Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spotlight On...Billy Hutto

Name: Billy Hutto

Hometown:  As a Navy brat, I lack a "hometown," but I usually say I'm from Fredericksburg, Virginia because I lived there the longest.

Education: NYU Tisch School of the Arts, BFA

Select Credits: Cloud Nine (Betty/Gerry, NYU), As You Like It (Orlando, RADA, London),World premiere of Jeremy And (Trevor, The Wild Project).

Why theater?: Because it's the one thing that makes me feel alive.

Who do you play in The Mormon Bird Play?: I play Pipa, a chatty little Mormon girl with an overactive imagination and a suppressed inner darkness.  She makes a crucial decision that brings the play to a thrilling climax.

Tell us about The Mormon Bird Play: The Mormon Bird Play explores what happens when a nearly mute girl named Ivona forces a group of Mormon children to face their sinful natures.  The story unfurls with deceptive simplicity and billows into intense dreamlike sequences of heightened theatricality.  It’s bizarre, funny, mythic, and raw.  I think the play packs an emotional punch that all audience members will feel whether they're well-versed in Mormonism or not.

What is it like being a part of The Mormon Bird Play?: It’s been such a thrilling experience to allow this huge play to sink deeper into my bones with each rehearsal.  There are six actors--all of us young men and recent college/conservatory graduates.  We've developed a bond while exercising our craft, and I can sense each of us growing into the play as it grows into us.  Our work as actors becomes simpler as the dramatic impact of the play expands, and I attribute this magical process to the detailed guidance of our writer and director, Roger.  It’s also such fun to play children—to exist inside a simpler state of being—which is something my artistic soul craves.  There’s a silent moment near the end of the play when the children close their eyes and feel the sun shining on their faces.  In that moment, I am 11 years old again.  The whole process is also healthily challenging as the play necessitates constant action in order for the story to make sense.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love theater that feels epic in scope--visually or emotionally, so that I leave the theater feeling like I've taken a journey.  I don't want to be a passive observer--I want to feel immersed in whatever I'm watching regardless of style or time period.  I want connection and catharsis, and I believe this can be achieved on any budget and in any genre. Music, nature, and childhood inspire me most as an artist.  Orchestral film scores transport me into the realm of imagination; nature connects me to the universe; and memories of childhood connect me to my soul.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I want to play Billy Flynn in Chicago when I'm old enough, and now I want to play Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part I.

What’s your favorite showtune?: "Do-Re-Mi" from Sound of Music.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:  Alex Timbers, director of Peter and the Starcatcher.  

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would have to cast a young unknown actor that I connected with, and the film would be called "What It Means To Be Happy".  It would be a slow-moving, intimate character study with gorgeous cinematography.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I always recommend Here Lies Love, the immersive disco musical about Imelda Marcos at the Public Theater.  The music is amazing, the cast rocks, and it's educational.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?:  "Main Title (Nemo Egg)," which is from the Finding Nemo score by Thomas Newman.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: The one and only Christina Aguilera.

What’s up next?:  Looking forward to the premiere of a new webseries I'm in called "The Grey Matter Archives", and more auditions for some exciting projects.  The journey continues!