BWW Blog: Eric Ulloa of Goodspeed's THE MOST HAPPY FELLA - Music and the Mirror
There is a moment that all singers dread while auditioning. It doesn't happen too often, but when it comes, there is no stopping your pulse racing or the eventual formation of lower back/ butt crack sweat.
"Can you stay and move a little?"
That phrase is never what it seems, as it most often involves a room full of singers in full panic mostly getting through it and landing about three steps correctly...I know it...I've been there. Repeatedly.
That is why this week I bring you our very own "Herman," Kevin Vortmann, who is defying the odds and dancing up a storm while yodeling out "Big D". This leading man is shedding the park and bark roles for the next few months and charming the pants off audiences as the lovable simple minded cowboy from the lone star state.
So ladies and gentlemen, here's Kevin Vortmann. And... 5, 6, 7, 8!
Eric Ulloa: In your dream dancer world, what would be a role that normally you'd never have a chance at?
Kevin Vortmann: Dancer DREAM is right! I am most definitely a SINGER who moves, so I don't spend a lot of time thinking about those roles that require heavy dancing. I guess I would have to say Gabey in On the Town. I am a HUGE Bernstein fan and I'm fortunate enough to have been a part of several high profile presentations of his work. His music is so alive, so visceral. So I can only imagine how expressing that music through dance in the Coney Island ballet would feel. AND getting to sing "Lonely Town" - totally a dancer DREAM role. Maybe in a concert...
Kevin in Forever Plaid
EU: What's your most embarrassing moment onstage?
KV: So many to choose from! Embarrassing costumes (A Magical tissue box), Spills and falls (taking out my leading lady in the middle of a love scene by slipping as I ran to her and subsequently, tackling her), audience participation gone wrong (a woman yelling "I'm crippled!" when asked to join the Plaids for "Heart and Soul"). But I think my favorite was in a production of Miss Saigon. At the end of the play, when Kim shoots herself in the stomach, her gun didn't fire. No big deal, it's happened before, the back-up gun offstage is always ready to be fired in the wings, but not this time. The back-up gun doesn't fire either so they have to use the third plan, a sound cue. Unbeknownst to us, the sound cue was the sound of a cannon going off! So as I run to Kim to find out what has happened to her, all I can think about is what would be left of Kim after she threw herself in front of a cannon. Doing the last very tragic moment of the show was, in a word, difficult as I tried to ignore images of Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her.
Kevin in Miss Saigon
EU: What are three things you always have in your dressing room?
KV: 1. My Nalgene (BPA FREE!) Gotta stay hydrated!
2. A toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. And everyone else should have these too!
3. The most current copy of New York Magazine. I was turned onto this great publication by one of my dressing roommates at A Little Night Music. From the Intelligencer to the Approval Matrix, this keeps me entertained and informed during my downtime in shows. It's the one thing that my wife has to mail to me when I am working out of town.
EU: What are your magical NYC spots? Places that give you fuel as you endure the grind of the city.
KV: Enjoying an evening glass of wine or our morning coffee on our balcony with my wife has got to be number one. But some less exclusive recharging stations for us are:
Pure Spa in Sunnyside. I Love coming to this oasis for a relaxing day. Any one of many restaurants in our neighborhood (Astoria): Vesta, MP Taverna, Il Bambino, Brick, etc.
And, of course, Central Park. Just taking a quick trek into Olmsted's masterpiece is enough to energize this country boy from California!
EU: Are you the first person in your family history to pursue a life in the arts? If not, who else?
KV: I am. My dad is a judge, my mom was an educator and my brother is an emergency room physician and they couldn't be more supportive. The fly all around the country to see me in shows and concerts. My maternal grandfather was a gifted singer, but, unfortunately, smoking claimed that gift long before I came along. I like to think that I inherited my musical ability from him.
I hope you had a great time getting to know this great guy that I've known and loved for some time now.
Tonight is our official opening night and I look forward to bringing you great stories in the next installment!