Friday, August 5, 2016
Spotlight On...Todd "Tif" Fernandez
Hometown: Tampa, Florida
Education: Masters of Law in Human Rights
Favorite Credits: I was in Grease, The Cradle Will Rock, West Side Story, and performed in a high-school group in 1980 called Sound System, which was a lot like Glee today. But my favorite credit is my gay-rights activism and creating The Equality Pledge Network, where over 250 LGBTQ and allied groups united to demand the filing of The Equality Act, a federal bill for full LGBT civil rights.
Why theater?: Because I'm an old show tune queen and music is my soul.
Tell us about That's MISS FITS, to YOU!: MISS FITS is about a mystical spirit guide who inspires great moments of community liberation, like the Stonewall Riots & Rosa Parks. Set as a mystery-musical, four drag Divas take us along a fascinating journey with a big reveal. It has lots of dragalicious production numbers, and some deep stories of polygender self-love.
What inspired you to write That's MISS FITS, to YOU!?: In 2001, musical started pouring out of me suddenly, and MISS FITS, was my third musical in five years. I later realized the music was my catharsis. After writing it, I went to Africa for a year, and ended up back in the closet as a gay man at the age of 44. This reconnected me to the childhood trauma I had long forgotten, and turned me into a full-time gay rights activist. I now see that Miss Fits was guiding me, and now to the stage we go!
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love melodies and the old school songs that make you feel something because the lyrics and harmonics connect at a deep spiritual level.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Barbra Streisand. The one and only.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: That's MISS FITS, to YOU! opening August 13th in NYC. Ha. Another show? I still love The King & I, the first musical I saw in NYC when I was 14 back in 1977, with Constance Towers & Yul Brynner. I'd like to sing Anna's role, in semi-drag, full soprano one day. Or maybe play LIza in Cabaret.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: A younger Richard Dryfus, as my lawyer side, and Bette Midler as my Radical Faerie side. We'll call it "Serious-Sassy-Sally".
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Dancing to Lady Bunny at the Monster, after singing around the piano up stairs. The other is going to Orchard Beach in the Bronx, where there's a secluded gay-mostly island in the woods. It's paradise really.
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: I unfortunately, don't work in theater. It's more of a passion hobby. But come see the show, and if you like my music, I’m available to compose!
What’s up next?: I think I'm going to work on Hillary's campaign in Michigan to help seal the deal. #MadamPresident2016
For more on That's MISS FITS to YOU!, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1224538287580214/