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Tony Villanueva interview (2006)


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I was re-watching IGTTYAS today and, girls, I wish we could see Tony more often, he's seems to be an amazing person.

So, I found this interview from Confessions Tour period and, oh, the Hung Up part got even me nervous, i can picture the pressure, omg :sassy:


Hello Tony and welcome to Confessionstour.com! How do you feel now that Madonna’s new world tour has started?

Working on a Madonna tour is similar to viewing a comet, it’s rare, it’s an experience that you will tell your grandchildren about, and unfortunately it will be over before you can blink an eye. I’m lucky enough to be included in the costume preparation for Madonna’s tours this time we had a large wardrobe team of very professional hardworking people that got the show on the road and we couldn’t have done it with out each and everyone of them, the interesting part is tempers flare, the hours are long, you’re exhausted you don’t get a day off even on your day off, and your sure it was never this hard last time. But on opening night when the lights go down the audience cheers, and you feel that rush,… You remember why your in this business in the first place and all is forgiven.

You are part of Madonna’s tour team but we will never get to see you on stage. So who are you Tony? Where do you come from and how did you manage to work with Madonna?

Hole up…don’t be so sure you’ll never see me on stage, Ricky never wanted Lucy in the show either but just like Lucy Ricardo I have a plan! I’m a 6 ft, 210 pound extra large economy size kid! I grew up in Stockton California (I found out recently that Madonna’s manager Angela is also from Stockton, and I’m still amazed, what are the odds right?) I left home when I was 16 to find my way in the world and I’m still looking. I love anything sweet (hence the 210 pounds) hate cell phones, graffiti, and cruelty on any level. Hate working out but love the results, and believe that if you pray it helps but if you don’t it’s your choice.

This is my 3rd tour with Mrs Ritchie, I had worked with pretty much everyone I had always dreamt of working with Michael, Janet, Tina, Alanis. Cher and Madonna were next on the list but neither had toured in years, finally I got a tip from a friend that Madonna was going out, I was in Australia but I started calling right away. I did not start out in the position that I have now as Madonna’s dresser and never really dreamt that it would work out that way, I would have been happy to mop floors I just wanted to do the tour! Originally I was set to dress the male dancers and a friend of mine was hired to dress Madonna, I heard it wasn’t really working out so well so I called Arianne ( M.’s stylist ) to ask if I could have a chance, so I switched positions with the other person, now it would seem that this story has a happy ending right? Just keep in mind that the impatient Rock Star perfectionist already knew her complicated changes and I didn’t! (Cliff hanger)

Recently, we saw some behind the scenes footage of the rehearsals and realized how fast Madonna needs to do costume changes during the show… How do you manage to keep it cool when having to work so fast??

I don’t, I still get nervous before each change but organization is key and a hardworking team of Wardrobe people make my job a lot easier. In the quick change specifically Morgane, a friend that I met on Cher’s tour keeps me on time and Gina(Make-Up) and Andy (Hair) are a huge help.

The question we ask ourselves at the end of the show is: How is everything coordinated when it comes to her wardrobe and the way costumes are being made to allow such quick changes?

Remember I mentioned long hours? This is where that part comes in. The costumes are never made to allow for quick changes, because no one knows at that point how the quick change is going to happen, and in the “Land of change your mind” anything can happen. Once the show is on the way to being set and Madonna’s entrance’s and exit’s are decided on then we go to work on Velcro,snaps,pre-sets and the nightmare of hiding the Mic Pacs (audio for the show).

As you are the one who helps Madonna re-invent her whole look in just a few seconds, this certainly means that you’re one of her closest and most important collaborators when it comes to making the show a success… How do you feel about that?

Scared when you put it that way! I just thought of it as having a real life Barbie with all the good clothes. Actually I’m really honoured to be included in these jobs, to a lot of people this may just be a wardrobe position, but it’s a challenging wardrobe position and I know myself that I’m not the fastest, smartest, or the best, but I believe that Madonna recognizes that I try hard and I appreciate that.

We will probably never have the chance to see how a proper costume change looks during the show… But, how would you describe a typical one?

A typical one is not as exciting as the fastest one, the changes on this tour are pretty easy compared to the Drowned World Tour, remember I said Madonna already knew her changes and I didn’t? Let me just say that you haven’t lived until you have Madonna standing over you in a quick change yelling “what the **** Tony!!!” I can still feel the pee trickle down my leg.

“Hung-Up” is the fastest change in this show approx. 1 minute 10 seconds, imagine this, all the costumes pieces are pre-set Morgane,Gina, Andy and myself are all in position the music for “Lucky Star” is coming to an end and the transition into “Hung-Up” starts, your heart beats your hands sweat and at the same time that you see Madonna coming toward the quick change your just sure you forgot to pre set the sunglasses no… they are on the table, she enters the Q.C. and four people converge on her all at the same time fighting for space, someone yells ( I won’t say who) “get my ******* shoe on!!!” and you think, it would be a little easier to get that tiny strap into that tiny buckle if you’d JUST KEEP YOUR FOOT STILL for a second, you can hear the music intro still playing and your sure she is taking to long this time, just as you are about to black out from lack of oxygen she grabs the glasses and runs out of the quick change, but you still have to get to the stage! Four inch purple glitter stiletto heels to the ground and she makes it just in time before the platform starts moving out.

Has there ever been any near disasters? How did you get through it?

Yes. The worst one by far was the D.W.T. on that job I was the only one that knew the changes completely we had just gotten to Barcelona on the start of the tour and I got a call from my partner saying that he had to go in for surgery, it didn’t go well and the Doctors suggested that I come home to LA right away ( you know what that means), we had a couple of days off so I thought I could come home and check on things, it really was as bad as they said so I was going to try to stay one more day when I got a call from Madonna’s business manager suggesting that I get on the next plane back, at the time I really resented it but later I realized that she had saved my job if I had missed a show I would not have needed to go back. I got the next flight to Germany and I made it one hour before the show was to start. Randy recovered about a week later and everything worked out fine, but ever since then management has someone help me and learn the changes as back up.

As fans, we all know Madonna through her music, books, movies and public appearances. But working with her on a daily basis probably gives more clues at who she really is. How would describe Madonna, your boss?

Human. Madonna has a very confident tough air about her but I think she is a lot more sensitive and compassionate (in her own Leo way) then she likes people to see. I imagine that she had to develop a very hard exterior to succeed in business and I think because of images on film and recorded voices people forget that a human is attached to the celebrity.
My mother was a Leo and she used to say that her bark was worse than her bite I think that is true with Madonna also. Chris Lamb our Production Tour Director really said it best “she’s tough but she’s fair” and she is.

There’s something we are now realizing… If you’re the one who makes sure that she can run the show from beginning to end, then you never got to see it and will never do! Is that true? It must be quite frustrating in a way, no?

Actually I get to start working on these projects while they are in the very early stages so I see pretty much the entire production develop and it’s amazing. The rehearsal period is almost as long as the tour so I do get to see the whole show at different points. In addition we run the entire show for about a month six days a week sometimes twice, can I tell you that I’ve never even heard of any other artist working that hard, and yes Madonna is there everyday.

You will now be on the road with her for several months and will be away from your loved ones for a while. Is this something you are used to?

Yes, I’ve been on and off the road for years, I’ve been in the same relationship since Madonna started singing “Everybody”(lets just say that’s along time) fortunately he understands that this is important to me, and I only have to hear “your never here” half as much as I used to. I am the original little boy that ran away from home to join the Circus, if you tour long enough you develop a family on the road a lot of people do this for life, people you have worked with pass on and you miss them, people meet and fall in love, sometimes they get married and start families, it’s like a whole self contained little country.

Time for us to let you go and make sure that you will be back at work on time! Thank you very much for those precious words and let us wish you a wonderful tour! Before you leave, would you answer the 4 questions we are asking everyone around?

1) What did you have for breakfast
I’ve been on The Zone Diet Plan they deliver meals to your house (that I will have to stop while I’m on tour) today for breakfast was Vanilla Flan with Yellow Watermelon & Pineapple it’s been great.

2) What is your zodiac sign
I could not be more Taurus, and I love it if I decide to die I’m going to come back as a Taurus again with the same birthday.

3) Bath or Shower?
It depends on how many people there are… oops you meant for hygiene didn’t you?

4) If you could change the world in one way, how would you?
If it could really happen I think world Peace would be the obvious choice, but to make this more interesting one thing I very often thought that I would like to do is rid the world of Pet Shops and puppy mills house pets would be more rare than Platinum and you would only be available from pounds or shelters after an interview to make sure you were qualified to care for it. There is an interesting saying that goes something like this “you can define a civilization by the way they treat their animals”.

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Let me just say that you haven’t lived until you have Madonna standing over you in a quick change yelling “what the **** Tony!!!” I can still feel the pee trickle down my leg.

:lmao: :lmao:

they are on the table, she enters the Q.C. and four people converge on her all at the same time fighting for space, someone yells ( I won’t say who) “get my ******* shoe on!!!”

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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