Aaay! Meet the Fonz, Nick Varricchio!
Meet Nick Varricchio, who plays Arthur Fonzarelli in our production of Happy Days. He gave us a little insight on who he is and what he's like.
I grew up in Mentor, Ohio just outside of Cleveland. My parents are the hardest working people I know, and I am the middle child of two brothers-- Domenic Angelo and Vincent Peter. Every Sunday night was "Pasta Sunday" at my grandma's house in Wickliffe, Ohio-- a neighboring town full of proud Italian families. We would pack all of our aunts and uncles and cousins around folding chairs and tables and enjoy pounds of spaghetti and meatballs and homemade sauce. My mom and me would always watch old Hollywood classic movies and swoon over the greats like Gene Kelly, Monty Clift, and Liz Taylor. My dad would take my brothers and me to Pymatuning in PA for a week of camping each summer and more often than not we served as secondary coast guards in our little pontoon on Conneaut Lake.
My brothers and I had such wild imaginations growing up. After rounding up our neighborhood gang and tiring ourselves of kickball and capture the flag, we'd pretend that we were movie-making machines. I soon began to live my life as if I were actually in a movie. Directors like Peter Bogdanovich and Roman Polanski and actors like Cary Grant and Lucille Ball helped shape my perspective of how to view the world around me. I am terribly fond of Dean Martin's 'cool' and influenced by the words of writers Ayn Rand and Elizabeth Gilbert. My mentors are more often than not people whom I've met only once or aspire to work with like Marilyn Maye, Mindy Cohn, and Bill Irwin. I would like to give credit to a dear friend, Brint Learned-- the artistic director of Rabbit Run Theatre. He directed me one summer in a production of "The Light in the Piazza," and the whole experience is a major reason why I'm still acting today. He allowed me to rediscover my creativity.
I first heard of "Happy Days The Musical" when I auditioned for this production. I was unaware of its history. I knew the TV show well, as I grew up watching Nick at Nite. Richie and Fonzie were like good friends alongside Laverne and Shirley, Dick Van Dyke, and Mary Tyler Moore.
The thought of playing such an iconic character was at first daunting and a little bit like sailing into uncharted territory. Nevertheless, I vowed to be up for the challenge. I made Fonzie my best friend all throughout rehearsals and wore his classic leather jacket religiously! Now if I could only get my hands on the one in the Smithsonian...
My favorite shows and dream roles include (first and foremost) Bobby in "Company", Brick in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and to one day have my own variety show called "A Nightcap with Nick Varricchio and Friends!"
Off the clock I enjoy doing CrossFit, writing short stories, listening to old records, making meatballs, learning languages, studying physics, reading...you get the idea.
Currently what's on my iPod: Karen Carpenter, Pentatonix, Donna Summer, the BeeGees "Saturday Night Fever," ...the beat goes on.
as Fonzie, with his gang.