When you first find yourself face-to-face — or face-to-chest — with towering Tom Hewitt, you would never guess he's spent much of his Broadway stage time in women's clothing. Naturally his Tony-nominated turn as "sweet transvestite" Dr. Frank 'n' Furter requires ladies' wear, but his previous Broadway role, too?
Yes, after taking over for John Vickery in The Lion King, Hewitt squeezed himself into a full-out boned women's corset for the villainous role of Simba's scheming uncle, Scar. "And I'm wearing exactly the same pattern of corset in The Rocky Horror Show. I find that freaky."
"Every inch of my body was covered in Lion King, except for the palms of my hands and the tips of my fingers; now so much of me is exposed...," he laughed.
The hard part of Rocky Horror isn't playing Frank 'n' Furter every night; Hewitt enjoys strutting his stuff as the campy cross-dressing creator of the perfect boy toy, which he says, is "the type of role you have to be absolutely possessed and consumed by." It was the costume fittings he found most disconcerting.
"When I had to stand there in my nylon stocking feet and women's underwear as me, those were hard. My flat,white man's butt was not looking so good," he said. Despite his two highest profile roles, Hewitt has done time on the Great White Way in more conservative costumes. He stood by for Serge and Yvan in Art and performed in The Sisters Rosensweig (where he replaced Vickery as bisexual director Geoffrey) and in The School for Scandal. With a background in the less flashily dressed, did he ever think he would garner his first Tony nomination parading around in fishnets and high heels?
"Never in my wildest dreams. It just goes to show you that the universe's plans for you are stranger and more wonderful than you can ever imagine."
— By Christine Ehren