Special Episode #12: In anticipation of the upcoming release of the cast recording of Encores Off Center’s production of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater starring Santino Fontana, I bring you a podcast episode featuring Santino himself! I had the privilege of playing a small role in the show, so I got to watch Santino at work, and he is truly a brilliant artist. You’ll hear me acknowledge him in this episode, and although it sounds like I’m praising a mere ability to memorize quickly (one of my pet peeve compliments), what I meant and didn’t quite articulate was that he seemed to arrive at a full and complete performance, i.e. emotional depth, sense of humor, facility with the language and music, almost immediately with no ostensible effort. It was pretty amazing. And for the record, the name of the complicated song he nailed in the cast recording is “A Firestorm Consuming Indianapolis.”
Rosewater aside, Santino has graced many a Broadway production, including Billy Elliot, Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Importance of Being Earnest, Cinderella, and Act One. Additionally, he is probably best known for his performance as Greg in the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and as the voice of Prince Hans in Disney’s blockbuster film Frozen. But for me, first and foremost, he’ll always be Aaron from the web series Submissions Only.
In this episode, Santino sings “At Sea,” a song from the abandoned show Hashi, a piece on which I collaborated with Beth Blatt. Loosely based on the Pollyanna story, the young, recently orphaned boy Hashi has been sent to live with his Aunt Barb, a single, hardened New York City working woman. In this song, Barb’s ex-boyfriend and upstairs neighbor Ben is back on a break from the cruiseline doctor job he accepted directly after their breakup. In a conversation with Hashi, Ben reflects on his choices over the past few years. (FYI, the sheet music and piano accompaniment track for “At Sea” have just been added to my online music store.)
As for Santino, he is tireless! Here’s what he has coming up:
On July 21 & 22, he’ll be performing in a concert with Laura Osnes and Ted Sperling in Chicago
On July 28 he’ll be doing a concert version of The Music Man with his wife, Jessica, in the Poconos
From August 12-20, he’ll be appearing on the Broadway on the Rhine River Playbill Cruise
Also look out for him in some upcoming episodes of Mozart in the Jungle, returning to play yet another title role, Mozart himself!
This episode was recorded on April 20, 2017.