An­other N.L.er on Broadway

Be­ing cast in ‘Es­cape to Mar­gar­i­taville’ was ‘like win­ning the lottery,’ Keely Hut­ton says

The Western Star - - LIFE - BY JUANITA MERCER tele­gram@thetele­gram.com

New­found­lan­der Keely Hut­ton is set to per­form next month in the Broadway pro­duc­tion “Es­cape to Mar­gar­i­taville,” a Jimmy Buf­fett-in­spired mu­si­cal com­edy.

Fresh off the heels of a three­city pre-Broadway tour of the show, Hut­ton de­scribes land­ing the role as “like win­ning the lottery.”

But get­ting her big break took much more than luck.

Hut­ton be­gan per­form­ing at a young age. She moved to New York City in 2014 and promptly signed up for danc­ing, singing, act­ing, and im­prov work­shops — all while at­tend­ing count­less au­di­tions.

“I just took ad­van­tage of ev­ery­thing I pos­si­bly could that the city had to of­fer ar­tis­ti­cally.”

Hut­ton has spent the past year work­ing on “Es­cape to Mar­gar­i­taville” with Tony Award-win­ning di­rec­tor Christo­pher Ashley and chore­og­ra­pher Kelly Devine, who both worked on the New­found­land­based mu­si­cal “Come from Away.”

Of­fi­cial open­ing night is slated for March 15, and Hut­ton says she can’t wait to take the fi­nal bows at the end of the night with her hus­band, Paul Alexan­der Nolan, who plays the lead role of Tully. Nolan is a Broadway vet­eran with five pro­duc­tions un­der his belt. Hut­ton says they haven’t been on­stage to­gether since they first met do­ing a show to­gether at the Strat­ford Fes­ti­val sev­eral years ago.

“So this will be a spe­cial mo- ment to be up there with him,” she said. “And also my fam­ily will be in the au­di­ence cheer­ing us on.”

Hut­ton de­scribes the show as an es­cape for au­di­ences.

“It’s funny, it’s very en­ter­tain­ing and the danc­ing … is spec­tac­u­lar,” she said. “It’s a love story on a trop­i­cal is­land.”

Her role in the ensem­ble in­volves play­ing sev­eral char­ac­ters — what she calls “a re­volv­ing door of char­ac­ters” — rang­ing from a zom­bie to a Grammy Awards an­nouncer.

But the bulk of her time on­stage is spent play­ing a wait­ress, which she says came nat­u­rally to her af­ter years of work­ing in restau­rants, in­clud­ing The Sun­dance on Ge­orge Street.

Hut­ton cred­its her up­bring­ing in St. John’s for much of her cur­rent suc­cess. She says her time at Holy Heart of Mary High School helped to de­velop her per­for­mance skills.

“The cho­ral tra­di­tion there is amaz­ing.”

She says two of her teach­ers in par­tic­u­lar, Su­san Knight and Su­san Quinn, played im­por­tant roles in her growth as a per­former. With her re­cent suc­cess, Hut­ton can now give a few lessons of her own to other young as­pir­ing stars.

“Keep your eyes on your own page,” she said. “Keep on do­ing your thing and keep work­ing hard. … What you bring to the ta­ble is unique from what ev­ery other per­son brings to the ta­ble.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Keely Hut­ton.

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