PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: American Idiot Tour Star Van Hughes | Playbill

News PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: American Idiot Tour Star Van Hughes
Van Hughes, starring as "Jesus of Suburbia" Johnny in the national tour of Green Day's American Idiot, fills out's questionnaire with random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Van Hughes
Van Hughes

Hughes was the standby for Johnny in the original production, eventually taking over the role full-time and performing in the final company. Other Broadway credits include 9 to 5 and Hairspray.

He has appeared on screen in "Sex And The City: The Movie," "SATC 2," "Tenure," "Rachel Getting Married," "Book of Love," "Law & Order: SVU & Criminal Intent," "Six Degrees," "As the World Turns" and "One Life To Live."

Full given name: Van Michael Hughes
Where you were born/where you were raised: Norfolk, VA / Chesapeake, VA
Zodiac Sign: Aries/Taurus cusp
Current audition song/monologue: When I met Dolly Parton at the 9 to 5 audition, I sang “Something” and played along with my ukulele. She said, “I bet you threw that yodel in just for me!”
Special skills: Lariat trick roping, guitar, drums, piano, creepiness
Something you're REALLY bad at: DIRECTIONS. I have no internal compass.
First Broadway show you ever saw: Footloose when I was 16
If you could go back in time and catch any performance, what would it be? Sunday in the Park with George
Current show—other than your own—that you have been recommending to friends: Fuerza Bruta
Sleep No More
Favorite showtune(s) of all time: “Come Down Now” from Passing Strange
“Shiksa Goddess” from Last Five Years
Some favorite modern musicals: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Passing Strange, Parade
Favorite classic musical: Oliver!
Stage or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Charlie Chaplin, Gwen Verdon, Heath Ledger
Your personal vocal idols, living or dead: Buddy Holly, John Lennon
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: Final Saturday night taping of Passing Strange. I’d never seen a roof be blown off a theatre like that before. I was weeping like a baby.
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Régine Chassagne, the female vocalist in Arcade Fire. There’s something so beautifully desperate in her voice.
MAC or PC? .me in a cloud
Most played song on your iPod: “Behold a Marvel in the Sky” by Deerhoof
Most-visited websites:
Last book you read: "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan
Must-see TV show(s): "Breaking Bad"!!!
Last good movie you saw: "The Skin I Live In"
Some films you consider classics: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest"
"Pee Wee’s Big Adventure"
"The Deerhunter"
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Deerhoof
Pop culture guilty pleasure: YouTube videos of skateboarding accidents
Favorite cities: Brooklyn, Austin, Prague
Favorite sport/team/player: Dirk Nowitzki on the Mavericks makes it look so easy.
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: "Shaq-Fu" was the first CD I ever owned. It came with the Sega videogame "Shaq-Fu" where Shaquille O’Neal fought at a kung-fu tournament. He rapped on the accompanying CD, and it was awful!
Greatest Bands of all Time: The Beatles, ELO, GREEN DAY!
Favorite or most memorable onstage role as a child/teenager: I played Will in Will Rogers Follies at the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA when I was 16.


It was a thrilling production where we used sets and costumes from the 1st National Tour and a orchestra of 30 professionals! Not your normal high school experience...
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: I saw a children’s theatre production of Mother Goose by the Hurrah Players when I was 8. After the show, I told my mom, “I can do that.” I later joined the Hurrah Players and became very inspired by Hugh Copeland to fall in love with theatre.

How you got your Equity card: Hairspray in Vegas
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: (note where) PRE: Chipotle tacos
POST: La Superior tacos
Favorite liquid refreshment: VITA COCO. Like sticking a straw in a coconut.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: I listen to music, drink tea, and stretch A LOT.
Most vocally challenging role you've performed: Johnny in American Idiot
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: Because of a last-minute backstage microphone swap in American Idiot, I missed my usual entrance at the top of the stairs for “Letterbomb.” As I’m running to enter late from the wings instead, I made a split-second decision to dive and roll like a human tumbleweed across the stage. I must have rolled three times -- each one getting more air than the last before crashing into Will’s couch -- but got there right on time!

Worst costume ever: In Hairspray, in the song “Without Love,” I had to be a dancing silhouette in the female jail because there weren’t enough ladies in the cast to fill all of the slots on the set. I wore a very large wig and a corset on top of my normal Sketch costume and wiggled quite girly. I hated putting that wig on everyday.

Favorite Green Day tunes not in the show: "Geek Stink Breath"
"Pulling Teeth"
If you could trade roles/tracks with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be? WILL!
Any cities on the itinerary you're particularly excited to visit: Seattle and San Francisco! Never been...
Leading man role you've been dying to play: George in Sunday in the Park with George
Leading lady role you wish you could play: Dot in Sunday in the Park with George
Something about you that surprises people: I was an Elvis impersonator ages 13-16. Enough said.
Something you are incredibly proud of: Billie Joe proposed to me onstage at the encore one night.
Career you would want if not a performer: Astrophysicist
Three things you can't live without: Maps, humidifier, plants
"I'll never understand why…" ... we can shoot missiles and bombs across the world, but we don’t shoot food to countries with people starving.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: “The aim of art is to ask the questions clearly - not provide the answers.” Summarizing Tolstoy.

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