THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: Hands on a Hardbody Star Hunter Foster Shares His Theatregoing Experiences

By Andrew Gans
April 3, 2013

Their Favorite Things asks members of the theatre community to share the Broadway performances that most affected them as part of the audience.

This week we spotlight the choices of Tony-nominated actor Hunter Foster, who is currently starring in the new musical Hands on a Hardbody at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.



(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor or show's entry in the Playbill Vault.)

 

Les Misérables

 

"It was one of the first Broadway shows I ever saw. I got to see it at the Broadway Theatre, and I sat in the front row, and I remember thinking how big and grand it all was. I also remember when Eponine died, they carried her offstage and she never moved. It’s such an obvious thing now, but as a young actor it just impressed me how committed everyone in the show was, and I wanted to be that committed as well."

 

 

The Real Thing

 

"The revival back in 2000. I had never seen this Tom Stoppard play before, but the performances by Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle were so heartbreaking they stuck with me for years. I still remember Stephen Dillane sort of crumbling to the floor in a mix of confusion and sadness with the thought of his wife, Annie, going off with another man."

 

Once

 

"One of the most emotional experiences I've ever had in the theatre. I was very familiar with the movie and the soundtrack, but nothing prepared me for the performances of Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti. Watching Miss Milioti at the piano singing of a love that will never happen was as beautiful as anything I have ever seen on stage."

James Corden 

 

"Not sure I've ever seen anyone hold an audience in the palm of his hand and basically make them do his bidding the way Mr. Corden did. And to make the gags look like they were happening for the very first time? A stroke of genius."

 

 

Sunday in the Park With George 

 

"I got to see this production in London, and even though it would eventually come to Broadway and do really well here, there was something really special about the production in the West End. I loved hearing that score live for the very first time. The night I saw it, the projections completely malfunctioned in the second act, but you wouldn't have known it judging by the performances of Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell, who battled around the technical difficulties and gave standout performances."

 

 

Sutton Foster

 

"Okay. Yes, she's my sister, but her tour-de-force performance as Reno Sweeney during 'Blow Gabriel Blow' and 'Anything Goes' was just terrific, and goes beyond any sibling bias."

 

"Hernando's Hideaway"

 

"In the 2008 revival of [The Pajama Game], a familiar song taken to unbelievable heights. The number was funny, surprising and what Broadway should be about: the spectacle of seeing a cast and a star enjoying every single moment on stage."

 

 

Violet

 

"I had auditioned for this tiny 1997 musical at Playwrights Horizons and really wanted to be a part of it. Jeanine Tesori's country score was fresh and authentic. The story of a young disfigured girl in the South looking to be healed was something very different than other musicals I’d read. When I finally got to see the show come to life, I found it engaging, emotional and refreshingly simple. The last image of the show there is no rousing tap number, just Violet and Flick on a bus holding hands looking toward the future as lights fade."

Proof – End of Act One 

 

"I have seen a lot of shows and a lot of ends of acts but nothing would prepare me or the audience for when Mary Louise-Parker reveals that she is the author of the proof that is supposedly impossible to solve."


André De Shields

 

"Midway through the first act of The Full Monty, his character, Horse, walks in to audition to be the unlikeliest of things: a stripper. Ancient and gray, hunched over, carefully measuring each step, looking 80 years old and then launching into a song-and-dance routine worthy of James Brown or Jackie Wilson; proclaiming the merits of a 'Big Black Man' was by far one of the funniest and surprising performances to be seen in years."