Sunday, March 6, 2016

Spotlight On...Joe Gulla

Name: Joe Gulla

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Education: Fordham University… oh and, of course, my “Nanny”

Favorite Credits: As a writer, The Bronx Queen, Faggy at 50, Daddy, Garbo, REEL WOOD, Knock Off!, Gayfever, Christmas Caroline

Why theater?: I saw The Wiz with Stephanie Mills in 1977. My parents bought us seats in the first row. When that young girl sang “Home”… inches away from my young ears, I took it as a “call to duty”!

Tell us about The Bronx Queen: Ah, The Bronx Queen… well, it’s an autobiographical monologue done in the spirit of Spalding Gray. I sit at a table, sip water and tell my story. One of the running themes is the fact that my Dad would take me on a fishing boat (weekly!) called… you guessed it… The Bronx Queen! This was in an effort to “make a man out of me”! Ha! Yeah, I know… irony in its ultimate form! But, I must say, this theme serves to propel my story!

What inspired you to write The Bronx Queen?: It was originally planned as a book. I had a few stories I would tell at family gatherings. They always got a great reception and lots of laughs. I thought I would tell some of those stories in an improvisational way at a festival or two. But, when I sat down to prepare, something special happened. The stories came together and had a lovely cumulative effect. The words/stories and their placement mattered… a lot! That’s when it became a fully formed, "serious business" piece.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I’ve already mentioned Spalding Gray. He’s always been a great inspiration to me. He taught me the power of words. He taught me how something so simple can result in something grand! I like when modern theater touches on historic/legendary themes. It’s great to enjoy something in the moment, yet walk away with something that resonates.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: EASY!… “HOT, INTENSE ,WELL-CRAFTED NEW MUSICAL", music and lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, Book by Joe Gulla.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Way before there was a show called “Hamilton”, I was begging people to see “In The Heights”!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Well, if we did an animated version of The Bronx Queen and they wanted "a name"… Harvey Fierstein would be on my producer’s speed dial. If they went “live action”… then it would be "The Bronx Queen" starring Joe Gulla as himself.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Funny Girl… Barbra Streisand… I STILL resent my parents for their timing!

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Sometimes I make the lady at Magnolia Bakery slather fresh vanilla frosting on my chocolate chip cookie!

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: ...canceling my gym membership!

What’s up next?: My new play, Gayfever, has its World Premiere at Funky Little Theater Company in Colorado Springs, CO on March 4th! Catch the “fever”!

For more on Joe, visit http://www.joegulla.com/

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