Hunter Taylor, our Education Coordinator, makes a splashy return to the stage as Elton John in Amélie!
PPH: Tell us a bit about yourself! You can talk about your education, history with Parkway Playhouse or acting in general, and anything else you’d like to mention.
Hunter: This is my third season that I have spent with Parkway. I spent one summer as an actor in a few shows, the second as an intern and an actor, and now I am on staff as the Educational Coordinator and Social Media Manager. I graduated from Western Carolina University with. BFA in Musical Theatre, and I am so glad to be here in Burnsville doing what I love full time.
PPH: Do you have a favorite scene in this show? Why is it your favorite?
Hunter: There are many wonderful scenes in this show, but I really love the opening sequence. It covers a ton of material very quickly, and the staging and choreography does such a great job in telling the story. It is really beautiful to watch and to be a part of. The music in the opening sequence really sets up some major themes for the rest of the show, which I think is pretty cool. I’m a big theatre nerd, so connecting themes and leitmotifs is super exciting for me.
PPH: What is your favorite musical number in the production?
Hunter: My favorite musical number would have to be, selfishly, “Goodbye Amélie”, which I sing as Elton John. It’s a real blast to sing, and I get to be Elton John….which is pretty awesome. I also love to hear Christine sing “Times are Hard for Dreamers” and ‘The Girl with the Glass”. Those are two excruciatingly beautiful songs and moments in the show.
PPH: Are you acting with any old pals (or new acquaintances)? How has that been?
Hunter: I am acting with several friends! I know most of the cast, either from past Parkway productions, or through school. Annelise Henry is one of my best friends, so it’s great to be in another show with her again. I also know Dylan Renken from college, and having him in the show has been a wonderful experience. Working with my Parkway friends is always a pleasure. I have loved seeing Christine, Roberta, Collin, William, and Tabitha, all of which I have previously worked with, and Shelby who is one of my college interns. I am also so proud of Kai’ana Stella for the amazing job she’s doing in the show-she was in one of my Conservatory classes this past year. I have been involved in every production Dwight has directed here, so it is a real honor to be in another one of his shows. I have worked with Sarah Fowler, our music director, more times than I can count. She has really heard me at my highest highs and at my lowest lows. I have also loved getting to know Jane, Shari (the outstanding choreographer), and the rest of the crew and band-they all work so hard, and do such a wonderful job. I have to give a special shoutout to all of the interns and apprentices working on this production-it could not happen without them! Also, a massive shoutout to Kristen Livengood who has been my guardian angel this entire year.
PPH: What makes this particular experience unique?
Hunter: This particular experience has been very unique for me. This show is unique in itself, which makes for a very interesting rehearsal process. I also have not seen the film it is based on, nor any footage from any of the stage productions, so this is really the first time I went into a process completely blind. It is kind of freeing not know how others have played the roles I am playing. I really feel like I have made them my own.