An­other N.L.er on Broad­way

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

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY JUANITA MERCER [email protected]­gram.com

ST. JOHN’S. NL – 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 Award­win­ning direc­tor Christo­pher Ash­ley and chore­og­ra­pher Kelly Devine, who both worked on the New­found­land-based 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.

“This will be a spe­cial mo­ment 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.”

FILE PHOTO

An ap­pli­ca­tion to build a 32 by 84-me­tre steel cut­ting and stor­age build­ing at Peter Kiewit’s Cow Head fabri­ca­tion site was ap­proved dur­ing the plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment re­port at Tues­day’s coun­cil meet­ing in Marys­town.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Keely Hutton.

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