BWW Blog: Eric Ulloa of Goodspeed's THE MOST HAPPY FELLA - Show People
Time is almost up here for The Most Happy Fella and I'll be damned if you all don't get a chance to get to know a little bit about EVERYONE in this cast... so let's get right to it.
This week I asked a few members of our ensemble three questions:
1. What show do you consider a perfect musical? Why?
2. What is your favorite season of the year? Why? What are things you love to do during this time?
3. Why do you do this, as in, choose to be in this career? What wakes you up in the morning and makes you have to be part of the creation of art?
Here's what they had to say, starting with....
Seth Danner: Max/Ensemble/ The person who brings a little joy to my "Fresno Beauties" each night
1. I'd have to say South Pacific because it brilliantly exemplifies the volatility of humanity and love. Through a beautifully written book and score, we see how love can overcome a huge barrier such as prejudice (something we're still striving to eradicate today), yet that love quickly becomes a fragile victim to the same hatred and prejudice in which WWII was centered around. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a show that transcends time and still rings true today, sometimes more than
(Eric's interruption: A pretty face AND a smart mind...what an answer!)
2. I love the very beginning of summer, when it has warmed up enough to go to Central Park, lay out a picnic blanket, turn on some tunes, and just relax. The trees are freshly new in bloom, the hellish NYC humidity hasn't arrived yet, and you don't have to pack three different shirts to change into throughout the day, as they each consecutively become a sweat soaked mop. All you have to do is grab the boyfriend, grab the dog, grab a bottle of your libation of choice (obviously) and enjoy!
3. I've been performing since I was little, whether for an audience or for my family. To plainly put it, I'm thrilled when I'm performing. I toyed with the idea of going into the family restaurant business, going to school to be a doctor, training to be a pilot (solely for the sexy uniform), but nothing steered me away from my dream of performing professionally. I won't lie, some days I wake up and it is very hard to get dressed to go to work, but once I'm there, once I hear the audience's reactions, once I hear the applause, once I can feel them get carried into the world I'm playing...it just doesn't get any better. I love to tell a story, to take people away from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. I hope they leave the theatre fulfilled, and at least somewhat, clearheaded, ready to face whatever lies ahead of them.
And next we have...
Michael Deleget: Doctor/Ensemble/ Someone owes him a medal for the things he's heard sitting next to me in a dressing room
1. It is so difficult for me to say what is a perfect musical because I want that musical to include a role for me. List of favorites: Les Mis. It may sound corny, but it is the reason I got into theatre. Light in the Piazza because I just love the music. It is so beautiful and so powerful and I cried during the overture. Into the Woods, as I actually love act two, where happily ever after goes to hell and the characters need to deal with the ramifications of their actions. Sunday In the Park with George...all I have to say is "Move On." The Most Happy Fella, what I love about this show is that it isn't a simple love story because both of the lead characters overcome serious obstacles and decide to love each other anyway.
2. I love the Fall. My wife's birthday is in the fall as well as our anniversary. I love the change of colors, the change of food and the chill in the air. I love the dramatic color change of the leaves. Thanksgiving is a fantastic holiday when I usually host and happily prepare a feast. I'm a big foodie, by the way. Fall is an amazing time to drink mulled cider and snuggle up by the fire.
3. Sometimes, we don't always decide to pursue this career. Sometimes, we take a desk job and get laid off (wah wah). That being said, I love the people in this business. You can make friends for life within a day or two of meeting. This business is not politically correct which can make you uncomfortable at times, awkwardly so, and also make you laugh hysterically. Ultimately, it is the exchange of energy between performers and the audience, a symbiotic relationship. The performers pour their hearts out, and the audience reacts and feeds energy back to the performers. That in addition to the subtle changes that occur in every performance is what keeps me coming back for more.
Victoria Castle: Ensemble/Gladys/ Lets me spin her around each night during Sposalizio II with never a complaint
1. West Side Story. It has the perfect love story (Romeo and Juliet), the most fabulous choreography (Jerome Robbins) and the most glorious score (Bernstein/Sondheim).
2. My favorite season is Autumn- it's an ending to the days of summer- yet a new beginning for things to come- not to mention the most gorgeous colors (especially here in Connecticut!)
3. I don't think I ever had a choice- from the time I was five years old studying piano at a conservatory, I knew that certainly music was in my destiny- and after experiencing musicals (and operas), expressing it in a theatrical way had me hooked! Since I've had a career as a musician, singer, actress, and teacher- as long as I am doing something creative I feel fulfilled- that's what always keeps me going and inspires me every day!
Last, but certainly not least...
Christine Cornell: Ensemble / Plays my wife and I couldn't be luckier or find a better scene partner to live in the Napa Valley with (and I mean that with all my heart)
1. I've always considered Into the Woods to be the perfect musical. I realize it is an obvious choice, but there are reasons for that. It takes the stories of these characters we all know (to varying degrees) and gives them attributes which transcend their archaic "Fairy Tale Formula" and we are able see ourselves in them. Humanizing magic makes it accessible. It is funny and clever, which is important, but it is also dark and reminds us that, "people make mistakes." It doesn't hurt that the score and book are product of the genius Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. I see every performance of it I can.
(Eric's interruption: And I say she'd be a LOVELY Baker's wife...just saying casting world)
2. Fall! We've all been so lucky to be working in East Haddam while experiencing the changing leaves and our wool sweaters by the Connecticut River (I'm positive a lot of us love our autumns in New York, too). I love coats and scarves, giant-warm-seasonal beverages, and the anticipation of the holidays.
3. Storytelling is probably the most concise way of putting it. We are so fortunate our job is to be a vehicle for other stories and through those stories we (hopefully) reach our audiences. The most important aspect for me is the emotional collaboration behind the words. We create strong relationships with each other on stage in order to touch people. It's a revealing process and it is always different -maybe it's painful, maybe it's slapstick, maybe it's romance. We are always learning about ourselves while becoming other people.
Next week we finish up with the rest of our ensemble and I hopefully finish up the rest of this crappy cold that has seized our cast and now me. Till then readers!