Thursday, August 25, 2016

PHX Stages Q/A: Heather Fallon

by Gil Benbrook

"Wonderful comic turns," "great singing," and "a standout" are just a few of the many positive comments that Kerry Lengel from the Arizona Republic has said about Heather Fallon.

Having appeared at numerous theatres across the Valley, in everything from cabaret shows, ensemble comedic roles to leads, Fallon is now rocking out with Megan Moylan, Lauren McKay and Cassie Chilton in A/C Theatre Company's production of Lizzie, which ends this weekend.

For this production, the Examiner's Jennifer Haaland commented "there's no stopping the sly fun Fallon dishes out" and I said "Fallon's double takes, questioning looks, spot-on comic delivery and lush vocals make this supporting character into a crowd pleaser."

Heather took some time in between her Lizzie performances to answer the PHX Stages Q/A:

Heather Fallon (Jurewicz is my married name, but I still use Fallon for the “biz”, easier to pronounce & spell

Where you were born and or raised:
Phoenix native, one of the few! Actually a member of Phoenix First Families, my Great-Grandparents house is a historical landmark on Roosevelt

What made you decide to stay in Arizona?
Momentum, I guess. Or lack thereof.  If I had to do it over again, I would have liked to have experienced living in a few different places while I was younger, but by the time I got out of school, my folks were dealing w/ health issues, & moving away wasn’t really an option.
What your parents did/do for a living:
Mom & Dad were both in education; by the time they retired, my Dad was a Principal. Mom was offered a spot as a Principal the year she found out I was coming along, so she turned it down to stay a teacher and have her summers off.  They were both very well-educated, kind, and passionate about teaching, and I remember everywhere we went, we would run into former students of theirs who just adored them.

Only child of an only child

As a late-in-life baby, I lost my own family much too soon, but I’m so blessed to not only have found my perfect partner in life, Tony, but also to share in his wonderful extended family, including my beautiful step-daughters and step-grandkids.
Day job/part time job (if not acting full time):
As well as being a licensed Realtor, I am using my Biology degree from ASU in the field of Blood Banking, wearing a lab coat and doing sexy nerd stuff.  Although, as my husband’s Home Inspection company (Smart Start Home Inspections-He’s fantastic! Shameless plug!) continues to grow, I’m hoping to get closer to my ultimate career goal of being a Trophy Wife.

First show you ever saw:  
My folks took me to see a beautiful touring production of “Man of La Mancha” at the Sundome back in the eighties.  There was a big name in the lead, but I don’t remember who.  I wasn’t more than ten years old, but I remember being so moved by the show that I wept all the way to the car! Anyone who remembers the Sundome knows that’s a really long way!  Totally hooked from then on.

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living:
Still waiting for that one to hit me.  Performing for a “living” requires an infinite number of sacrifices that I just don’t think I have in me at this age.  If I’d gotten started earlier in life, I would’ve loved to have seen where those 80 hour weeks might’ve gotten me, but at this point, I’m pretty content to perform for “life” rather than for a living.

The one performance you attended that you will never forget:
Seeing Carol Channing in “Hello, Dolly” for the grand re-opening of the newly renovated Orpheum Theater in Phoenix.  Not only was it an amazing experience to see, but it was one of the only shows that my husband (whom I had just started dating at the time) and my Mom and I all got to see together before she passed away.

First stage kiss:
It’s a little embarrassing, but it actually wasn’t that long ago!  I’ve just never been the ingénue type, so it really never came up!  I think my first stage kiss was when Lee Powers ambushed me unexpectedly onstage in Company at DFT, as Larry to my Joanne, I guess because he just really felt it was in character, ha ha!

Heather Fallon (center) with the cast of Lucky Stiff
Arizona Broadway Theatre - 2015
photo courtesy Arizona Broadway Theatre

Best stage experience you’ve had so far acting?
Being directed by a bona fide Broadway star! Last summer’s “Lucky Stiff” at ABT was Directed by Evan Pappas, the original Britt Craig in the Broadway cast of “Parade”.  I’m obsessed with that show, and it was an absolute dream to work with someone whose ovice I’d been listening to for years on the cast album! I warned him ahead of time I was a total Fangirl, and he was so gracious, kind, and fun! Besides being a great Director, he is just an all-around awesome human being.  I still can’t believe I got to sit around drinking with him at our cast parties while he told me all his Parade and Broadway stories!

What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of your current/ most recent show?  
“Lizzie” is giving me the chance to do things I’ve never done before on stage.  The rock score is just outstanding, and you can really feel the energy and excitement in rehearsals.  Every cast/crew member and the whole band is so pumped to be doing this show.  It’s such a different style from any other show I’ve done, and getting to rock out with the insanely talented musicians Alan Ruch has put together in our band is unreal!  After sitzprobe, my face literally hurt from grinning all night hearing them for the first time!

Most challenging role you have played onstage?
Not sure if it counts as a “role”, but being cast as one of the Angel City Six in this spring’s “City of Angels” at TW was definitely one of the most challenging, and incredibly rewarding, things I’ve gotten to do so far. Cy Coleman’s intricate jazz harmonies in the score were originally arranged by Yaron Gershovsky, longtime music director of The Manhattan Transfer, and we had to start our rehearsals a full month prior to the rest of the cast to master the songs.  Thanks to Steve Hildebrand’s leadership, I know every one of us still considers scatting those tight harmonies one of the highlights of our stage careers!
What was the first show you performed in and what did you learn from it that you still use today?
The summer after eighth grade, my Mom signed me up for Theater Works summer teen workshop. They were doing “Godspell” and I was given the role of Sonja (the “Turn Back O’ Man” character).  I had to go out in the audience and be all flirty and sit on men’s laps and stuff.  I was just terrible!  I was just way too embarrassed and self-conscious, basically your typical thirteen year old.  I always think about that whenever I get nervous about being vulnerable on stage in some way, because even though it was so long ago, it still pisses me off that I wasted that opportunity because I was shy.

Leading role you've been dying to play:
Miss Hannigan.  No, wait…Abigail Adams.  No, Mame! Victor/Victoria!! UGH! This is hard!
Leading role of the opposite sex you wish you could play:  
Well, as long as we’re playing “I wish”, give me a lot more dance ability, and I’d want to do the Leading Player in “Pippin”!

Guilty pleasure show you’d love to perform in:
Somebody PLEASE do a stage version of Grease 2!!

Pre-show rituals or warm-ups:
I like to get to the theater really early and do my hair/makeup slowly.  I tend to just get very quiet, which, as anyone who knows me will testify, is not my normal state.

Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap:
I had a super fast quick change from maid to immigrant in “Ragtime”, right before “A shtetl is Amereke”, and one night I got it done so quickly I had time to spare.  I was really proud of myself until I realized the reason I had so much time was because I’d forgotten to go back onstage and strike this big planter box set piece where Mother finds the baby, so it was sitting there smack in the middle of Ellis Island for a while, until Brandi Bigley took it off for me.
Worst costume ever:
Ohhhhhh no.  You’re not getting that out of me!  

Heather Fallon (center) in Follies - Theater Works - 2104
Photo: Alastair Gamble

Best costume ever:
I’ve had a lot of awesome costumes that I’ve loved, but I think my flowy, colorful caftan in “Follies” has to be my favorite, because it was just so damned comfortable!  It was like wearing a nightgown, and I didn’t have to change costumes the whole show!    

Your go to audition monologue/song:
I’m terrible with monologues; I still don’t have one that I actually like to this day.  I try to switch up my songs every year and based on the style of show, but one that I can pull out of my ass at any moment is “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man”.

Worst audition experience:
I don’t know about “worst”, but my general audition for “Lizzie” was terrible!  I threw together a coupl of new-to-me songs that I thought would work for the rock genre, and I kept forgetting my words on one of them.  I had to start over twice and even went over to the piano and looked at the music to get back on track.  So embarrassing!

If you could go back in time and catch any performer or show, what would they/it be?
Original Broadway cast of “A Chorus Line” or Chita Rivera in anything    

Famous past stage or screen star(s) you would have loved to have performed with:
Elaine Stritch, although I’m not sure I want to have worked with her so much as partied with her

Heather Fallon in Company
Desert Foothills Theater - 2013
photo courtesy Desert Foothills Theater
Actor/actress in the Phoenix area you'd love to perform with:
I’ve been really lucky to have worked with a lot of amazing bucket-list Phoenix actors already over the past couple years (especially in “Follies”!), but I think I could die happy if I got to do a duet with Kristen Drathman on stage!

Your personal acting idols:
Rosalind Russell, Bette Davis, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Carol Burnett, Audra McDonald
Performer you would drop everything to go see:  
Barbra. Barbra. Barbra.

Current/recent show other than one of your own you have been recommending to friends:  
“Rock of Ages” at ABT was a blast, and “West Side Story” at Hale was absolutely beautiful!

Favorite play(s):
Peter and the Starcatcher
Favorite musical(s):  
West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Ragtime, Grey Gardens, Parade, Victor/Victoria (movie), Yentl (movie), Funny Girl (movie), Gypsy (don’t kill me, but the Bette Midler version), and basically every Sondheim show ever.
Some favorite modern plays/musicals:
Next to Normal, Hamilton (duh), Waitress, Book of Mormon

Favorite showtune(s) of all time:
Home, Being Alive, A Piece of Sky, Wheels of a Dream, Hold On

Most listened song/music on your iPod/Phone?
Right now it’s a toss up between Sara Bareilles “The Blessed Unrest” album and the “Lizzie” cast album

First CD/Tape/LP you owned:  
“Pete’s Dragon” soundtrack! I adored Helen Reddy!

Last good book you read:  
Re-reading Stephen King’s “It”, cant wait for the new movie!

Must-see TV show(s):
My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, BoJack Horseman, Archer, Orange is the New Black, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  I’m dying to watch Stranger Things, but we’re almost caught up on Game of Thrones, and I promised the hubby I’d wait so we could watch it together!

Guilty pleasure binge watching tv show:
Rewatching Buffy or Gilmore Girls for the thirtieth time

Last good movie you saw:
The Conjuring 2, that thing was so scary I refused to walk to my car by myself!

Favorite movie:
The Pirate Movie

Music/book/movie that makes you cry:
I still cry at the final airport scene in “Love, Actually”.  And when Celie finally meets her kids in “The Color Purple”!  And when Cole & his Mom are talking in the car about Grandma near the end of “The Sixth Sense”, ugh, Toni Collette kills me.  Add her to the “acting idols” question!

Favorite restaurant in the Valley:
Café Monarch in Scottsdale.  Too pricey to go very often but unnnnggghhhh it’s so good!

Heather Fallon and Megan Moylan in Lizzie
A/C Theatre Company - 2016
photo: Redline Designs
Favorite cities:  
Barcelona, Florence, London, Denver, San Francisco

Sports teams you root for:

Something about you that might surprise people:
My husband and I met in Mensa.  We’ve both killed a few brain cells since then.

Special skills:    
I’m really good at pouring things from one container to another without spilling.

Career you would want if not a performer:      
Event planner.  Or anything where I spend other people’s money for them.

Worst non-theatre job you've had:
Call-center operator for America Online

Best non-theatre job you've had:

Three things you can't live without:
Tony. Music. Wine.
Words of advice for aspiring performers:
Watch and listen when you’re not being used instead of looking at your phone.  There is something you can learn from every person you meet in this community.

What you love most about theatre in Phoenix:
The people; the sense of community

What you think needs to be changed/improved/different about theatre in Phoenix:
Maybe a little more professionalism/kindness on Facebook.  If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, why would you post it online?  And if you WOULD say it to their face , then GO SAY IT TO THEIR FACE! We don’t need to hear your business!!!

And, the “Inside the Actors Studio” 10 questions:

1. What is your favorite word?

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on?
Making me laugh

4. What turns you off?
Bad breath

5. What sound do you love?

6. What sound do you hate?
The phone ringing.  It’s never something good.  Anybody I want to talk to knows to Vox me.

7. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck.  Especially when I get to SING it on stage!

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Empress of the World.  I mean, if nobody else wants it.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that requires standing all day and/or being out in the sun

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Wanna go again?

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Helen Reddy?Oh I love you! She's so charismatic on stage,loved her as Joe's wife in Damn Yankees & she was great in The Full Monty but in real life she's a riot & Miss Personality,I'd watch her read the phone book