Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Joey Contreras, who is bringing his own brand of musical pop to NYMF in 2015. I got to talk to him about his one-night-only concert, which will be on Thursday July 16th, and his plans for his career. I really enjoyed talking with him and I am looking forward to his concert which will also be featuring Broadway’s Ben Fankhauser, Kerri George, Adam Kaplan, Krystina Alabado, Diana Huey, Spencer Kiely, Brad Greer and more.
Concert details: Joey Contreras on Thursday, July 16th at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center
Click here to buy tickets.
Joy: What was your first exposure to Broadway and musical theater, and how did that influence you and your music?
Joey: I was exposed to a lot of music in general at a young age. My mom and my dad were singers and performers and musicians, so I was always around music, and then at age four I started tap dancing and at five I did my first community theater production of the Music Man. I played Winthrop, which was kind of funny because I am a Mexican Jew and Winthrop was typically normally like a ginger Irish boy, but then I ended up just really loving theater and I did three more productions of the Music Man over the course of like five years. Actually I don’t know if you’re a Newsies fan
Joy: Yeah, I’m a Newsies fan.
Joey: A friend of mine who was in Music Man with me, she played the role of Katherine’s understudy- her name is Madeline Trumble .
Joy: I never got to see her in Newsies.
Joey: She and I did a production of Music Man. We grew up in the same area like fifteen, twenty years ago.
Joy: So cute.
Joey: She was my Amaryllis, I just honestly, I kind of grew up in theater very young.
Joy: You’re lucky.
Joey: Yes. My parents were very supportive and I had lots of dance, and lots of acting. I’m from Northern California so I started theater in San Francisco and I worked with really cool people and I really kind of was thrown in the professional theater very quickly.
Joy: What was your first Broadway show that you saw when you came to New York?
Joey: It was Cats.
Joy: I never saw that. You’re lucky.
Joey: It was, you know, it’s not like my favorite
Joy: I haven’t seen it and I heard it’s coming back, and people are like I don’t get it, why is it coming back?
Joey: Yeah, it’s a very polarizing show. I think it’s also either people really love it or people just kind of don’t. But that’s every show, true? I think certain shows more than others. I think at the end of the day everyone really loves Book of Mormon.
Joy: Yes, that’s true. I just won the lottery last week. That show was amazing.
Joey: Was it your first time?
Joy: No, it was my second time but it was my first time actually being able to see the stage, because the first time I went to the lottery I was like in the box seats and you can’t see the stage from there. I was able to see my sister’s head because she had a better seat. It’s really good. Also when you’re sitting in the front row you’re able to see their expressions.
Joey: Oh yes. I won the lottery one time too and I felt like a little kid. I was like oh my gosh, like Broadway the glow of just seeing them so close and seeing my friends up there and feeling like the Broadway life kind of on your feet. It’s just exciting.
Joy: Yes, I totally agree with that. I get excited every time I see a new show.
Joey: I hope that never leaves you. That’s the whole fun part of theater.
Joy: What are you most excited for about your concert next Thursday?
Joey: I’m excited to play some music that I love with people that I love or an audience that I hope will enjoy and have a good time. I mean for me it’s just about being there and having fun and connecting and enjoying music. I just love playing music.
Joy: The people singing in your CDs, are they going to be they’re singing with you?
Joey: There is a couple of people from the CD there, and then there is a couple of new people that actually have that I think are going to be the next wave of new stars and you know.
Joy: I’m looking forward to coming
Joy: You write music and shows, so I wanted to know if you actually produce a show, would cast yourself in it?
Joey: No, I don’t think so. I like to keep my book musicals separate. I perform a lot on stage when I’m doing concerts when I’m doing more of my pop music base, but when it comes to book shows and, you know, the musicals, I think it’s probably the best if I just was in the back and enjoy it.
Joy: Who would you cast in it?
Joey: It depends on the show, but I mean I want to cast Zac Efron in a musical.
Joy: Yes, he should definitely come to Broadway.
Joey: That’s who I want. I want to write Zac Efron a Broadway musical. What is your favorite?
Joy: Beautiful, the Carol King Musical. I love that show.
Joey: I can’t believe I haven’t seen that. Isn’t that crazy?
Joy: Why haven’t you seen it yet?
Joey: I know. I feel like I’m one of three people in New York that haven’t seen it. It just hasn’t worked in my schedule.
Joy: I still haven’t seen Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. That’s the show that I really need to see. Of the current shows that are on Broadway now. What are your current favorite shows that are on Broadway right now?
Joey: I really like I think Book of Mormon is fantastic, On the Twentieth Century.
Joy: Yes, that’s really good. I enjoyed that a lot. That was my first time seeing Kristin Chenoweth live and she is just a powerhouse. You can tell why she is a star in what she does.
Joey: Me too, that was my first time seeing her on stage when I saw the show.
Joy: How would you describe your music in one sentence?
Joey: I would say that it’s a full spectrum of emotions.
Joy: You have also worked with like a lot of cool people like Jeremy Jordan and other Broadway performers, how did you get them all involved in your music, and who would you want to work with in the future?
Joey: Honestly there are two things. One is I am not afraid to reach out to people, and two, the theater community at the end of the day is pretty small. So I just have lot of mutual friends with people and, you know, when they heard the music and, you know, that I had worked with other people it built up my credibility and it just kind of goes from there. So that’s really how got around and I went to college for musical theater, so I was trained as an actor, and then, you know, you meet people and then five years later all of a sudden sometimes they might become the next Jeremy Jordan, you know, he wasn’t necessarily Jeremy Jordan at that moment in time.
Joy: Like when I met him in Bonnie and Clyde he wasn’t that cool, but now he’s cool.
Joey: Yes, but I mean he’s one of those people that has it and I feel like when I met him people could tell that he was, you know, going to be something, and I definitely was in love with his voice and his talent and everything that he does is fantastic.
Joy: Who would you want to work with in the future?
Joey: Besides Zac Efron?
Joy: Yes, besides Zac Efron.
Joey: I want to work with Matt Bomer. I would love to work with Audra.
Joy: Audra McDonald?
Joey: Audra McDonald.
Joy: I still haven’t seen a show with her in it.
Joey: She was in Porgy and Bess it was unbelievable. Actually, I would also love to work with Laura Benanti.
Joy: She is hysterical!
Joey: But what’s interesting is that my music is that those people aren’t necessarily the people who would listen to my music but I still want to work with them.
Joy: Right, your music is very different, but it’s also very catchy. Your song Ohio, I was singing it for days the first time I heard it.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the interview!