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BWW Interview: Adam Silorey of HAPPY DAYS at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Join Adam Silorey as Arthur Fonzarelli as the Happy Days gang tries to save Arnold's

BWW Interview: Adam Silorey of HAPPY DAYS at Dutch Apple Dinner TheatreAudiences keen for a trip down memory lane will not want to miss the nostalgia inspiring musical Happy Days at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre. Happy Days the musical by Garry Marshall features music and lyrics by Paul Williams and is based on the beloved television show that first aired in 1974. The show takes place in the late 1950s and revolves around teen Richie Cunningham and his family and friends. The musical first premiered in 2007. February 24-April 3 audiences can enjoy Happy Days the musical at Dutch Apple Dinner theatre. One of the most memorable characters in the show was Arthur Fonzarelli, or The Fonz, famously played by Henry Winkler in the television version. Adam Silorey portrays The Fonz on the Dutch Apple stage, and he took a few moments out of his rehearsal schedule to chat about the show.

BWW: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started doing theatre.

Silorey: I am originally from Oxford, Michigan, however, I am now based in Chicago. I went to Cedarville University and got my BA in Theatre Performance. Then I went on and got my MFA in acting from Regent University in Virginia Beach. I was always interested in acting. However, I was convinced that I was going to be a pre-med/bio student-that's how I started my college career. It lasted one semester and it did not work out for me. It was really crazy. I was actually sitting in my dorm room. It was finals, and I was just so miserable. I saw an ad on Facebook for Disney World auditions. So, I ended up flying myself down to Florida. I auditioned for Disney World. I was hired, so I took my second year off of college and worked as a character and parade performer at Walt Disney World. That is where I decided to switch my major to acting. After a year of working there, I auditioned for a college program. I got accepted, and after I was finished with undergrad I knew that I wanted to continue my education because my end goal is to eventually be the head of an MFA and acting program. I would love to teach. So, that was how I got started. I was literally sitting as a pre-med/bio student in my dorm, stressing about finals, saw an ad to audition for Walt Disney World and flew myself down there.

BWW: What is your favorite part about playing Fonzie?

Silorey: My favorite part about stepping into the role of Arthur Fonzarelli is just being the coolest person on the planet for two hours a day. Fonzie is the king of cool. He knows everything that he doesn't know. He has a good heart and acts with integrity. He just cares so much about his community and the people that surround him. It's fun to get to go on stage every night and just be cool.

Something that I love about Arthur that's different from myself is that no one ever sees him sweat. No one ever sees him panic when he is faced with situations that are unfamiliar to him. That's not me. I stress about everything-about every new situation. I can definitely learn from Arthur in that respect. Taking things day by day knowing what he has control over. He'd tell you he has control over everything, but we all know that's not the case.

I have grown to love Arthur Fonzarelli. I'll be honest with you, before I got the role, I had not watched a single episode of Happy Days. So, I had a lot of cramming to do. But in preparing for the role, I watched every episode of Happy Days I could get my hands on, every youtube compilation of Henry Winkler, whether it was him doing interviews about the Fonz or just a five minute video of him saying "aaaay". I have really grown to love Arthur and his community.

BWW: Which song in the show do you think will be an audience favorite and why?

Silorey: This is a bangin' score. It is so much fun. The music in this show will literally have people dancing in their seats from beginning to end. But I think our Pinky Tuscadero played by Danielle Mouch-who is so talented-has a great introduction song. It's called "The Pink's in Town", where she just belts her face off. She has some killer choreography and has her Pinkettes behind her backing her up. It's rock and roll. It's high energy from beginning to end. Danielle is just such a talented vocalist and performer that I think that is probably going to be the audience's favorite song. They won't be ready for it. The Pink is in town and she just hits the stage with grace and talent. It's so much fun to hear and watch her do that every night.

BWW: Which song is your favorite and why?

Silorey: My favorite song to perform is "Dancing on the Moon". Pinkie and Fonzie get to sing that to each other every night. Not only is it a beautiful song, but I also love how vulnerable both of these confident, cool characters are with each other. Getting to share that moment with Danielle every night and getting to explore that side of Arthur is so much fun. It's a challenge, but it's a sweet melody and a sweet message. They promise each other that no matter where they've been or where they're going, nothing can stop their love for each other, and they'll dance on the moon together their whole life long. It's really a sweet tender moment.

BWW: Did you have a favorite hang out in high school like Arnold's?

Silorey: Honestly, I lived at Meijer. I grew up in Oxford, Michigan, which is a very small town. There was a movie theatre, a Starbucks, a McDonald's, and a Meijer grocery store. It's funny, for my senior year of high school for mock elections in the yearbook, our senior hangout spot was actually Meijer. You could go there and just walk around the aisle and see half of your class just shopping or hanging out. It sounds bizarre. It made sense in high school. Looking back, it seems kinda weird, but even when I would go with my family, we would see teachers, people from church. You went there to see everyone-the good old Meijer grocery store.

BWW: Which Happy Days character are you most like in real life?BWW Interview: Adam Silorey of HAPPY DAYS at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

Silorey: That's a tough one. I would say I am most like Joanie. I love her spirit and how excited she is about everything. I like to think that she's filled with joy and I like to think that I'm filled with joy. If not Joanie, I could also say Richie. To me, Richie is so loyal and will do anything to help his friends. I'm a community-centered person, so I really admire that about Richie. So, one of the Cunninghams. I'd be one of the Cunningham children. I also have a great mom and dad like Joanie and Richie do.

BWW: What's it like doing a show like this during a pandemic?

Silorey: It's wild. We rehearsed in facemasks. Singing and dancing is hard enough without facemasks. It was crazy. But what's even crazier is rehearsing and not seeing your acting partner's whole face. I'm a Meisner based actor, and that technique is based in specificity and taking cues from your acting partners every move. So not being able to see what half of their face was doing was a challenge. But it was so fun and so rewarding when we finally got to tech rehearsals and could take off our masks and put on our face shields and see these characters come to life-to see what's happening underneath the mask. It's funny, the first time we had face shields on, the spotlight hit me and all I could see was my own reflection in my face shield. I knew I had to move around stage, but I just stood there and sang the song. I had to figure out a way around that. I'm so thankful for Bill Prather and the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre and what they're doing to keep the actors safe, to keep the patrons safe, and to keep the arts alive.

BWW: In your opinion, why are nostalgic shows like this so popular today?

Silorey: Happy Days the musical transports people to a time where life appeared less complicated-where community was valued. We've had a crazy year. Being able to take 2 hours and relive a time in your life where life seemed simpler and slower is a joy. Personally, I really jive with shows that represent the importance of community. My favorite show is Fiddler on the Roof because of the community aspect of it and how the community draws strength from one another. It's the same with Happy Days. The characters thrive off of each other and help each other succeed. They have each other's back no matter what crazy situation is happening. They find strength in each other. That is something I love. It's so great to get to feel that sense of community every night with my fellow cast members.

BWW: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

BWW Interview: Adam Silorey of HAPPY DAYS at Dutch Apple Dinner TheatreSilorey: You don't want to miss this show. It is so much fun. This show truly has the power to allow you to forget about what is happening outside the walls of the theatre. it is a show where you can meet and see your favorite characters from Happy Days. You get to see them in person. It's the long-lost episode, a two hour episode of Happy Days. That's my interpretation of it-it's a two hour episode that never aired, and you have to see how it ends. You've got to see what these characters go through in those two hours. It's classic Happy Days. The choreography and singing are great. It's an original score with wonderful music. But really it's the characters that you get to know and love. It's such a crazy time in our world, but art has the ability to transport you for a time. Come, check it out, have fun with us, and support live theatre.

Join the Happy Days crew as they try to save their favorite hangout Arnold's February 24-April 3. Visit www.dutchapple.com for show and ticket information.


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From This Author Andrea Stephenson