BWW Interviews: So. Cal's Alex Mendoza Answers Our Silly Query While On Tour with MAMMA MIA!
So. Cal resident Alex Mendoza is celebrating a career milestone: he is now in the midst of his national tour debut as part of the traveling troupe of MAMMA MIA, that popular, crowd-pleasing jukebox musical now currently on stage at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa for a special one-week-only return through April 13.
But many observant, local theatergoers may remember Mendoza from his recent work in the impressive McCoy/Rigby regional productions of SPRING AWAKENING and NEXT TO NORMAL, both of which were mounted at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts last year.
To our delight---as Mendoza and his fellow cast members enjoy a week of performances in sunny Orange County to sing through the sunny ABBA songbook---he agreed to answer a round of our "silly" questions...
Subject: Alex Mendoza
Hometown: San Gabriel
Hi Alex! Congratulations on landing your first National Tour! What part of the tour experience are you looking forward to the most?
Thank you so much, Michael! Well, we've been on the road since October and I would have to say meeting all of the different MAMMA MIA! fans across the country has been the coolest. We had one fan hit their 19th show when we played in Denver, which was awesome!
For you, which musical number in the show is the most fun to do night after night... and why?
I would have to say the finalé of MAMMA MIA, "Dancing Queen," because the audience is up dancing with us and screaming, and you feel like you're performing at the Staple Center!
So. Cal audiences may remember your work in the recent productions of NEXT TO NORMAL and SPRING AWAKENING at La Mirada. How did that experience working for such heavy-themed McCoy/Rigby musicals compare to the more fun and bubbly MAMMA MIA?
Your mindset is totally different doing a show like NEXT TO NORMAL or SPRING AWAKENING. Doing those shows, you need to not only vocally warm up, but mentally prepare yourself for an emotional roller-coaster. MAMMA MIA is the complete opposite of those shows. And although you mentally prepare yourself for any show, MAMMA MIA is all about having a good time and bringing a fun energy to the audience.
When the show swings by Orange County, what will you make sure to try to do while you're here---I mean, besides perform the show, of course---that you probably wouldn't be able to do while on the road?
I've got to go to Disneyland at some point that week. It's been way too long.
Did you know at an early age that you wanted to work in musical theater?
When I was little, I was painfully shy and more interested in behind-the-scenes work in film. It wasn't until my freshman year of high school that someone told me I actually could do musical theater for a living... so I decided Broadway would be my goal.
Who were some of your idols and influences growing up that ignited your love of performing?
I would have to say Idina Menzel, because her voice and acting skills are beautiful and unique and---you'll probably laugh but---Britney Spears. I have always loved her energy as a performer. And when you're doing a show like MAMMA MIA, sometimes you need all the energy you can get in some of those dance numbers!
I bet! Okay, now for some rapid-fire questions... As far as your daily routine, do you have any pre-show rituals that you do before a performance?
A group of us join in a circle during the overture and jump up and down to get pumped for each show, especially for two-show days.
Cool. Many actors we speak to have one or two dream roles in another stage musical that they wish to play someday in the future. Which are some of yours?
My two dream roles would have to be Jean Valjean from LES MISERABLES and The Phantom from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
What song (or artist) do you like belting in the shower or when you're all alone in the car?
Ooh...right now it's "Let It Go" from Frozen.
Ha! Great choice. Okay, what Broadway cast album(s) do you obsess over?
BARE: A POP OPERA---it's one of my dream shows to be in!
Awesome! Alright, what scares you the most?
What is your guilty pleasure?
I'm going to sound so nerdy but... I'm a huge Sailor Moon fan!
What do you like to do on your day(s) off?
I try to go out and explore what each new city has to offer. Washington D.C. was one of the most exciting places to visit.
What irritates you the most?
Right?! Okay, on the opposite end, what instantly puts a smile on your face?
Seeing my chocolate lab!
If you could trade lives with any one person for one day, who would that person be and why?
...Britney Spears!... She gets to wear some awesome costumes in her shows.
Ha! That she does! So, if you weren't an actor, what alternative career do you picture yourself doing?
I would probably like going into behind-the-scenes work in film... like visual effects.
Cool! Care to share any advice for our young readers who want to get into the musical theater biz?
Have lots of patience. This is something I continue to work on every day. I just have to trust that everything happens for a reason and will work itself out.
Sound advice. Alright, describe, if you're willing... the most memorable hilarious moment that's happened to you during this or any past stage shows?
One of the funniest moments that has happened onstage during MAMMA MIA was during one of the big dance numbers. The walls stopped moving and my dance partner and I were completely squished in a corner. It's hard feeling sexy when you're focused on not running into a wall!
Ha! And... finally, what has been your absolute favorite moment of your MAMMA MIA experience so far?
Signing a Playbill for the first time on opening night was a dream come true. I felt like a little super star.
Awww! Thanks for playing along, Alex, and enjoy the rest of the tour!
Photo of Alex Mendoza from the MAMMA MIA North American National Tour by Kevin Thomas-Garcia, courtesy of SCFTA.
Performances of MAMMA MIA! at Segerstrom Center for the Arts continue through Sunday, April 13, 2014. Tickets can be purchased online at www.SCFTA.org, by phone at 714-556-2787 or in person at the SCFTA box office (open daily at 10 am). Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa.
For tickets or more information, visit SCFTA.org.