Dominic Fortuna is from Detroit, growing up in a family of entertainers -- his father played in a band and his mother was an opera singer.
He knew that if he went into the family business, “I wouldn’t have to make pizzas in a kitchen.”
Fortuna played Vince Fontaine in “Grease” on Broadway and on the national tour with Taylor Hicks. He is now starring in the national road company of “Grease” as Vince Fontaine and Teen Angel. The show comes to Columbus in the Bill Heard Theatre Wednesday-Thursday.
How many times have you done “Grease”?
This is my third tour of “Grease.” I toured it one when I was 18. I was Danny when I was 18. Now I’m Vince Fontaine. By the time we hit Georgia, I will do Teen Angel, too. I did that on Broadway. Taylor played Teen Angel on Broadway. We became very good friends. He’s coming to Michigan to work in my dinner theater.
Where is the dinner theater?
It’s in northern Michigan in Traverse City (Williamsburg Showcase Dinner Theater). My wife, Ashley Fortuna, is also in the entertainment business. She runs the dinner theater with me. She’s a mom and I’m madly in love with her. We have two boys, Dominic, who will turn four in May ad Luciano, who will be four-months-old tomorrow.
Your children are young now. I’m guessing they can travel with you? When they are older, will you home-school them?
Dominic came to New York when I was on Broadway. He’s been to six or seven cities with my wife. He’s been around the music industry all his life.
He can already do his own little show on the dining room table.
And the baby?
He has a great personality. He’s going to have a great voice. He has big lungs with very good resonance. And yes, he’s named after Luciano Pavorotti.
How long have you had the theater?
It’s in its seventh year. It’s owned by a catering company.
Who performs at the theater?
I try to base all my talent locally. It’s worked.
Do you work with a lot of young people?
I just hit 40, so I have no choice but to become a teacher. It’s OK. I’m finding myself enjoying finding talent. I’ve always been a really excited entertainer. So I turn it inside out and teach someoe else to obtain instinct and how to take care of themselves. It’s fun and it helps me, to.
Are you having fun on this tour?
The whole cast is wonderful. They are very young. It’s very “High School Musical.” I love walking on the stage every night. I know what I’m supposed to do. It’s one of the more consistent things. It’s the same illusion every night. I do the preshow and I really, truly am having a good time. If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be here. Come on, it’s a rock and roll musical. It’s “Grease.” It’s such a good show.
What’s next for you?
I really do take it in the present. I take care of what’s right in front of me. I have casual plans for the next week. I try to keep a good attitude.
I’m in the process of writing three new shows. They are in the concept phase. We’ve been doing auditions and after the tour, I’ll be jumping into the summer program.
And after the summer?
We usually do this through the middle of fall. We usually do a show once a month during the winter. I’ll start looking for work again in December