THE LEADING MEN: Perez Hilton, From Blogging to Off-Broadway in NEWSical the Musical

By Brandon Voss
31 Aug 2012

Perez Hilton
Photo by Brian Doherty

What can you share about the new material that's been written specifically for your arrival in NEWSical?
PH: There's a really funny number about the Chick-fil-A controversy, and there's also a number about the Perez Hilton phenomenon. What's great is that Rick Crom, the writer of the show, really incorporated a whole bunch of my ideas. We had a couple of brainstorming calls a few weeks ago, and I told him things that I would love to do and things that I would love to see in the show, and he was so receptive. Everyone's been so welcoming. I know I haven't officially started yet, and I know I'm only supposed to be in the show through Oct. 7, but I already want to be in it longer.

Do you see NEWSical as a stepping-stone to bigger theatre opportunities in New York?
PH: I would love that. If nothing else happens, I'm so happy and thankful for this experience, but I'm definitely open and would love to do more musical theatre. I could definitely see myself in a show like Book of Mormon or Rock of Ages. There's a lot of stuff out there right now that I think I would fit into well.

Although you didn't personally appear onstage, you've actually been the subject of a musical, Perez Hilton Saves the Universe, which was a big hit at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival.
PH: I know! I loved that show. I've kept in touch with a lot of those people. Some of the creatives behind that went on to do Fat Camp Off-Broadway, which I also saw. Andrew Keenan-Bolger was also in Perez Hilton Saves the Universe, and now he's gone on to do Newsies.

Perez Hilton
photo by Rhoel Paghunasan

Back to the subject of Rosie O'Donnell, you're actually a lot like her in that you've been a vocal supporter of New York theatre over the years; even though you're based out in L.A., you consistently bring Broadway and Off-Broadway shows to mainstream attention on your blog.
PH: Absolutely. I love sharing things that I think are good, whether that's a new show I saw, a new artist I discovered, or anything else I think my readers should be aware of. Sharing is caring.

What show have you seen lately that you've loved?
PH: I was in London last month and I saw Matilda The Musical, which is, of course, coming to Broadway. I didn't really have a lot of expectations, I wasn't familiar with the source material — I actually expected to have a bad time, to be honest — but I was so amazed by the everything that they did with the set, the music, and I just loved the show so much. And even though the theatre was filled with little kids, adults are going to love it too. I think Matilda will do very well in New York City.

As long as you're in NEWSical, fans and haters alike will know where to find you most nights. Are you looking forward to that post-show interaction?
PH: Definitely. That also feels like a full-circle moment, because I used to be very accessible to people when I'd work out of the Coffee Bean in West Hollywood. The theatre is now my new Coffee Bean, so every day people will know where to find me. I'm prepared for whatever, but hopefully the people who are there will be there to support me. I don't really think people who strongly dislike me are going to waste their time hanging out at the theatre.