EXCLUSIVE: Superior Donuts Tony Nominee Jon Michael Hill Awaiting News of TV Pilot

News   EXCLUSIVE: Superior Donuts Tony Nominee Jon Michael Hill Awaiting News of TV Pilot Tony Award nominee Jon Michael Hill, who played the street-smart kid who sparked new life in a run-down donut shop in Broadway's Superior Donuts, shot a TV pilot that also relates to donuts — he played a cop.
Superior Donuts stars Jon Michael Hill and Michael McKean
Superior Donuts stars Jon Michael Hill and Michael McKean Photo by Robert J. Saferstein

On May 5, the day after he learned of his 2010 Tony nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Play — for his Broadway debut, no less — Hill told Playbill.com that he's still waiting to hear if an hour-long cop show, "Detroit 187," will be picked up for a full series on ABC-TV.

In it, he plays a cop partnered with Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos"). James McDaniel also stars in the pilot, which was shot in Atlanta, as a stand-in for the Motor City. The "187" refers to the Detroit police department's code for "homicide."

"Michael Imperioli is the lead," Hill said, adding that the show "is shot like a documentary, as if a camera crew is following them." He said it's both a drama and a comedy — and it does not shy aware from grit of real-life crime.

Illinois-born Hill is an ensemble member at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where Tracy Letts' Superior Donuts had its world premiere in 2008 before moving to Broadway in fall 2009. Hill now calls himself a New Yorker. He's auditioning like any other actor, he said, and is in talks about possibly appearing in Steppenwolf's 2010-11 season.

"I can't wait to get back in there," he said, adding that a TV series of "Detroit 187" would affect any stage plans in the short term. When it's suggested that the stage may lose him to TV, he replied that a TV job may just make him more marketable for future stage work, and said he'd welcome the chance to be on stage in his down time from any potential TV or film work.

Hill was on a plane bound for Los Angeles when the Tony nominations were announced on May 4. His girlfriend was the first to let him know about the nomination.

"I'm elated," Hill said of the nomination, which came five months months after his play closed on Jan. 3. "It's pretty incredible. It's rare that you get to work on a project that you care about. It meant something. I loved working with Michael McKean, and Steppenwolf."

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Hill made his Steppenwolf debut as Etienne in The Unmentionables, and reprised his role at Yale Repertory Theatre. He is a graduate of the acting program at the University of Illinois where he appeared in productions of King Lear, Brecht on Brecht, Six Degrees of Separation and A Flea in Her Ear. He played Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream for The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park in New York City. His other Steppenwolf credits include The Tempest (2009) and Kafka on the Shore (2008).

Jon Michael Hill and Michael McKean in <i>Superior Donuts</i>.
Jon Michael Hill and Michael McKean in Superior Donuts. Photo by Robert J. Saferstein
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