PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Rent Star Emma Hunton

By Matthew Blank
28 Feb 2012

Performer you would drop everything to go see: Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Ke$ha
Favorite cities: Chicago, New York, Memphis
Favorite sport/team/player: I'm a football fan, but I like watching any game. I'm not picky when it comes to teams or players.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: First album I bought with my own money was "Middle of Nowhere" by Hanson. I STILL own it.
Greatest Band of All Time: Death Cab For Cutie, Beatles (obligatory), Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Pretenders, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (David Bowie), Arcade Fire
When you first realized you could sing: I couldn't for the first 6 years of my life. My mother likened me to Alfalfa. It wasn't until I auditioned for a local production of Annie that anyone (including myself) realized I could sing.
First stage kiss: Preston Sadleir. I love that boy.
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: Most memorable will always be Spring Awakening because it was my first show on Broadway. Next to Normal was my favorite adolescent role because I was really challenged not only vocally but as an actor as well.

As of right now, my favorite adult role is Maureen. She's so off the wall, how could she not be my favorite?

Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: Birth. There was never a moment it wasn't a question for me.
How you got your union card: I did a Mother's Day commercial for Hallmark on my 8th birthday. It was all about bringing your mother to school for Mother's Day and talking about them while they watched with pride in the back of the room.

And then, because it's Hallmark, I walk up with a locket that was my mother's who had passed... and they show my dad smiling in the back. Sadly, in never made it to air.

Favorite pre-/post- show meal: I always grab something quick at Bella Donna right before the show, and post-show I like a big meal at either a diner like Galaxy, or yummy Italian at Basilica.
Favorite liquid refreshment: I'm a sucker for a Shirley Temple. Or just plain old Coca-Cola.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I get my blood going with some music and stretch out my muscles. Rent is a very physically and vocally demanding show, so I have to make sure everything is warm before we go out there.

We also have a lovely prayer circle before every show and touch the Jonathan Larson plaque before we step onto the stage.

Most vocally challenging role you have ever played: Rent. Hands down.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: I'm notorious for being clumsy. On the road with Next to Normal I fell maybe 4 times a week. Up the stairs. Down the stairs. Standing still. Entering. Exiting. I started keeping ice packs in my room because it was inevitable.
Worst costume ever: That duck suit in Spring Awakening wasn't the most flattering costume I've ever worn...
Worst job you ever had: I've been very fortunate to say that I've loved every job I've worked on, and with each show I love my chosen career more and more.

I'm also fortunate to only have worked one survival job as a nanny and because of my affection for children and my insistence upon still acting like one, I had a blast doing that too.
When did you first see Rent? The Non-Equity tour stopped in Beverly Hills. After talking to Genny Lis Padilla the other night, we both realized I saw her in that production along with a bunch of other people I now call friends. Who knew?
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be? That's hard because I get the easiest and most fun track in the whole show. Mike Wartella has a good track as Gordon and the waiter, and I think I also like Morgan Weed's track as Mrs. Cohen.
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Something no one has ever done before.
Leading man role you wish you could play: Elder Price
Something about you that surprises people: I'm an extremely picky eater. I don't like most foods.
Something you are incredibly proud of: My career so far. My mother, she continues to inspire me with her views on life, friends, work and love.
Something you're embarrassed to admit: When a phone number texts me and I don't know who it is, I continue conversations with them because I feel bad about not adding them into my phone when I should have.

I also can't pick up choreography very quickly. It's rare I go to a dance call.

Career you would want if not a performer: DJ. Party planner. I'm great at throwing parties.
Three things you can't live without: Music, friends, phone
"I'll never understand why…" ... people follow me on Twitter. I just reached 3,000 followers today! I say some pretty silly things on a daily basis. But I appreciate their willingness to follow anyway.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Everything happens for a reason. All of those "No's" make the "Yes-es'" so much better when they happen.

If you believe in yourself, no one can stop you from becoming the person or performer you know you can be.