Interview: Tony Magaña Jr Discusses Casa Valentina & His Gregory Award Win

Tony Magaña Jr Equality365.com interview

Tony Magaña Jr. plays Jonathon/Miranda in Lesser-Known Player’s presentation of Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein. The show opens tonight at Erickson Theatre Off-Broadway on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It runs October 19-28th. Get tickets and more info here

Tony is joined by a talented cast of characters as they explore life, controversial topics, dresses and the world of self-made women. He took a few moments to tell us about his experience with the new production and his recently received Gregory Award! Read our interview below:

Earle Dutton (ED): Could you tell me a little bit about Casa Valentina?
Tony Magaña Jr (TM): It is written by Harvey Fierstein and directed by Derek Villanueva. It is a story about seven heterosexual men who go to this resort in the Catskills Mountains in New York. They get away every weekend to dress up as women. In this play, you see them dealing with deciding whether they should become an official organization and open it up to the public or to stay private and keep their identities private.

ED: What do you like about Harvey Fierstein?
TM: He is a really good writer. He kept a lot of comedy in the play but there are also a lot of controversial topics that he broaches. He kind of forces the audience to go into these conversations with him. I really enjoy that he makes people a little uncomfortable because there are topics that aren’t really talked about very often.

ED: Could you tell me a little bit about your character?
TM: My character is Jonathon who becomes Miranda. Jonathon is a 24-25 year old newlywed. It is his first time going to this resort and actually dressing up as a woman in public. He is new to the entire experience. He is very shy and kind of a book worm. He keeps to himself. He loves to transform into Miranda and leave all of that stuff behind. He becomes very outgoing. The other girls help him out with it as well.

Tony Magaña Jr in Casa Valentina (Lesser Known Players)

ED: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
TM: I was in musicals and plays in high school. I actually started with singing, which became a real passion of mine. My high school drama teacher encouraged me to continue acting and go to a performing arts school after high school to see if I liked it. I ended up going to AMDA (American Musical & Dramatic Academy). I studied theater, musical theater and on-camera acting. I realized that I really wanted to pursue that career path.

ED: Are there any characters/parts you are just really yearning to play?
TM: There is a musical called In The Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda. That is my dream musical to be in. I would to play Sonny de la Vega. He is a really young, fun, and joke-cracking-guy. It is a lot of fun. There is a lot of dancing and great Latin music in there as well.

ED: How did it feel when you found out you won the Theater Puget Sound’s  2018 People’s Choice Gregory Award for Outstanding Performance in a play?
TM: I am really excited about the Gregory Award. It was really nice to see how many people were out there to support me. Since it was the People’s Choice Award, it wasn’t just the members of the Theatre Puget Sound, it was audience members as well. It was really touching.

ED: Could you tell me about the role you won the award for?
TM: It was for the role of Alejandro Arroyo in Welcome to Arroyo’s at Theater Schmeater. A play by Kristoffer Diaz. It was directed by Jay O’Leary. It is the story about a Puerto Rican brother and sister who lost their mother. They had to take over the family business in New York City. He takes his mother’s bodega and turns it into a bar. You see him, his sister and two best friends grow up pretty quickly.

More about Tony Magaña Jr:

Tony Magaña Jr. is a first generation Mexican American, born and raised in Sunnyside, Washington. He has made a home in the Seattle area for the last 5 years. A graduate from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in Los Angeles, Tony received vigorous training focused around musical theater, as well as performing on camera. His next endeavor will be to work on a directorial debut. Tony’s most recent work includes Welcome to Arroyo’s as lead, Alejandro Arroyo (Theater Shmeater), Now. Here.This. Miscast Cabaret (The Pocket Theater), ACTLab and Show Tunes Theatre Company’s Bridges of Madison County (The Allen Theater), and Seattle Musical Theatre’s Kiss Me Kate (SMT at Magnuson Park). He has also had the pleasure to work with local artists and production companies in short films, internet commercials, and voiceover work. Tony recently received Theater Puget Sound’s  2018 People’s Choice Gregory Award for Outstanding Performance in a play.

Cast of Casa Valentina

George/Valentina – Tom Stewart
Rita – Janette L. Oswald
Jonathon/Miranda – Tony Magaña Jr.
Bessie – Doug Knoop
Charlotte – Patrick J Lucey-Conklin
Michael/Gloria – Michael Cercado
Terry – Gerard Menendez
The Judge/Amy – Tim Platt
Eleanor – Danielle Daggerty

The Artistic Design Team
Director | Derek Villanueva
1st AD | Gary Fetterplace
Composer | Jon Brenner
Stage Manager | Thom Blackmore
Set Designer | Gary Fetterplace
Costume Designer/Key Hair & Make Up | Jon Allbie

Connect With The Lesser-Known Players

Website (here)
Facebook (here)

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About Earle Dutton

Earle Dutton is the Chief Blogger and Editor of Equality365.com. He founded Equality365.com in 2013 to provide information about LGBTQ friendly events of interest, and to support LGBTQ entertainers and supportive artists who visit our community. Earle is a successful businessman in the Pacific Northwest with a long history of support for and involvement in, the Northwest LGBTQ community. His personal interests include: music, theater, pets, culinary arts and technology.

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