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LUCKY GUY Has Fernandez At Goodspeed

One of the nice perks about this job is getting to meet some extraordinarily talented people who you know will be giving some great performances to some very fortunate theatergoers.  One of those people is Stacia Fernandez, who I met after a performance of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE. She was the understudy for Beth Leveal and put on an amazing performance.  She is currently appearing in the new musical Lucky Guy at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Connecticut.

Lucky Guy is a madcap look at the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the country music industry tracks the journey of Billy Ray Jackson, a young singer who wins a recording contract with his original song LUCKY GUY.  The characters he meets on his journey include Jeannie Jeannine, the washed-up "Queen of Country Music," Big Al Wright, the shifty "Used Cars of the Stars salesman; and Chicky, the best wig stylist this side of the Grand Ole Opry.  Big Al and Jeannine will use every trick in the book to get the prize-winning singing cowboy and his song into their clutches.   Will this devious duo prevail?  Or will our hero end up a Lucky Guy? 

Appearing as Jeannie Jeannine, Fernandez started her career in Atlanta, Georgia as a musician, singer and conductor... and then moved to New York for "just six weeks to see if anything might happen" and much to her friends, family and her OWN surprise, three weeks later booked a principal contract on the national tour of Jerome Robbins' BROADWAY.   Not quite knowing what hit her!

Since then, her career includes the following shows on Broadway: THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Tom Sawyer, SWING, THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST,  off- Broadway: LONESTAR LOVE (co-starring with Beth Leavel).   National tours include EVITA, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Jerome Robbins' BROADWAY, and HEARTSTRINGS to raise money for AIDS awareness.   Her favorite shows in regional theatre include DEATH OF A SALESMAN, CATS, The world premier of PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, KISS ME KATE, THE KING AND I, ANYTHING GOES, the world premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's DREAMS FROM A SUMMER HOUSE.   She is also known for playing Dusty Springfield in an upcoming musical based on the pop star's life.   She has done two movie soundtracks, THE SHAGGY DOG and the new Disney movie, ENCHANTED.

TJ:  Stacia, how are you doing? I haven't seen you since the RAGS concert for World AIDS Day a couple of years ago.

FERNANDEZ:  Hi Tim.  Sorry.  But I have to differ!   The last time we saw each other was when you came to The Drowsy Chaperone and I happened to be ON for my pal Beth Leavel in her tony award winning role as Drowsy herself.   Remember? 

TJ:  Ok, I am getting older but I didn't meet you until I saw DROWSY and then saw you again when I was in The Ensemble of RAGS. But what the hey...the fact that we met was a great day for me!! So how did you get involved with Lucky Guy?  

FERNANDEZ:  Well, let's see.   I heard about the piece from a friend of mine and I wrote Gary Beach an email.   He had done the reading early this year and I asked him what he thought of me throwing my hat in the ring.   He was very supportive and thought it was a good fit... so I got an audition... and well ...  I got the gig and here I am!

TJ:  Tell me a little bit about your role in the show. 

FERNANDEZ:  I play Ms. Jeannie Jeannine.   The Queen of Country Music.   She's the most realistic/fake,  conniving/compassionate,  Diva/insecure,  funny/grounded character I've ever played.

TJ:  This is quite the cast, including Tony Award winner Gary Beach. Have you been having a lot of fun.  

FERNANDEZ:  We are having a great time.   Now don't get me wrong.   New musicals are NOT for the feint of heart.   WIth the last minute line changes, lyric changes, new opening numbers and tweaking, it can be stressful.   But luckily?   The creative team has a goal and the cast is a great group of actors.   We are all supporting each other and have such a good energy surrounding The Common goal.   I wish you could be with us in the green room at intermission!     Sometimes when you are given a new punch line at 7:15,   Or a new verse to your song?   Not everything trips trippingly off the tongue.    But now that we are "frozen" until the end of our short run?   We are settling into a really good place.

TJ:  A lot of shows have made their transition from Goodspeed to New York in the past. Any chance this show may make the move to Broadway?  

FERNANDEZ:  With Warren Carlyle's solid vision,     Willard Beckham's script, and   Todd Ellison's orchestrations?   It is a very attainable goal.    I am hearing January '10.    Wouldn't that be amazing!   Wait let me check my schedule.   YES!   I'm IN!

TJ:  How did you get your start in the business?  

FERNANDEZ:  I was actually conducting a production of West Side Story in Atlanta at my college... the Anita dropped out... they asked me to step in.   I won an award and got HOOKED.   Seriously.   Never looked back.   I thought I was going to be a band director.   Or a conductor!!  
TJ:  What is something that people don't know about Stacia Fernandez?  

FERNANDEZ:  My middle name is Owen.   My great (times 5) grandmother was the first caucasion woman to cross the Ohio River into the western territory.   There's a monument to her - Mary Owen - in Marietta, Ohio.   One side is ALL Spanish.   The other side?   Early founding American.

TJ:  What's up next for you? 

FERNANDEZ:  I'm waiting to hear about a couple of things in the city. I'll have to let you know.  But keep your fingers crossed for Jeannie Jeannine!!

TJ:  We are coming up on Broadway's biggest night and I have my own predictions. Any thoughts on winners at the Tony's this year? 

FERNANDEZ:  Tim.   I do NOT wanna go there.    :)  Although as an ORIGINAL company member of Title of Show..   My fingers are crossed for Hunter Bell.  And, of course, I hope you are there this year.   Cause I know you want to be!

TJ:  So what should our readers know about this show to get their interest peaked?    

FERNANDEZ:  This is a sweet show about keeping true to our dreams and not losing our values.   And it will make you laugh out loud!  

Always a joy to hear from Stacia and you just need to get over to Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre and see Lucky Guy, Goodspeed Musicals' new madcap musical comedy featuring Fernandez, Tony Award-winner Gary Beach and 2009 Drama Desk Award nominee Josh Grisetti.

You definitely don't want to miss this original musical comedy packed with plenty of action and toe-tapping songs. Lucky Guy  features book, music and lyrics by Willard Beckham and is directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle. Lucky Guy  runs through June 14th and you can visit www.goodspeed.org for performance schedule and production details including photos and behind the scenes video.  For tickets, you can visit the website or call the Box Office at (860) 873-8668 or visit the theatre's Box Office at the Goodspeed Opera House, 6 Main Street in East Haddam, Connecticut.  So for now, I am riding off into the sunset and bid you ciao! And as always, theatre is my life! Yee-haww!!!



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From This Author TJ Fitzgerald

TJ Fitzgerald has been interviewing theatre’s finest talent with BroadwayWorld.com since January 2006. He has been active in the New England Theatre scene both as (read more...)