Santino Fontana was on top of the world when COVID-19 shuttered Broadway two years ago.
Months earlier, he earned a 2019 Tony Award for his role as Michael Dorsey in the musical adaptation of the Dustin Hoffman film “Tootsie.”
While many performers struggled with the initial shutdown and shelter-in-place orders — and the recent decisions to close or postpone many current productions — the 39-year-old “indisputably thrived. It’s been the best time of my life,” he said. “I’m actively trying to find ways to keep it going as long as possible.”
Like others, he’s been involved with writing projects and an album “that’s been in the works so long, I’m calling it the ‘eventual’ album,” Fontana added.
He is still optimistic, despite the latest whammy in the two-year-long pandemic. “Theater isn’t going anywhere … the future will be bright. It just may take us a while to see that,” Fontana insisted.
Fontana will take the stage in South Florida on Feb. 5, the latest Broadway star to join SiriusXM host, musician and author Seth Rudetsky for an evening of music and candid chat at the Parker Playhouse. Just don’t ask Fontana for a hint about what the evening might hold for audiences.
“Seth doesn’t usually want performers to have any idea what he’s going to ask us to perform, which is great … for him. It’s actually a lot of fun. I love the doing … if someone else is deciding what I’m gonna do, I’m all for it. And I’m pretty sure Seth will bring up topics I do not want to talk about, but he won’t care,” he explained.
Rudetsky might ask him how winning a Tony transformed his life and career: “People immediately threw money at me and a whole underground sex club really opened up to me. I’m also now three inches taller,” Fontana joked.
Rudetsky might also quiz Fontana about his role as a man impersonating a woman: “I mean, the bottom line is that it’s harder to be a woman. Period,” he said, a little more seriously.
Fontana just hopes Rudetsky will select songs from his favorite composers. “The songs that have stood the test of time really resonate with me … Rodgers and Hart, Gershwin, Porter, Stone, Sondheim, Arlen — the usuals.” Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” reigns as the performer’s favorite.
While Fontana may not yet be a household name, as the voice of Prince Hans in the Walt Disney animated films “Frozen” and “Frozen 2,” he is already beloved by an entire generation of children (and their parents).
Look for that to change as he joins the cast of Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” in the upcoming season. His character just might make appearances in the following season, too, he hinted.
Fontana’s life might have been very different if he had pursued his childhood ambitions.
“I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. Then I met one. Kidding, I have friends and family that are lawyers and I love them,” he said, expressing absolutely no regret. Of course, someday maybe he’ll play one on stage or screen, but his fans will have no objections.
Tony Award-winner Santino Fontana will appear in the Seth Rudetsky Broadway Concert Series on Saturday, Feb. 5 at the Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. 8th St. in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets start at $37 at ParkerPlayhouse.com.