...that's all I'm gonna say...
1. I grew up loving shows like Annie and Grease but the show that made me want to do this for a living was The Light in the Piazza. I was old enough to understand how absolutely breathtaking the story and the music were. I could finally envision myself onstage as a professional and a performer when I saw the national tour in my hometown.
2. I love the "Real Housewives" (of any city or county). It's such a guilty pleasure but it helps me completely detach from real life. They are some sneaky, hilarious women with VERY entertaining lives!
3. I'll be able to make it home to Minnesota for Thanksgiving this year! I've been away from my new adorable nephew while I've been at Goodspeed so I'm thrilled to have a few days with him. After Thanksgiving at home I'll also have a "mini" friends Thanksgiving before heading back to Goodspeed to close out the show! I absolutely adore this season...it's all about family, friends, love, food, and being grateful for each other and for everything we have.
Rachel Rhodes-Devey- Ensemble/ Kicked up her heels as Cleo this weekend and KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK!
1. I pretty much knew I wanted to perform for as long as I can remember. But there was a production of Fiddler on the Roof that I did when I was sixteen that made me really realize what an incredible community we had in the theatre, and I knew I couldn't be happy doing anything else.
2. I can't believe I'm even saying this. I'm a closet "Bachelor" watcher. Not-so-closeted anymore! Oh well, the jig was up when my NY roommate told my boyfriend right when we started dating that I watched it. I could've killed her, I was mortified!
3. I'm going to my mom's in Albany, New York, where we do Thanksgiving every year with the entire Rhodes side of my family. It's basically the most important day of the year to my mom, in fact she once tricked me into believing that she made me sign a document when I was five saying that I would never ever miss Thanksgiving, so that I had a legal obligation to be there.
**(Eric's Interruptions: That's AMAZING! Bravo Mama!)
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is hanging with my Rhodes cousins, there are 6 of us and we're all pretty close in age and don't get to all be together often. The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is reserved for hanging out with friends from high school, I'm still very close to a lot of them and none of us live in Albany anymore, so on this night we turn back into 17-year-olds and get into all sorts of shenanigans.
And last, but not least...
Sabrina Marlene-Female Swing/Has gone in various roles and proved to be truly wonderful (as we all expected).
1. It happened my Freshman Yr. of High School. Leading up to that point,
starting as a young 3 yr old, I'd had my fair share of performing in
everything from Christmas Pageants to School Choirs and even the Va.
Opera. But it wasn't until I did my first musical The Wizard Of Oz as
Dorothy that I realized how deep my passion really was. Something in
the messages of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow...Dreams Really Do
Come True" and "Why O Why Can't I" ust stuck with me and really birthed
that spark of fearless pursuit within me. I loved everything about being in
that musical and the Land of Oz so much. I went on to do it again just a
few months later at a local theatre... but this time I had to settle for playing a Flying
Monkey -didn't matter - I just knew the Land of Oz was a world I never
wanted to step out of.
2. Oh God... definitely "Four Weddings" on TLC. It's about four brides who
attend each other's wedding and grade them based on the dress, the
venue, the food and overall experience. Then obviously, the one with the
highest score gets a free honeymoon. I don't know how it happens but
I swear before I know it I'll find myself with an empty ½ Pint of Ben and
Jerry's o and my back hurts 'cause I've been laying on the couch for
THREE HOURS... Ha! I'm so embarrassed. Am I alone in this one??
3. This Thanksgiving is a very unique one. Traditionally the game plan is to be with my family and do dinner at one of the relatives, usually one of the grandparents but
this year I am in CT and (I'm sure a lot of people are feeling this way) can't afford to fly home. But my Dad called yesterday to say he didn't want me to spend the holiday alone so he's wrangled my grandfather (who doesn't get to travel a lot) and they are going to meet me in NYC. I've booked an early lunch in Mid Town and then I have a secret "Christmas Spectacular" surprise for them to say "Thank You".
I'm very excited! We always watch the Macy's parade at home and having a NYC
Thanksgiving is on the bucket list of everyone in my family. Looks like this year I'll
get to kick that off the list with at least two of them. #Thankful
Speaking of Thanksgiving, the cast decided that a family Thanksgiving meal shared by all of us was in order before we set out for our holiday days off. And so, Sunday night after the eighth show (don't worry, there were still two more in this 10 show week) we all convened together and showed off our culinary skills with twenty different dishes that were absolutely 100% delicious and gave most of us a 100% chance of reflux at 2 am that next morning. A rousing game of "Heads Up" was played as we digested and everyone left a little more grateful for the magical family we have created up here since arriving in August.
So off we head to different parts of the country to celebrate the start of the holiday season with loved ones, and then we return for the final 3 days in our beautiful Napa Valley. Be sure to check back in at the end of the week for (wait for it...wait for it) my final blog chronicling this amazing journey we've all shared. I know...how will you go on? What will you read? We will take this devastating news one day at a time and get through it together.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!