In Part 4 of a series of interviews with the cast of Catholic University’s The Most Happy Fella, meet Bobby Cook Gallagher.
Joel: Introduce yourself to our readers and tell them where they may have seen you perform on the stage or in other local venues.
Bobby: My name is Bobby Cook Gallagher and I am a graduating senior at CUA! Currently, I am on tour with the National Broadway Chorus. This summer I worked at Imagination Stage as the understudy for Arnold in Double Trouble and I was in the Overtures 2015 program at Signature Theatre
Why did you want to be in The Most Happy Fella at CUA? What did you sing at your audition?
I wanted to be in the Most Happy Fella because the characters have so many dimensions that we see over the course of the story. I sang “Asking for You” from DO RE MI as my audition piece
Who do you play in The Most Happy Fella and how do you relate to him or her? What do you admire about your character and what do you not admire?
I am Pasquale. I am the head chef of Tony’s vineyard. I relate to Pasquale’s natural tendencies for creating a spectacle while maintaining an honest and caring connection with those around him. I admire his extremely refined ability to control his surroundings. I don’t admire how he is a narrow-minded person.
Which character that you are not playing is most like you and how and why?
Definitely Rosabella. She desires real relationships and wants more from her surroundings. She is not a pushover and is willing to risk anything to find real happiness and love. I relate to her desire for honesty and her drive to get what she wants. Also, she is extremely adaptable.
How would you describe the score that Frank Loesser has written for this show?
It is a very demanding score. I’ve never been in a show that has as many different thematic motifs and styles such as the Most Happy Fella. Lesser takes influences from Classical genres as well as western and European styles of composition. This score will keep you on your feet with all of its complex textures and layers. It’s a vocal workout for sure.
What is your favorite song that you are not performing?
“Big D.” It’s a full-out hoedown and the energy is limitless with everyone’s performance! I can’t watch that number without a huge grin on my face. Pasquale is preparing more food for party and isn’t in this scene.
What have been the challenges you have encountered while preparing for your role and how were those challenges overcome?
My biggest challenge was efficiently combining the physical and vocal demands of this role. Pasquale’s part rests on high G’s and A’s for roughly 90% of the show. That’s pretty intense considering the length of this show. On top of being in the upper register of my voice, Pasquale is an extremely physical person. I had to pace myself during the rehearsal process because I am literally singing High A’s while simultaneously doing classical ballet, holding a bouquet of flowers, holding a wheel of cheese, and while throwing pies across the stage. It’s a blast!
How would you describe Pauline Grossman’s choreography and which song’s choreography is your favorite, and which was the hardest to learn?
Pauline Grossman’s choreography focuses on the story of the music. Her choreography is physically demanding and integrates high level choreography into each piece. Pauline’s choreography in “Sposalizio” is my favorite. The hardest piece I learned was her choreography for Abbodanza, our first trio.
What are your solos in the show and what do we learn about your character when you sing them?
Pasquale and my two right hand chefs Giuseppe and Ciccio have two trios, “Abbodanza” and “Benvenuto,” and a reprise of “Abbodanza” towards the end of the show. We learn that these guys know how put on a show and throw a HUGE party. They care deeply about the happiness of others and show their love through food and wine with a lot of flare and class!
What does The Most Happy Fella have to say today’s theatergoer and what themes from the show are still relevant today?
I’d say the theme of finding true happiness through adversity and struggles is extremely relevant in todays’ society.
What have you learned about yourself – the actor and singer – during this whole process?
I really stretched myself vocally with this role and it has been insanely rewarding. Pasquale has been such a joy to explore and I have grown immensely as a performer, in all areas.
Why do you think The Most Happy Fella is a ‘hidden treasure’ of musical theater history and why should more theater companies mount productions of it.
I think it’s a hidden treasure because of the heartwarming story arch that focuses on the core of what makes people happy. I think more theatres should do this show because it has something for everyone to identify with and love.
What advice would you give another actor who is preparing to play your role in another production of The Most Happy Fella?
With the over-the-top nature of Pasquale’s songs and story, it is easy to make flashy choices for the sole purpose of being flashy and hyper dramatic. Every single movement and moment is rooted in honesty. Try to find a balance between the extravagance of this character and the honest connection to the people and story of this show.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing The Most Happy Fella and your performance?
Life rarely goes according to plan. You have to take risks and adapt to your situation while pursuing your hopes and aspirations. Love and true happiness come when you least expect it. And finally, an open mind and heart will take you on a journey you’ll never forget!
The Most Happy Fella plays from October 23-25, 2015 at the Catholic University of America’s Hartke Theatre – 3801 Harewood Road, NE, in Washington, DC. For tickets, purchase them at the box office or online.
Chuck Leonard’s review of The Most Happy Fella on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Meet the Cast of ‘The Most Happy Fella’ at The Catholic University of America: Part 1: Mackenzie Newbury.
Meet the Cast of ‘The Most Happy Fella’ at The Catholic University of America: Part 2: Emma Nadine Onasch.
Meet the Cast of ‘The Most Happy Fella’ at The Catholic University of America: Part 3: Drew Stairs.
Meet the Cast of ‘Carousel’ at Catholic University: Part 4: Meet Harrison Smith.
Meet the Cast of ‘The Most Happy Fella’ at Catholic University: Part 5: Bobby Cook Gallagher.
‘The Most Happy Fella’ Plays This Friday through Sunday 10/23-25 at Catholic University’s Hartke Theatre.