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BWW Spring Awakening Q&A Contest Winner Chats with Hunter Parrish

BroadwayWorld.com recently held a special contest and gave one lucky Spring Awakening fan the opportunity to interview Hunter Parrish. The winning contestant was picked to have a Q&A with Hunter live via telephone, well, that is what the contest originally announced, but we had something much more fun in the works, thanks to the very helpful Spring Awakening production offices we had the winner, Linda Buchwald see the show and meet Hunter in person to conduct the interview! She thought she was seeing the performance and then calling him later the following week, because of course we had "set it all up", but in reality she was the one "set up" in the happiest way possible! Needless to say she was thrilled!

Right after the performance she was taken backstage to have her chat with the very talented, engaging and candid, Hunter Parrish. Enjoy the interview, we know Linda did!

Linda: Was it hard to make the transition from film / TV to stage?

Hunter:It's funny actually, I actually expected to do a lot more theater early on and truly early on in life I did a lot more theatre than I did film or TV so I actually had to go backwards when I started doing TV. My biggest direction was to "tone it down" because it wasn't theatre. So in moving to TV and film, I became very focused on feeling the emotion and telling the story that way as opposed to projecting it out in a very theatrical way.

So coming back to it was actually fun because I had the experience of knowing what it's like to do it from like a really true, honest place inside of you and also to be able to play around theatrically with gestures.

It wasn't that hard, but it still hasn't fully come back. Each night that I go on, it's like "oh right!" It's been fun to be able to play around every night.

L: Are you still filming WEEDS or are you on hiatus?

H:Yeah, we're on hiatus, we go back in March or April. They never tell us exactly until January, but it's after this.

L: I don't know if you're aware that Spring Awakening has this very intense fan base. Before you came into the show, were you excited about that or nervous about that?

H: I didn't know that it was as intense as it is, but I had heard of things and honestly I didn't think much of it. WEEDS has its own little cult following, and I mean, we don't see people every day when we leave work but I know what it's like to have a whole group of people on a national and international level that know what you do and that know your work. What I didn't know is how creative they get!

The things that they send in, and how they do it. What they say at the stage door and stuff. I hear that there's all these blogs and stuff that I haven't gone on yet, but it's like WOW, to be able to tell a story that people are really interested and getting involved in is fun and I'm very lucky to be part of it.

L: Your TV mom Mary-Louise Parker has done a lot of Broadway - any advice before you came here?

It wasn't like a director, but like - you should try it, and I can help you here but never did we talk about Broadway and in fact the whole time I was here meeting with the creative team I was texting her with - "if they say this, what do I say?" kind of things. There was no direct advice though, like "here's how you do this..." Every time is different, so she couldn't be like here's how it works, but she was like you're going to be great and congratulations, and at that time she was in talks for Hedda Gabler and she said she thought she might be here too. So, it was very encouraging.

L: Has she been to come see it?

H: She has, she came to my opening night and came up after, and said it was so great, and we were crying and she said how proud she was of me. She's like my 2nd mother.

L: There was some debate on the "sex scene" if it's rape or if it's consensual so I wanted to know what your take was...

H: I could see why you won this contest now! Very good question. In the original book, it is seen as more of a rape. Steven Sater, in looking at that, it was obvious to everyone that you can't create a show in which the lead character rapes a girl, so why would anyone care about him in the end if you know he did that? So, they took some creativity obviously within the storyline and I think - if you can tell the way that the cast does it, which is always different. But, in my opinion, the way we do it now, he loves her and he's very aggressive, but it would be hard to be at angry at him and to totally blame him for doing this against her wishes, which he wasn't. At the same time, he is very aggressive though.

L: My last question is were you a fan of musical theatre and if so, what are some of your favorite musicals?

H: I started actually in New York and started acting when I was 6 and no intention of doing theatre. I didn't know anything about it, but then again, I was 6! I would go with my Mom and we'd go on TV/Film/Commercial auditions for the whole summer so in between auditions or if I wasn't working (which I never was!) I got like 1 commercial the whole summer and worked for like a day. So all the other time, we'd save up our money and we'd go see shows.

And my Mom was like "that's what we can do here, we can see shows." And I had no idea what that meant, but my first were Les Miz, Phantom, CATS. When I saw CATS, I fell in love with the music, which was the main thing I loved at first, but just sitting in the audience and watching them go up there and just to be in character, having fun and jumping around - I was like - "that looks like fun!"

That's what sparked the original interest in wanting to be up there on stage. It's different than the normal world is that it's a whole different place you can escape into so since I was 6 actually. The first time that I ever knew that I liked acting or liked this whole art thing was when I saw musical theatre. It's really fun, but that's where I started with it. Since, I've seen other things as I've gotten older and have done shows I've loved too.

Linda thanks so much those are really good questions! Thanks and rock on!


Hunter Parrish joined the Broadway cast of Spring Awakening on August 11th, 2008.

He was just featured in Vanity Fair's cover feature "Hollywood's New Wave-The Hottest Kids in Hollywood" spread (August 2008 issue) and can currently be seen as Silas, the rabble-rousing older son of Mary-Louise Parker on the highly acclaimed Showtime series WEEDS. The show's 4th season premiered in July. Moviegoers can next see Parrish on the big screen in  "17 Again" opposite Zac Efron and Matthew Perry. Other screen roles  include "Freedom Writers" with Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey, and Barry Sonnefeld's comedy "RV" playing the son of Jeff Daniels and Kristen Chenoweth.

Spring Awakening continues its record-breaking run at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, 230 West 49th Street. The musical, with music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater, is choreographed by Bill T. Jones and directed by Michael Mayer. SPRING AWAKENING is the winner of 8 2007 Tony Awards including Best Musical,  the most Tony Awards any new musical has won since 2003.

For more information please visit www.springawakening.com



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