Joseph Gloss has been with Hillbarn Conservatory since third grade. While at Hillbarn Conservatory, Joseph has been Baloo in The Jungle Book, Iago in Aladdin, an Oompa Loopa in Willy Wonka, The Footman in Cinderella, Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods, Jud in Oklahoma, and Archie in 13: The Musical! Last month, he was in San Mateo High School’s production of The Music Man as Winthrop. With a desire to learn about all aspects of theatre, Joseph has recently joined The Boy Friend as a junior stage manager. We can’t wait for summer when Joseph joins us in Changing Minds!
A: I wanted to do a show because my sister, Sarah was into theatre, and I wanted to do what she did on stage, and I wanted to have the same experience she had. So I did my first show, Really Rosie, and that was an interesting experience. I liked working with the director, Rickie because she always had fun games we learned how to play. I liked how it was a show where people didn’t have a lot of lines, but we got the feel of what a full show would be like.
Q: You were on the television show, Chopped Jr., can you talk about that experience.
A: It was very fun and very different than doing a stage show.
Q: You got to be in San Mateo High School’s The Music Man, tell us a little bit about that.
A: It was fun working with the older kids, and it was nice working with Mr. Friedman and Mr. and Mrs. Tribuzi. They’re very nice and it was great knowing the feel of theatre and knowing what it’s like at the high school level. I’m pretty honored to have had that opportunity.
Q: What musical are you currently obsessed with?
A: Probably She Loves Me because the plot moves quickly and it’s one of those shows I’m not falling asleep during it. During the Nutcracker I was falling asleep because it was so boring.
Q: What is auditioning for a show like?
A: People say that trying out for sports is the most intimidating thing in the world, well no, it’s not; auditioning for a show is. The suspense it adds to your daily life is crazy because you just do it, and you feel like you’ve done a terrible job a lot of the times, but usually when you feel like you’ve done a terrible job, it’s when you’ve done a good job. It’s very nerve wracking too, but once you get a lot of experience, it just comes natural to you. You just got to have an open mind, focus, and not be nervous.
Anyone can audition. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have. The first step is you got to sing in the audition. When you’re singing, you may not be the best singer, but if you just got to show your stage presence because that’s what the directors are looking for. Do research about the show, learn about the characters, and learn about all the male roles if you are a boy, or all the female roles if you’re a girl. Get to know the characters so when you go to your callback you’ll be prepared. The callbacks happen and the cast list comes out, and it’s an intimidating process.
Q: What makes you want to be in a Hillbarn Conservatory class or production?
A: It’s because of the family including Erica, Danielle, Xandra, Danny and other people at the theatre. It’s a big family who welcome you and they treat you well. Not only do they care for you, but they also teach you great skills.
Q: What was the first musical you’ve ever seen on stage? What did you think of it?
A: The first musical I’ve ever seen was in 2010 or 2011. I was in New York City, and I saw Mary Poppins. I liked it, but the one thing that got me confused was the guy who was dressed in silver; he really frightened me because he was naked. I was like, “Mama, why is there a guy naked on stage?” I liked the show. I liked the chimney sweeps, the songs, and I liked how Mary Poppins flew from the audience.
Q: How has theatre helped you in life?
A: It’s helped me a lot by boosting up my confidence skills and projecting in front of my class. It taught me life skills and it helps with bullying too. In 13, the musical, I played a kid named Archie who was being bullied because he had a disability, and it put myself into someone else’s shoes.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being in a show?
A: My favorite part of the show is probably tech week where it’s all coming together, and it’s getting lighting, costumes; etcetera.
Q: What is something that scares you the most about being on stage?
A: When you’ve got great directors from the Bay Area or producers that’s when the nerves kick in. When I see people I know like family or friends it gets scary sometimes. Also, when you do dangerous things on stage, it gets scary too, like fighting, or whittling. But hey, I didn’t have a knife. I had a switchblade comb.
Q: What has been your favorite part you’ve played?
A: I think it’s a tie between Jud Fry in Oklahoma!, and Winthrop in The Music Man. In The Music Man I got to work with Mr. Friedman, Robyn and Till, and all the high schoolers. In Oklahoma!, I learned about this guy who was shady and he just wanted to get him a girl of his own. Both Winthrop and Jud were two different characters that I both love.
Q: What was your favorite show you’ve been in?
A: My favorite show would have to be The Music Man because the production itself was very great. I was happy to go to every single rehearsal, and seeing Mr. Friedman always put a smile on my face.
Q: What’s your dream role and why?
A: My dream role is Javert in Les Miserables because he reminds me of Jud, and Jud has an epic death, and Javert has an epic death. Both are very similar characters, and what I’ve learned with Jud, I want to take it to Javert and add to the character by taking it to another level.
Q: Which Broadway performer do you feel is your spirit animal and why?
A: I mean, I have a few, its either Liza Minnelli, Carol Channing- because let’s be honest, Carol Channing is a diamond and did you know that diamonds are her best friends? I think also Patti LuPone because all three of them have come from small families and have gotten big. Carol Channing went to school in San Francisco and she tried, and tried, and tried her hardest and she got great roles because she is a great stage actress. Patti LuPone is awesome. Liza Minnelli is an awesome diva!
Q: What is something you look forward to at Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: When I’m older I look forward to directing a show, stage manage a show, and work summer at the Conservatory.
Q: Does doing shows motivate you to do things to improve your talents such as voice lessons, acting classes, and dance?
A: Yes! During the shows it made me want to take vocal lessons, dance lessons that really helped improve my skills.
Q: Why should people your age do Hillbarn Conservatory?
A: It’s a great experience, and it’s one of those things where you get into it. You learn life skills, and make new friends. All my friends I’ve made through Hillbarn.
Q: What person would you love to be on stage with? This person can be from any time dead or alive.
A: Brad Friedman because I want to experience doing a show with a talent like that.
Q: What is the one song you sing when you are all alone belting your face off?
A: After I saw Evita at San Mateo High School, I was obsessed with the song “A New Argentina”. So one time I was in the shower, my mom was downstairs, and my sister and dad were out. I started singing “A New Argentina” the part where it’s she sings, “He supports you, for he loves you…” to a high E where she sings. My dream is I want to go undercover and audition for Mr. Friedman. I’ll dress up as a girl, and then sing that song, and he’s going to clap for me, but he’s not going to cast me in the show, of course. For the next show I’m going to audition singing a song from Glee, and I’d start dancing, and I’d point to him, and say, “Come up here.” He’d come up and dance with me then I’d pull my wig off to reveal it’s me.
Q: Well, now Brad will know because he’ll probably read this interview.
A: Oh…probably. So Brad Friedman, if you’re reading this, shout out.
Q: Can you talk about any show mishaps?
A: In Oklahoma! the kid who played Ali Hakim was playing with a prop, “The Little Wonder” that had a button that opened up a fake switchblade. Backstage he was asking me how the prop worked. I was showing him that if you press a button it pops open. So he pressed the button and he cut my finger, and it started bleeding.
Also in Oklahoma! I tripped over a rocking chair that we borrowed from Serra High School, and I fell.
Q: What’s your routine that you go through before you go on stage?
A: For Jud I had the best stylist ever who did my makeup her name was Xandra Nemchik, and she’s awesome and she’s my sister, and I’m her sister too. Before I go on stage, I take a moment to realize who I am, and the situation. I tell people “Break a leg.”
Q: If you could do anything else in theatre, what would you try?
A: I’d like to do something behind the scenes. Not in front of it like I am now, but behind the scenes.
Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?
A: I want to do something with theatre. I think I want to Minor in Directing, and Major in Music.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents no one really knows about?
A: A hidden talent for me is carpentry. I would do this camp a lot where we’d build stuff. I still like to build stuff like modify things, or refurbish things. I’ve made planter boxes, swords, and a car. I also like getting involved in the art of it. Starting a project and finishing it.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say?
A: I’d like to thank the academy. I would like to thank Erica, Danielle, Dan, Amanda, Mr. Friedman, Till Tribuzi, Robyn Tribuzi, Jim Ambler, and most of all especially Xandra.