MEET THE CAST:
Today, we shine the spotlight on Joey McDaniel, who plays the role of William Barfée, in our upcoming production of 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE!
Joey McDaniel (William Barfée) is excited to go back to school with Spelling Bee. He was most recently seen as Amos in PAP’s Chicago, and has previously appeared as Uncle Fester (PAP The Addams Family), Franz (FTH Sunday in the Park with George), and Igor (TBA Award nominee – PAP Young Frankenstein). Other credits include featured roles in The Grapes of Wrath, Annie, Sunset Blvd, and Rent. When not performing, Joey is a designer for EA and explores craft beer with his wife Jen. He thanks her for teaching him how to spell h a p p i n e s s.
1. You play the role of the William Barfee, what if anything, do you have in common with your character?
The great fun of playing Barfée (there is an accent aigu), is that he and I are nothing alike. Where he is guarded I am open, where he is standoff-ish I am overly eager to make friends. Plus, I’m a terruhble speler.
2. What made you audition for 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE?
It was a combo of three things; 1) I’ve long admired the musicals at Hillbarn and wanted to be a part of them 2) Linda Piccone is one of my favorite people to work with (this is our fourth show together!) 3) This show features one of my favorite emotions of laughter through tears. It not just hilarious, it has a real heart.
3. Have you worked with Hillbarn Theatre before? If so, what show(s)?
Yes, I played Connie in Hillbarn’s Grapes of Wrath. You might remember my moving performance as the “stage left pile of mud” during the dramatic flood scene. 🙂
4. What do you think the audience will be discussing on their way home after seeing 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE?
Each audience member is going to identify with a different speller. They are going to recognize their own strengths, weaknesses, and desires. That, and they’re going to learn how to spell some amazing words!
5. When did you discover your love for the theatre?
I “blame” my Mom. From an incredibly early age, she would wake up my sister and I with showtunes and classical music. I grew to love it (my sister … not so much)! My first show was when I was six, and I haven’t stopped since.
6. What is your favorite and most memorable role you ever played? Why?
There have been so many through the years that it’s impossible to pick just one! If I had to choose, one of my all time favorites was playing Igor with Palo Alto Player’s Young Frankenstein. It was joyous, heartfelt, and I really bonded with a lot of the cast. I could have run that show for years!
7. Do you have any wacky rituals you do before curtain call?
Not so much wacky, but that quiet two minutes after places has been called and I’m waiting to go on stage is one of my all time favorite moments. The delicious potential of that moment gives me chills each and every show.
8. If you could pick one actor/actress to perform with on Broadway, who would it be?
I have a list of a thousand people I want to perform with, but there is a tie for the current leader: Sutton Foster and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
9. What is one thing you are incredibly proud of?
When I was 11 I told my parents that I was going to “make computer graphics for video games.” And now, I’m a Web Developer for Electronic Arts. While I don’t work on our game titles directly, in some small way I support the teams who make games. 11 year old me would be quite proud of that.
10. What is one fact or fun thing that we don’t know about you?
My wife Jen and I run a website called WetYourWhistles.com. It’s a listing of all of the great beer locations within a mile of a Caltrain station. We love exploring new cities through their pub culture. We’re such hop heads that we even named our cats Hops and Barley!
Don’t miss your chance to see Joey McDaniel in 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE January 21 – Feb 7th, at the historic Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. Tickets available at hillbarntheatre.org