Tony Nominee Hunter Bell Is Living a Dream

By Andrew Gans
13 May 2009

Hunter Bell
Hunter Bell
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Hunter Bell is currently living a childhood fantasy.

The 2009 Tony nominee for Best Book of a Musical — for [title of show] — told Playbill.com at the recent Tony nominees press reception, "[The Tony Awards are] something I watched as a kid. I looked at that box, and I wanted to be in that world. I wanted to crawl in there and be with Angela Lansbury and Kathleen Turner. I have a videotape of the greatest Tony moments that I compiled myself — a VHS tape! It starts with The Act with Liza and goes up to Mystery of Edwin Drood. There are some good years represented there. So [the Tony Awards] was this thing that was a passion, so to be part of it in a real way is totally surreal."

Bell may be the only member of the show's cast or creative team nominated for a Tony Award, but the writer-actor said he will "gladly wave the flag and support the team."

"The bittersweetness," Bell added, "is I love Jeff [Bowen]'s score. I think we all deserve to be here. From Acme Sound to Larry [Pressgrove]'s arrangement's to Michael [Berresse]'s direction to the girls' [Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell] performances. I want everybody to be here because I believe in it."

Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen (back) in [title of show]
photo by Carol Rosegg
The Tony nominations were announced just days after the regional premiere of [title of show] — the four-person Broadway musical that chronicles the creation of that musical — at the 14th Street Theatre at PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland, OH. "We went out and saw it," Bell said. " We loved it. We workshopped that production at Baldwin-Wallace [College Conservatory of Music] and PlayHouseSquare in Cleveland. Jeff and I were thrilled. It's being done a lot of other places and hopefully will be done at a lot of other places. It totally worked — it wasn't weird or insider-y."



When asked whether it was strange to see another actor play the role of "Hunter," Bell said, "Totally! The name is Hunter, but it was a great actor named JR Bruno, and he was great. It's like going to see any other play. It's weird for the first time, but we're super-proud."

As for future projects, Tony nominee Bell said, "Jeff and I are working on another project that we're out in Los Angeles for . . . [and] we're writing the show for the Rosie cruise. That one is Out Loud and Proud . . . And, we're creating '[title of show] Show' stuff, and then we're out there just sniffing around. You're stuck with us. You won't see the last of us," he laughed.