A few years ago, Dan DeLuca was leading a newsboys strike at the dawn of the twentieth century in Disney’s Newsies. Now, he’s charming his way through the roaring twenties in an all-new production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, based on the 2002 Tony Award-winning musical and 1967 film of the same name. I caught up with DeLuca in between rehearsals to chat about his new project, one of the best birthday presents he gave to his mom and everything Disney!
Rehearsals are currently underway for Goodspeed’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. Please tell us about the show.
We just started rehearsals and I couldn’t be more excited about the production. I didn’t know much about the show before I got the job but it has been a blast diving in to the world of the roaring twenties. It’s a brand new production, the set and the costumes are all being built and it all looks stunning. Our strong fearless director/choreographer, Denis Jones has assembled a room of extremely smart, dedicated, talented actors and I can’t wait for you all to see it!
And what about your character Jimmy?
Jimmy Smith is a smooth talkin’ city slicker with A LOT of secrets. He loves the ladies, illegal booze, and his city [Manhattan] so I’m definitely enjoying figuring out how his brain works. It’s very fun to step into an invisible time machine in my imagination and go into the world of The Great Gatsby
Let’s travel back a couple of decades from the 1920’s to the late 1800’s to discuss Disney’s hit musical Newsies. What was your audition process like for the show?
My audition process actually spanned over 2 years. I was initially called in for the show because an understudy was leaving and they needed someone to cover Jack on Broadway. I’ll be the first one to tell you that my dancing skills is not of “Newsie” caliber and could not cut it dancing with those guys every night but I had a lot of amazing cheerleaders behind the table on that creative team. It was only a matter of time before they had announced the Broadway closing and the Tour opening and I was fortunate enough to get the stamp of approval to land the role of the newsboys leader.
How did you find out you landed the role of Jack Kelly?
I was in Bryant Park on a beautiful spring day in NYC after a week of callbacks and chemistry tests with other potential actors for the production. I received a phone call from my agents and Justin Huff, the casting director from Telsey and they gave me the good news. It was also my mom’s birthday and she says that was one of the best birthday presents she has ever received.
With the huge commercial success of the show I can only imagine what life was like on tour. What’s the craziest thing that happened on the road?
It feels like your life is a shenanigan when you are on tour. I can’t necessarily disclose the craziest things but I can tell you that we had the time of our lives. We met a lot of crazy characters and had a lot of late nights exploring the cities. If you can explore the country with your best friends [and get paid to do it] I highly recommend it.
Like yourself, I am also a hardcore Disney person. Wanna have some fun and answer a few questions about Disney?
I love talking about Disney so lets do it!
Name your top 5 Disney-Pixar films?
This top 5 list fluctuates a lot but these days I’d have to say Beauty and the Beast
[animated], Peter Pan
, Sleeping Beauty
What’s your favorite treat and/or meal from Disneyland/Disney World?
My favorite treat/meal from WDW is hands down the BBQ Slaw Dog from Casey’s on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. It’s pulled pork, with coleslaw on top of a ginormous hot dog. Along with that, a side of crispy french fries dipped in ketchup and a nice cold Coca-Cola. You grab that right before the park closes at night and sit down on the green in front of Cinderella’s Castle as everyone else shuffles out. The music on Main Street is on loop in the background as you have a good heart to heart with a friend as you eat. Who could ask for anything more?
If you could star in a live-action remake of any Disney animated feature film. Which movie and character would you choose?
Okay, this one is a little sad to me because my dream role is Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast so I literally just missed my opportunity. I love Ewan McGregor and I absolutely love what he did with the character but that was my number one. Fingers crossed for the revival on Broadway.
Besides Disney, I know that you’re also a huge animal lover. Tell us about your Sammy.
Sammy is my family’s golden retriever and he is the most enthusiastic frisbee player on planet earth. He is made up of endless joyful energy and definitely lives up to the “man’s best friend” title. He lives in PA with my parents so I don’t see him that often but when I’m home, we hang out pretty consistently.
For more info on Thoroughly Modern Millie playing at the Goodspeed Opera House click here