Theater News

A Big Night in Northport

John Tartaglia and Becky Gulsvig talk about participating in the John W. Engeman Theater’s Broadway Concerts series.

John Tartaglia
John Tartaglia

Broadway stars will light up Long Island on Saturday, November 6 when John Tartaglia, Becky Gulsvig, William Michals, Allison Case, and Eric Jordan Young visit the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport as part of the theater’s ongoing Broadway Concerts series. TheaterMania recently spoke with Tartaglia and Gulsvig about this exciting event and other topics.

THEATERMANIA: Is heading out to the John W. Engeman Theater your personal version of going on an adventure?
JOHN TARTAGLIA: One of the directors has been trying to tell me about it for a long time, and has always asked me to come do it, but it’s never worked out timewise. I’m excited to finally get a chance to go out there because I hear it’s such a beautiful place. With the exception of a few little things for Johnny and the Sprites, I haven’t done much on Long Island. It will be fun to jump in a cab and go!

TM: Many of your fans are accustomed to seeing you in roles geared toward adolescents. Will they be surprised with what they hear at the Broadway concert?
JT: I actually haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet! Isn’t that lame? I think it’s going to be a combination of a couple of things I did for my Joe’s Pub show, and I’m sure something from Avenue Q, and hopefully a couple of different kinds of things. It will be whatever I feel is the right thing to do. It’s nice to have that kind of freedom. I also have a feeling a lot of the people who are seeing the show probably haven’t seen a lot of the other things I’ve done, so in a way it will be new and exciting.

TM: Earlier this year you told us that the ideal John Tartaglia original musical would star Carol Channing, the Dixie Chicks, and Celine Dion. Who would be in the ideal John Tartaglia Broadway concert?
JT: Probably Bernadette Peters, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Norm Lewis, Lillias White, Anthony Rapp, and Julia Murney. I’d get tickets to that for sure.

TM: Are there any new characters joining the cast of your hit Off-Broadway show, ImaginOcean?
JT: There are two characters that are new for the Christmas shows. One makes an appearance, and I won’t tell you who that is. The other one is our host, Ryan Starfish, who is very much a tribute to Ryan Seacrest. He’s kind of an underwater deejay. We created an underwater station called H2O radio. For the holidays, they’re doing this big holiday sing-a-long. All of the characters from the show, and of course the audience, are all involved, and Ryan leads the festivities!

Becky Gulsvig
Becky Gulsvig

TM: Becky, with which songs are you planning to make your Long Island debut?
BG: I am singing “That’ll Show Him” from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, “Cooties” from Hairspray, “So Much Better” from Legally Blonde, and “A Change in Me” from Beauty and the Beast.

TM: You haven’t performed in a production of Beauty and the Beast. Why have you decided to sing “A Change in Me”?
BG: I spent the last four years with Legally Blonde on Broadway and with the tour, and I have learned a lot, changed a lot, and grown a lot. That song talks about learning and growing, and I think it’s a good kick off to whatever comes next. It demonstrates that you should just believe that good things are coming. I also chose it because at some point in my life I also want to be a Disney princess!

TM: Now that your time as Elle Woods is over, what have you been up to?
BG: I recently joined Midtown Direct Rep, a new theater company based at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, which is close to my home in Maplewood, New Jersey, and it’s a lot of fun. So many great actors are involved, including Christiane Noll, Norbert Leo Butz, and David Josefsberg. And I am happy at home practicing using the dishwasher. My husband says I am allergic to it because I am always leaving dishes in the sink!