Mark August 5 on your calendars. It’s a big day for Hunter Taylor–with a FREE performance on the Town Square at 1:15pm of A Year with Frog and Toad and the opening night of Footloose, in which he plays Willard. (It’s your last chance to see him in A Year with Frog and Toad, too!)
PP: So, people will already recognize you if they’ve seen Bonnie & Clyde or the Reading is Alive performances of A Year with Frog and Toad… But tell us a little about yourself since this is your first summer here at Parkway…
Hunter: I am a rising senior at Western Carolina University pursuing my BFA in Musical Theatre. I’m originally from a very small town called Coats, outside of Raleigh NC. I have lived there all my life, so I’m used to the small town feel that Burnsville has to offer.
I’ve been acting since I was 8 years old, and am a certified musical theatre fanatic! I have been a MASSIVE fan of Bonnie & Clyde since it premiered in 2011, so to be able to be in the production is a dream come true. I am currently in rehearsals for Footloose where I will be playing Willard.
PP: Three musicals back to back to back! How has your voice been holding up through all of them?
Hunter: Funny you ask that! Vocal health is always at the forefront of my mind, no matter what I’m doing. Right now, I’m feeling good, and I haven’t had any issues, knock on wood. Doing any of these shows by themselves wouldn’t be particularly taxing on the voice, but doing all three back to back, and sometimes in one day, can be stressful. For a while, I would be performing Frog and Toad certain days, rehearsing Footloose in the evenings, and then performing Bonnie & Clyde on the weekends. I had one day where I had a four hour Footloose rehearsal, then a rehearsal for “Frog and Toad”, followed by a performance of Bonnie & Clyde. I was very cautious about how I sang that day, and really tried to use everything I’ve learned from my voice teachers to ensure that I still had enough of a voice to sing Bonnie & Clyde. I would consider that show the hardest vocally. You just have to remember to sing correctly, and go on vocal rest whenever possible.
PP: The choreography in Footloose is a bit more intense than Bonnie & Clyde… How has that gone for you?
Hunter: I have actually been taking dance lessons since I was nine years old, so I actually enjoy the choreography in Footloose! My character, Willard, has an entire arc where he can’t dance, and eventually learns how, so it has been fun acting like simple steps are difficultly, and intentionally screwing things up. It’s kind of a relief that it everything I do onstage has to be perfect. When I finally do show off my dancing, I really have a good time with it! I’ve always been someone who is motivated by the acting/story of the piece, and I am 100 times better when I am dancing as a character, so to have that motivation as Willard really amps up my energy and my presence onstage.
PP: What do you like about acting at Parkway Playhouse?
I have been here since May 15th, and I have enjoyed every second of working here! I started out rehearsing and performing A Year With Frog and Toad, and have been met with nothing but support and kindness from everyone involved with the playhouse. Everyone is so kind, and even though I am an “out-of-towner,” I feel like I have known my castmates for years! I also love that I get to perform alongside of some of my best friends from school. Annelise and Briar, who play Bonnie and Clyde, go to school with me, so it’s been great to see them flourish onstage. Ashley, who plays Ariel in Footloose, also goes to Western, and I am so excited to perform in that show with her!
PP: What is your favorite rehearsal moment from the summer?
Hunter: My favorite rehearsal moment would have to be when we were rehearsing “Raise a Little Hell (Reprise)”. The song was going really well, and I nailed my solo section, and then I came in for a very high note at the end of the song, and cracked MISERABLY. I have never really cracked in public, so I was mortified, but I laughed it off, along with everyone else in the room, and proceeded to kill the rest of the song! I’m someone who records everything during rehearsal, so I can listen and practice/correct mistakes, so I have that moment saved forever!
Tickets are available by calling (828) 682-4285 or purchasing them online HERE.
Please note, if you are coming OPENING NIGHT, the Mt. Mitchell Craft Fair will make it difficult to get to the theatre. Check out these alternate routes to make your life easier.