Danny Quadrino who plays Mike Teavee in the touring company of the Broadway hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory took time out one recent afternoon to chat about his career, the musical now in Philadelphia, and how he has accomplished so much in his young life. His eagerness and joy telegraphed over the phone. Danny Quadrino sounded like a young man happy with life.
Ralph Malachowski: Danny, I have a number of questions. First, where are you now appearing with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? What are your strategies for the challenges of your character and appearing in a musical on tour?
Danny Quadrino: We’re appearing in Cincinnati right now. Our next stop will be Philadelphia. I would say that the most surprising thing about Cincinnati for me is the fact that Kentucky is just over the bridge. I know, it sounds strange, but I never realized it until I experienced it myself. The audiences in Cincinnati are great. I’m looking forward to performing in Philadelphia.
My character, Mike Teavee, is in all of Act II. He’s an 11 or 12-year-old brat who has won the fourth Golden Ticket. He loves technology a bit too much, hence the wordplay of his name since he loves watching television. He’s a problematic character. I asked my family about what I did to wheedle things and get my way when I was young, so that I could tap into my younger self and exaggerate it with this character. It’s creepy in some respects about how relevant his story is today, as it deals with his preoccupation with video games and violence. I have to say that we have three real children in the cast who are so sweet.
I have been really lucky in that I have appeared in several musicals, and I have learned how to pace myself physically. I stay physically fit, and balance work and life. I warm up before every performance, stretch, and get plenty of rest. Touring is a lot more intense than even appearing on Broadway. Jack O’Brien is a genius, his production is just so, so high energy.
RM: You have achieved so much in so short a time. You’re in your mid-20s, yet have appeared a few times on Broadway and graduated from college. Tell us about your journey.
DQ: My parents weren’t theater people, we lived on Long Island, NY, but my next door neighbor had been a Rockette. She was the one who saw me singing and dancing on the lawn when I was little and signed me up for dance classes. At first I told my parents I didn’t want to go, that it would be awful. It turned out that I really liked them, and immediately wanted more and more! I wanted six classes a week. My brother had been a pro skater, so my family accepted my passions. Living so close to New York City, I knew I had to live there. If you want a career in musical theater, New York City is the place to be. Reputation is a big factor for success, which is so important in theater since it is a team working to achieve a goal. My father had a saying I still live by when he said, “It’s not if, it’s when,” meaning that perseverance will pay off if you’re ready and have the talent. I had 24 auditions before I landed the role in Newsies. I also studied Musical Theater at Pace University, where I learned so much which I have used in my career. Appearing in Wicked was another learning experience. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is yet another great opportunity for which I am extremely grateful.
RM: Researching you on the internet, I find videos of you performing at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Tell us something about that.
DQ: I have been so lucky appearing at 54 Below. Such a great experience, I love music and love to sing, so it’s a real pleasure to perform there. I do have single from 2017, “Where to Begin,” which is available on most platforms. Apple Music is one of them.
RM: Our readers would like to know: are you single, married, or spoken for, and if you aren’t, well, what sort of person might interest you romantically?
DQ: I like men.
RM: Great. So, you would not be shocked if men crowded by the stage door proffering you discreet envelopes containing their business card and a Franklin or two inside with a note saying, “Call me?”
DQ: (Laughing) Oh, wow! Now that would be something unexpected! (More laughter) It would freak me out! Let me state that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a family show, based upon Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s book. We all love having children in the audience. We love hearing gasps from the kids when they see the amazing stage sets. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a magic story that transports them to another time and place. My parents will be seeing me during the Philadelphia run. All of us look forward to our time in Philadelphia with Philadelphia audiences.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a presentation of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Broadway Philadelphia season at the Academy of Music, 240 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, November 6 through November 18, 2018. For information and tickets, visit www.kimmelcenter.org .
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