THE LEADING MEN: Santino Fontana, Fit for a Prince in Broadway's Cinderella

By Brandon Voss
27 Jan 2013

Fontana in The Importance of Being Earnest.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Last seen on Broadway in the revival of The Importance of Being Earnest, Fontana also relishes the chance to explore lighter fare than he did in his most recent outing, Roundabout's acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet opposite Joanna Gleason. "Last year I was playing a guy who thought he was dying," he says, "so I'm totally happy to jump into something where I get to fall in love onstage, sing gorgeous songs, and be the nicest person in the room. It's a lot of fun to be in a fairy tale."

Of course, even fairy tales can be frazzling — particularly when they demand ballroom dancing. "It's a big ball, and I'm dancing more than I ever have before," explains Fontana, who notes that the pivotal scene has been greatly expanded by choreographer Josh Rhodes. "It's going to look fantastic, but it's also a little terrifying. Luckily, it's terrifying for the Prince too. I mean, it's not like he's some hardcore ballroom dancer either."

Fontana's terrified Prince may be refreshingly vulnerable, complicated, and deep, but does he still look as devastatingly handsome as described in the storybooks? "I don't like thinking about that stuff," he says with a sheepish laugh. "Luckily, our costume designer, William Ivey Long, is brilliant at what he does, so I don't have to do much but just stand there. By the time I'm onstage in those incredible costumes, there will be no doubting that I am a prince."

(A version of this feature appears in the February 2013 issue of Playbill.)

Watch the Playbill Video visit to Cinderella in rehearsal.