Joy is a Joy as Maria in MAMBO!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, September 16, 2019 at 12:00:00 am

 I'm from the Bronx then Teaneck NJ. I’ve been performing professionally since the age of 8! Mom took me to auditions in NYC when I was a child.  From a young age, I never thought of anything else! I would sing all the roles in Gypsy, Mame, Hello Dolly, and Guys and Dolls in the living room to the records my parents had.   

                                                                                             Joy Hermalyn as MARIA

I had a fantastic singing teacher in addition to my supportive wonderful parents.

I have been lucky enough to do several new musicals in my career. On Broadway, you have 6-8 weeks to hone, change, create, invent a role and a full person in rehearsal before people pay to see you! I had never imagined doing that in 8 days here at WBT where time is of the essence - I am pretty proud of memorizing this beautiful score and highly complicated script in such a short time, and equally proud of our entire company for the teamwork to bring this story to life. By the way, that includes the entire backstage world particularly my dressers, wig department, props, and stage management - without whom there would be no Joy on stage ready & able to do her work!
Speaking for myself again, the collaboration between the writers, composer, lyricist, director and I was thrilling - to have the opportunity to question, clarify and help give birth to a heartfelt, funny show is so gratifying.  I have to admit it took me a full 2 weeks to begin to ‘have fun.’

After I got the role of Maria, I watched the movie. I have no opinion really about films made into stage musicals, as long as a story is told and people who pay to see them are moved, entertained or given food for thought. 

I sure hope to come back to the WBT stage! It’s a wonderful family here, the audiences are so appreciative, and the show has high production values. Plus, I love the easy commute from NJ! 

I have so many favorite shows! From The Sound of Music, Hamilton, Sweeney Todd to Ain’t Misbehavin’ and millions in between. 

My dream roles include Rose in Gypsy, Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly, and the title character in Mame.  I have only played Mama Rose of that list, so Dolly and Mame are in my future, I hope! Other dream roles I have played were Annie Oakley (Annie Get Your Gun) and Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd)- though I would be blessed to perform any of those roles again! Adding to my ‘want’ list would be Joanne in Company, Sally in Call Me Madam, Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, Frau Schneider in Cabaret (unless someone doesn’t mind an older Sally!) 

When not on stage, I practice yoga, I love gardening, I adore cooking. In times between gigs, my husband eats very well!

I love almost all music - sounds so corny to say! In my heart, I am a classic rock and roll soul-folk girl, so lots of Springsteen, Aretha, Tina Turner, Who, Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Elton, etc. As a total Francophile, I listen to lots of Piaf,  Brel, Gauty. My opera singer brain listens to anything Verdi, Puccini and particularly love Renata Tebaldi (I named my daughter after her!), Leontyne Price and Marilyn Horne. And last but not least, I have playlists named ‘Sondheim, Bernstein, R&H’, ‘Broadway songs to learn’, ‘Broadway songs for my students’ and ‘Ethel, Ella, Angela, Judy & Carol.’


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