Stories & Cast Interviews
Meet Schyler Conaway, Ralph Malph
My childhood looked pretty similar to that of Richie Cunningham growing up in Southern Delaware. With both parents working in education, school was a top priority in the household during the week, while the weekends were reserved for being outside fighting dragons and transforming my humble bike into a speed MACHINE!
The decision to become an actor came unexpectedly. While chasing after a middle school crush, I found myself enrolled into a theatre Summer camp, singing and dancing. As the camp came to a close, the theatre sponsoring the program asked me to be a part of their upcoming production of GREASE.
I suppose the snowball just began to build from there! As for mentors, that's hard to pinpoint, but I really think that we find mentors with every role and with every project; we learn from one another. So, my mentors are everyone I've had the pleasure to share the stage with. In this profession, I believe that none of us are masters; we are always learning and always growing.
I was unfamiliar with the musical version of HAPPY DAYS prior to this experience, but I did grow up watching episodes of the television series with my parents on TV!
In regards to playing such an iconic character, I think to keep from losing my mind and becoming overtly nerve wracked, I have to really release the energy of playing these "iconic roles." Don Most created and lived in this role for 10 years, so it's a daunting task to attempt to mimic that. I think we all are able to take the foundation laid to us by the original actors in these roles and then color and shape them as ourselves in these roles.
That being said, it's been exciting to REINVENT this character that so many people have come to know and love.
This is my WBT debut and what an awesome one it is!! There are so many positive things about working here thus far. First and foremost, we get to really challenge ourselves as artists and as creators. From the first rehearsal to the first performance, we had 10 days. 10 days to learn a full Broadway-style musical and perform it at that caliber! That's pretty remarkable. You find out what you're capable of, as a performer, and you surrounded by a company of people all on that same journey! It's exhilarating!
There are so many "favorite shows" but some that have really stuck with me over the last few years were Spring Awakening, Les Miserables, Next to Normal, Wicked and most recently, Hamilton. As for dream roles ... I've been so fortunate enough to have played both Melchior (Spring Awakening) and Marius (Les Miserables) and they were both a dream come true!!
Other than acting, I really love to be outside!! If the weather is nice and I have the time, I think the most perfect day would be to go on a long hike and just take in the beauty that is THIS EARTH. We are surrounded by so much beauty, and it's important to really take that in. I also love to read.
I'm currently jamming out to the tunes of Troye Sivan, Matt Corby, Jess Glynne and Sia. Obviously, the cast recording of HAMILTON goes without saying.
Ralph, second from the left
Ralph, front and center, with the Dial Tones
Meet Arnold, Peter Marinos!
I grew up in Pontiac, Michigan. My Dad owned and operated a Bar & grill and quite honestly in his apron with his welcoming smile he looked exactly like me in costume as Arnold!
As a kid anything musical or theatrical that was on TV was watched by my Brother, Sister, Mom and Yia Yia ( grandmother). Dad was usually at work. In fact though I was the youngest I was allowed to stay up later than my siblings if there was anything artistic being broadcast. Any guest that might stop by our house for a visit was treated to me performing something, at 3 years old my favorite was lip-syncing "Hernando’s Hideaway” from the Pajama Game which I performed in my Yia Yia’s bib apron so that I might do an elaborate Flamenco dance. Every school choir and theatrical production I was aware of I auditioned for and was accepted into. In high school, after a grueling audition process, I became a member and soloist with the Youth for Understanding Chorale. Our concert tour performed in the most historic, reverential, and acclaimed Opera Houses, Cathedrals and Concert Halls one summer throughout South America and the following summer in Europe.
Peter performing Hernando's Hideaway for his family at age 3!
At age 5 or 6 my Mother took me to THE KING AND I at the local High School and I was certain I had to be a part of that world where make-believe was presented live as reality. "Dreams are just rehearsals for experiences yet to come”, is my mantra and has influenced my optimism within the theatre community since my childhood.
Jonathan Stahl, and Leisa Mather told me about the show they were going to do at WBT and how I’d be a good fit for the role of Arnold. I knew of the HAPPY DAYS TV series and had seen a couple of episodes but was never an avid TV viewer.
Arnold is probably the one character in our production, and as written in the musical, that is not really all that similar to either of the Diner owners in the TV show, so I do not feel an obligation to attempt to recreate an iconic character.
WBT has cast me in several productions in the last 40 years. In 1976 while performing in BELLS ARE RINGING I auditioned for Bob Fosse’s CHICAGO and after working with our Musical Director for my call-backs I was cast as Mary Sunshine, making my Broadway debut singing soprano, while dressed as a woman!! Both of my Parents died while I was in a WBT production, so I do equate WBT with some of the most powerful events I’ve experienced on this planet. AND the commute ain’t so bad either.
THE KING AND I is still my favorite musical and I had the opportunity to play the King here at WBT in their extremely lavish, gorgeous production in 1999. I’m not sure much can top being the King but I have been doing readings of a play based on Hitler’s rise in which I play his mentor. The playwright is reworking the script, and if it is ever produced I’ll have the chance to fulfill that dream. The play is entitled MARCH the character is Dietrich Eckart.
When I'm not on stage, I enjoy doing anything with my husband John Haracopos but especially drinking Rose in the South of France.
I mostly enjoy life being accompanied by the sounds of my own imagination.
Peter Marinos, Far Left
Pinky's Back! Meet Pinky, Maria Logan
We talk with Maria Logan about herself and her role in Happy Days!
I grew up in Nashville, TN with my parents and my three sisters. We were always a very musical family, and each day was a discovery and celebration of a new artist and genre of music. My sisters and I would put on countless shows and spend our summers writing songs and creating plays. I definitely caught the music theatre bug from my family. Lucky me!
The two biggest influences for me as a child were "Singin’ in the Rain" and The Dick Van Dyke Show. We weren’t allowed to watch much television, but movies and TV shows like these were such a treat for us! Actors like Danny Kaye and Dick Van Dyke absolutely lit me up, and I knew that if I could make people feel the way they made me feel watching those films, then in the words of Danny Kaye himself from my favorite movie The Court Jester, “Life couldn’t possibly better be!”
In full honesty, I didn’t know the show was a musical until I saw the breakdown come out for this production! However, I was definitely always a fan of the TV show. Who doesn’t love the Fonz?
What I love about my role as Pinky Tuscadero is that she was only in a handful of episodes of the show, yet she has such a big presence in the musical. The way that Pinky affected Fonzie in the TV show I think appealed to the writers of the musical because it creates a great plot line for our “episode”. Roz Kelly has been an amazing and gorgeous woman to study and learn from during this process.
I love working at WBT. There is a definite sense of family backstage, and I always find a new family of friends in the cast onstage. Getting to stay at my home in NYC is also a huge plus!
Some of my favorite shows are "The Pajama Game", "In the Heights", and "Ragtime". My dream role is Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors".
I love doing exercise and yoga. I also enjoy writing and recording music.
I have such an eclectic mix of music on my phone, but here’s a taste: Hamilton Soundtrack (often on repeat), Brandy, Jess Glynne, Pentatonix, Nickel Creek, Bruce Hornsby, Lauryn Hill, Paul Simon, and Beyonce
as Miss Lark
Meet Joanie Cunningham, Mia Weinberger!
We got a chance to talk to Mia Weinberger about her past and what it's like to play Joanie in our production of Happy Days!
I grew up in Evanston, Illinois, right outside of Chicago. When my older brother, Ian, and I were growing up, our parents took us to see a lot of musicals, and we would often listen to musicals in the car and around the house, so my brother and I naturally got into musical theater at a young age.
I started off as a dancer first. My parents put me in dance class when I was three years old. My brother was an actor as a kid, and I always looked up to him in every way, so I think he is largely responsible for me getting into acting.
I wasn't familiar with the musical at all before auditioning for it! I also hadn't seen the TV series, but I've recently been watching it a ton to learn more about Joanie and the whole Happy Days gang!
Since I wasn't familiar with this TV series, I tried to imagine what it would be like to play a character from one of my favorite TV shows. If, say, Friends was a musical, it would be very important to me that the actors stayed true to the essences of those characters. Happy Days ran for eleven seasons, and when you watch a series for that long, the characters start to feel like your own group of friends. So I hope to honor the people who feel connected to Joanie and the world of Happy Days in my performance. Side note - is anyone developing a Friends musical? If so, please tell them I'd like to be involved.
I haven't worked at WBT before, but my brother music directed Titanic here. This is the first time in our careers that we've worked at the same theater!
Hamilton is my favorite show as of late! My dream roles include Elle in Legally Blonde and Sally Brown in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. And any of the roles in that Friends musical I just dreamt up.
I love doing improv and writing sketch comedy. I also recently started learning how to code! And I love to read and run (but not at the same time!).
I have lots and lots of Hamilton songs on my phone right now. I also listen to a lot of Sara Bareilles.