Call Answered: Santino Fontana Interview: Going Solo at 54 BelowAug 27, 2023
I first came to know Tony Award winning actor & Frozen star Santino Fontana when I saw him in Roundabout Theatre Company's Off-Broadway production of Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet in 2011.
Since that time I have seen him on Broadway in Sunday in the Park with George, Cinderella, & Tootsie.
I also had the pleasure of interviewing him & Laura Osnes together in 2013 when they were performing with The New York Pops.
On the heels of Santino's upcoming solo show at 54 Below, I am so excited to catch up with him.
In this interview, Santino answered my call to reveal:
- Behind-The-Scenes of putting together his 54 Below Show
- His biggest on stage mishap that literally made his ears bleed
- A sneak-peak into his next theatrical endeavor, Classic Stage Company's revival of I Can Get It For You Wholesale
- So much more
Santino Fontana will be performing at 54 Below September 10 & 12-14, 2023. Click here for tickets!
Connect with Santino: Instagram
1. This September you are returning to 54 Below after a sold-out engagement in 2022. What are you looking forward to most about coming back to 54 Below? Finally adding full frontal nudity to the show. I’m excited to be with people in a room that I don’t wake up in.
2. Which song did you know HAD to be in this show? An opening song. Other than that, it’s freewheeling and decided completely by the audience. Well not completely…I bring 20-25 songs, and the audience helps steer the evening. If they hate the song selection or the song order, it’s their fault! Yay!
3. Why does this song mean so much to you? Because it starts the show and I have to have something to sing first. Because…I need to warm up.
4. What, if anything, makes you nervous about performing a cabaret show like this? I avoided a solo show for years, and once I ripped the bandaid off I realized there’s nothing to be nervous about because it can be whatever I want it to be. I thought there were some rules I had to follow...
5. What has been your biggest on stage concert mishap? Tootsie, out of town, in Chicago, second performance. There was a moment I’m wearing one dress, I spin, and I’m supposed to be wearing another dress, but somehow my microphone wires got stuck on the dress and tried to pull my ears off. And it succeeded! The top of my left ear was flopping in the wind. I thought I was just really sweating but it turned out it was blood. And gradually it dawned on me that all my cast members were staring at me really strangely until Andy Groteluschen finally said…”Michael, why the hell are you bleeding?” I finished the show and went to the ER where they glued my ear back together.
Santino Fontana & the cast of Broadway's Tootsie, Photo Credit: Murphy Made
6. This fall you are starring in Classic Stage Company's revival of I Can Get It For You Wholesale. What made you want to audition for this show? John Weidman, Trip Cullman, and Jeffrey Richards reached out to me years ago to do a reading of it, and we’ve all been developing it ever since. Weidman’s one of my favorite writers, and I came close to working with Trip and Jeffrey years ago, so I couldn’t turn it down. I’ve always wanted to work at CSC and I’m a huge fan of Jill Rafson, the new artistic director.
7. What do you relate to most about your character, Harry Bogen? We’re both driven. Though the way Harry goes after what he wants is not like me at all…which is why it’s fun to play.
8. In this show, Harry must choose between the comfort of community and his own ambitious dreams. When has there been a time in your life where you had to choose between comfort & your own dreams? My entire family lives in the Pacific Northwest…trying to be an actor forced me out of my comfort zone…there was no other option.
9. If you could buy anything at wholesale, what item would you want to purchase? Ozempic? Gold bars?
10. What is something we didn't get to talk about in this interview, that you'd like my audience to know about you? Just that I’m thrilled live performance is climbing out of the pandemic rut and hope to see more and more audiences soon!
More on Santino Fontana:
With his rich voice, dynamic versatility, and charisma, Santino Fontana has cemented himself as one of Broadway’s favorite leading men. Fontana was last seen starring on Broadway in his tour de force dual role in Tootsie for which he received the 2019 Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards®.
He is perhaps best known to audiences as the voice of villainous Prince Hans in the Academy Award winning Disney film Frozen. Television audiences saw him on the most recent season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and recognized him from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Shades of Blue, Mozart In The Jungle, Fosse/Verdon, Royal Pains, Nurse Jackie, and more.
His other Broadway credits include Hello, Dolly!, Act One, Cinderella, The Importance of Being Earnest (Clarence Derwent Award), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Drama Desk Award), Billy Elliot, and Sunday in the Park with George. He also received Lortel and Obie Awards for his Off-Broadway performance in Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet.
As an interpreter of the American Songbook, he won the renowned Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival when he was 18 and has sung with orchestras, big bands, and smaller ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, NY Pops, National Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Master Voices, Westchester Philharmonic, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Sesame Street Muppets, Phoenix Symphony, and at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Birdland, and the Bravo Festival at Vail.