Contributing Correspondent Sue Matsuki
Interviews Doreen Montalvo
Tell me a bit about the show concept, which, of course, also tells us about your journey “From the Bronx to Broadway”.
“The concept came from folks asking me about doing a show. They wanted to know my story.”
When did you know that this is what you wanted to do…Broadway I mean? What was your first show and how did it happen?
“I always sang from the time I was 6 years old. I sang in church and headlined in my bedroom in front of my mirror with my round brush. I saw my first Broadway show at 16 and was hooked. My first musical was Godspell in college. I sang “By My Side” solo.”
Describe to all of us who have only dreamed of being on Broadway what it felt like that first night that you stepped on stage, looked up and said what?… “Holy Crap…I’m on a Broadway Stage!” Do you remember what you felt and thought?
“I’ve never taken for granted that I’ve had my Broadway dream come true not once but twice! I thank God every day. That first moment when we opened In the Heights I remember standing in the wings, feeling butterflies in my stomach and looking up to the heavens thanking God and dedicating this show and performance to my inspiration…, my dad.”
That’s really, really beautiful, Doreen.
So…why Cabaret? Who got you hooked? I’ve seen you many times and have been in a few shows with you (which is why I can UNRESERVEDLY RECOMMEND this show and Doreen) but how did you come to want to do Cabaret?
“I’ve always loved cabaret. My dad was instrumental in teaching me the American Song Book and I always felt like I was born too late. I would have love to have been a singer in the Big Band Era.”
Many Broadway folks try their hand at Cabaret and some of them have a learning curve of now having to sing less in character (4th wall stuff) and more from the heart of the lyric and “to” an audience rather than “at” them…tell us how you have learned to master this new genre.
“Yes, I’ve performed songs in cabaret shoes in the past but a solo show is terrifying to me. It’s you up there telling your story…totally exposed…Yikes! I pray that my storytelling will be well received and that my audience will learn something about me by the end of the night.”
Do you plan on auditioning for any new Broadway shows? I mean you’ve been in the mega hits, In the Heights and then On Your Feet where you got to play the lead role as Gloria’s mom…what’s next.
“I feel so blessed to have been able to have my Broadway experience and yes, of course, I’d love to do more shows. This life is about constant auditions and I’m always involved in new works…so who knows? I hope so!”
What was it like to work with Lin-Manual Miranda? He seems like a real guy and a lovely man…is he?
“Working with Lin was amazing. He was 20 years old when I first met him just graduated from Wesleyan. He tells the story of my being the first person he ever auditioned in NY. He’s a dear sweet talented genius and I adore him. I worked with him on demos for Moana as the grandmother and he was the DJ at my wedding! I got married on my day-off from the show and when my husband and I walked into our post wedding party he was totally spinning the tunes! He is so very special, and I am so proud of his success.”
I cannot tell you how happy I am to read this about Lin. He really seems very genuine. It’s nice to know it’s true! I’m curious…what would be your dream role(s) on Broadway?
“My dream roles? A bunch of mamas…Mama Rose in Gypsy, Mama Morton in Chicago and Diana in Next to Normal!”
They would all have to be updated to “hot” Mama Roles if you’re playing them!
Speaking of mamas and family… I have noticed gorgeous pictures of you with your family on Facebook. Tell me a bit about them and about your amazingly, supportive husband.
“I have a brilliant husband, we’ve been together 20 years and married 8. I’m a step-mom to three beautiful daughters and am a very proud “Mimi”, to my 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter Zoe.”
I think you should start using the term “GLAM-MOM!” Tellme, how do you balance your stage life with your personal life? It must be especially hard when you’re in a show with a Broadway schedule to fit it all in.
“It’s hard, we don’t ever have weekends, and trying to have dinner together is a difficult task, but I thank the good Lord that I have a very understanding husband who’s basically been in the business since he was a kid. His parents were a dance team, so he completely understands what I do and why I do it. And, yes, it’s rough to have to work on holidays, and weekends, when normal folks are relaxing and celebrating. I can’t begin to tell you how many weddings I’ve missed out on…but this is what I long to do and I cherish each moment and definitely make up for it when I’m not in a show!”
Is there anything you’d like our readers to know that I may not have asked you?
“I’d love folks to know that I am such a fan of cabaret and that I am thrilled to be a part of this beautiful community. I’m constantly learning and growing as a person and an artist.”
You can all go to see this amazing woman in her brand-new show: “From the Bronx to Broadway” which is a benefit for Cabaret Cares, Help in on the Way Today as follows:
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11th @ 7:00 pm
THE LAURIE BEECHMAN THEATER
407 West 42nd Street off of 9th Avenue
$20 cover / $20 Food or Drink Minimum
Join Doreen as she makes her return to NYC and The Laurie Beechman Theatre after 8 months on the road. This is a celebration of her “monumental” birthday, 30 years in the business and her journey from the Bronx to Broadway!
With Musical Director: Jaime Lozano and special guest Danny Burgos!