Member Spotlight: Eric Eckenroad
An SHN Member for four years, Eric Eckenroad wanted to be a news anchor or talk show host when he was younger because he loved to talk. Hear what else he has to say about his life and the theater, below.
What was the first Broadway show you saw?
I went to go see Bernadette Peters, Nick Jonas, and Tom Wopat in Annie Get Your Gun in 2000. I was so lucky to see a legend on stage for my first show. I’ve seen touring companies and teen theater and local theater productions of musicals, but I was so glad my mom got me this as a graduation present. I’ve only been to New York twice, and to have an experience like that was just mesmerizing.
What are your favorite musicals of all time?
WICKED, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, SOUND OF MUSIC, NEWSIES, JERSEY BOYS, PETER PAN, THE KING AND I, MAMMA MIA!, LES MIZ, HAMILTON, DAMN YANKEES, HELLO, DOLLY!
Which character in a musical do you most identify with and why?
Elphaba, because she is misunderstood and she is different and she has to put up with being made fun of the way she looks, and with my Cerebral Palsy, I connected so much with her. The show itself changed my life. It was the last show my mom saw with me before she died in 2006. I see it every time it returns and it makes me cry every time. “For Good” was on my mom’s memorial CD. I’ve seen WICKED 9 times.
What does theater and/or Broadway mean to you?
It depends on the show and the cast recording. I’m grateful for SHN, because it is close by for BART and public transit. I’m grateful for SHN, because it helps me get out in the community and be around different types of people. I get noticed by all the orange jacket people or ushers and they remember me from months ago and they say “hi.” I think it is a wonderful place to be. Theater has been a part of my life since the early 90s. I have grown to love so many different shows in the last 20 years. I am grateful for the installment plan for the people that are on a strict budget. It helps out a lot. Thank you for keeping me entertained.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A news anchor and talk show host because I loved to talk.
What is one thing that someone would be surprised to know about you?
I collect playbills. I own about 200 souvenir programs. I have only musicals on Apple Music. I work out to upbeat theater songs all the time. It takes about 4 days to get through the entire list.
To learn more about SHN Membership or to become a member, please visit shnsf.com.