Alli Mauzey Takes on Seven Questions About Hello, Dolly!, Outrageous Characters, Comedy Influences, & Crazy Wicked Dreams
May 1st, 2018
by Josh Ferri
Alli Mauzey returns to Broadway in with an absolutely scene-stealing comedic turn as Ernestina Money opposite Bernadette Peters & Victor Garber in the Tony Award-winning revival of Hello, Dolly!. The Theatre World Award winner has made a name for herself for leaving New York audiences in stitches, thanks to her hilarious (and always incredibly sung) performances as Glinda in Wicked, Lenora in Cry-Baby, and Sydney in It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman. BroadwayBox caught up with Alli to talk about the joy of Dolly!, finding the human heart in these over-the-top characters, and her comedy influences.
1. What’s been the highlight so far of joining this revival?
I have a few moments in the show where I can very clearly see the audience. In this case with this show, I love it because in those specific moments I see sheer joy on people’s faces. And it’s contagious. My first week, I was so caught off guard with what I saw, in the best possible way, that I had to stop singing a few times. I was just so overwhelmed and moved. There’s so much happiness and it’s beautiful to see and be a part of.
2. What do you and Victor Garber do to pass the time between your moments in the Harmonia Gardens dining room?
We really don’t have that much time in between cues actually. It mostly consists of us making sure we’re in our next position and listening for our cue for when the curtain opens each time. We do have a little time behind our dining area before we enter the stage where the boys are entering and exiting as waiters. We’re usually exchanging fun remarks or fist bumps with them as they run by.
3. What do you love about performing outrageous characters like Ernestina or Lenora? How do you begin your approach to bringing them to life?
In terms of my approach it comes from a place of honesty for me. In my mind these people are real people I’m playing. So the more I can dig into their circumstances, the world they live in, their relationships to the people and things around them, etc. All of this information I can dig up and discover is important to me. That’s at the base of it and how I start. The more I know about this person, the more I have to pull from. And in terms of what I love about playing them...it’s not that black and white for me. I don't set out to create an outrageous character. I think a lot of the time the circumstances of the play and the writing does that for me. I’m convinced somewhere in the world people like some of the ones I’ve played actually exist. Versions of them anyway. And some of them I love playing more than others.
4. Who are your comedy idols? Who helped influence how you land your comedy?
The movie Three Amigos and any of those actors. Watching Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase in a scene together never gets old for me. I think Catherine O’Hara is freaking hilarious. I get excited when Melissa McCarthy or Amy Poehler have something new coming out. I love watching bloopers and outtakes of Will Ferrell. I don’t think I get through a week without watching the American version of The Office at some point, even if it’s just on in the background or I’m falling asleep to it.
5. What’s been your most mortifying or crazy onstage mishap?
Once in front of an audience, I sat on a chair and it broke right out from under me. I think I just picked up the pieces of the chair and carried them off stage. So yeah, I was feeling really good about myself that day...
6. You had such a long history with Wicked & Glinda both on tour and on Broadway. Do you you have a recurring Wicked actors’ nightmare?
I think the only Wicked related dreams I’ve had have been when I haven’t been doing the show. I’ve had a couple of dreams where I’m called in last minute to do the show without any rehearsal. But in those dreams, I find myself feeling excited for the challenge of it. I’ve also had a couple crazy dreams where I’m flying in the bubble and it’s going really fast or I’m flying at really dangerous angles and I’m holding on for dear life.
7. What was the early role in your life that put you on the path and made you confident about pursuing musical theatre as a profession?
Theatre for me growing up was something fun I did with people I really liked. So the reality of pursuing it didn’t really click in until a little later. I had made my Broadway debut in Hairspray. I remember walking to work and all of a sudden I had this realization that I was making a living, paying my bills, etc.—and doing it as an actor. I didn’t know how all of it was supposed to work until it was just working. And I thought that was pretty cool and that I wanted to keep doing it. I mean, I did go to NYU to study acting so when I graduated it was just a given to give it all a go.
Don't miss Alli Mauzey do the hoochie coochie in Hello, Dolly! at Broadway's Shubert Theatre.