ERIC ANTHONY LOPEZ – Interview
21 years old Eric Anthony Lopez made his Off-Broadway Debut in THE JACKIE MASON MUSICAL IN NYC. In two weeks he will make his WEST END/Opera Debut in Carmen at the Wimbledon Theatre in London. We have conducted an interview with him.
What is your most memorable experience when you made your Off-Broadway debut in "The Jackie Mason Musical" in NYC at just 19?
Wow! What a day. My first show was a blur. Everything happened so fast. I was cast in the show 2 months into my first semester at Manhattanville College, so I ended up having to balance both the first 2 months. The most memorable experience I would say was before the show walking into my dressing room for the first time & showing my family around backstage. I was a swing & eventually took over the part full time after leaving school. I was just so happy to be there, to have my first job, and one that would last for over a year! I was so grateful knowing that I was really doing my first long run every night. The cast and crew were beyond supportive, welcoming, and have become some of my closest friends. As a newbie to the business, newbie to living on my own in NYC, it was a grand & bold step to make but the supportive company made the transition from college student to professional actor seamless.
How does it contrast in doing "The Phantom of the Opera" in the UK?
Well for one, I'm in a new country for 6 months that I have never been to before. I'm over 21 now, not as green and use to a long run of a show now, so 6 months seems like a piece a cake compared to over a year in a production. My confidence and voice has grown since meeting my new teacher Mary Setrakian & taking classes & training on various things weekly while I was doing "Mason" in NYC. I also feel way more confident in my skin & my career. In terms of the show, "Phantom" has a long legacy because it's been running the West End & Broadway for 30 years. I just try to remember that I'm there to tell a story that everybody knows & serve a character. As long as I do that, I'm doing my job. I also love traveling and being abroad. I'm obsessed.
What leads you to these early successes in particular your opera debut in WEST END's CARMEN at The Wimbledon Theatre in London?
I would say luck & my nonstop persistence to get seen by the panel definitely played a role in getting "Mason" when I did. When I say luck, I mean a position opening up when I did and being so close to NYC, I don't believe it's like hitting the lottery. There was an opportunity, I believed the role, I auditioned & happen to get it. They took a chance on a blank resume. What kept me there and cascaded other amazing opportunities like CARMEN was playing on my strengths, doing the work & finding the joy in doing. Just because I left college & took a great opportunity in NYC didn't mean I stopped training. I trained a lot more over the course of that year than in college or high school combined. Also, I made people take me seriously with showing up on time, rarely calling out of the show, being nice, professional & respectful - simple things like saying please, thank you, I think go a long way. Just adulting - as they call it (laughs). I often feel like the life I live right now & the maturity that I have and expected to have doesn't match my actual age. I feel life I'm in my late 20's. This will be my first opera ever - I'm not a trained opera singer, however my voice naturally lends itself to that genre. I'm beyond grateful to be involved.
Tell us about Broadway Inspirational Voices & what it means to you.
Broadway Inspirational Voices is a choir of 70 professional performers from New York City's Broadway & Off-Broadway shows, past and present founded in 1994 & directed by the fearless (Tony Nominee) Michael McElroy. I had to privilege joined when I was 20. Being in that group, surrounded by top notch Broadway performers, & ones I've been fans of & have been my heroes for years growing up - it's just a blessing. For me, because of when I joined, It has been the best education from the best in the business. I truly learned something new every time in that rehearsal room. Everyone in the group has been beyond welcoming, helpful made me feel like I belonged. I don't belong in that room, & I know of many performers who are still waiting for a spot to open up, so the fact that I joined when I did has been - a blessing. I don't know how else to describe it. The music is a little out of my comfort zone, but I love a challenge and live to push myself. I truly feel if a Broadway show (which is my goal) is in my path, I will be more prepared to take that on because of what I learned from Michael McElroy & the other members of the choir. Period. There is no choice but to meet them where there at & rise to the occasion. My first gig with them was singing at The Papal Mass Event at Madison Square Garden. What a way to join a company. I am so lucky & grateful to be apart of The BIV family. Ever since joining BIV, I feel like I truly belong somewhere.
If you can have it your way, name three highly regarded performers in musical theatre whom you would like to collaborate with in the near future?
1. Sierra Boggess
2. Audra McDonald
3. Montego Glover (who is currently the soprano section leader and 10 year veteran of BIV)
1. Norm Lewis (who was an earlier member of BIV & remains a good friend to the choir)
2. John Owen Jones
3. Ramin Karimloo
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