A Beastly Guy!

Posted by: wbtpress on Friday, April 18, 2008 at 12:16:00 pm

Not a beast, at all...nice guy, Joseph Mahowald had this to say.........

I was born and raised in Huron, SD (my babysitter was Sheryl Stoppelmoore -- can anyone tell me what her married name is???). [answer: Sheryl Ladd].  I was the youngest of seven children and the only one of us to pursue performance as a career.

When I was a sophomore in high school I saw a production of "Man of La Mancha." It was the first time I had ever seen a stage show and it was…magic!  I was in awe of the lead performer's abilities to act and to sing.  He absolutely captivated me.  I decided then, that I was going to be a performer.  I worked very hard at music and did all the plays I could until I got into college.  When I got there the guy who had played "Quixote"  three years earlier was a graduate student and I was mentored by him for the two years I spent at that University. I transferred to the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati after that and made the Dean's List for nearly all the semesters, finally graduating Magna Cum Laude!


A few years ago, I was honored to do the Disney film "Mulan."  It was such a thrill to do!  The process of making an animated film is unlike anything I've ever been a part of before.  We went to Sony Studios and, I must say, I was honored to be in a room with some of the most talented singers in the world!  We went into a room (a really nice room with BIG TV's) and watched the 'scratch' animation of the scene for which we were about to make the audio.  After that, we went into the recording studio and put down the vocals. It was thrilling!  The best part has come over the last few years when my own children saw the film and kept asking "where are you, papa? I don't recognize you!"


I have performed the "Beast" on two occasions before this.  The first was with my mentor, M. Eric Johnson, as director and as Belle's father.  My second time was Houston Theatre Under the Stars' first revival since they developed Beauty and the Beast.  The Beast costume weighs between 25-30 pounds.  It's always a challenge to lug that kind of weight around and sing!


My two beloved children like it when I appear in something they can attend.  I have played roles that kids really shouldn't see, like Jekyll & Hyde, where the subject matter is really not appropriate for younger children.  A few years ago, I played the title role in "Sweeney Todd" and my 6-year old son loved it!  I took him backstage before the show and introduced him to all the actors and showed him how they make the stage blood.  After the show I, again, brought him back to meet all the people I "killed" and he was fascinated -- he still talks about it over two years later.

I love my family!  My children and my wife are my love and joy.  My siblings and their families, too, are a great source of happiness.  Growing up in a large family has great rewards, in that you are born into a group of best friends.  We still get together on a regular basis to laugh and spend time together.  Holidays are WILD!  I'm also a Cantor in the Catholic church and delight in my faith in God.


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