cinderella, andy jones, memphis

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Cinderella’s Andy Huntington Jones: “I think Cinderella is a role model for anyone feeling stuck”

Tomorrow Cinderella will barrel into Memphis for a five-day stint at the Orpheum October 13-18th and I couldn’t be more excited. Headlining the cast and dawning the glass slippers will be Kaitlyn Davidson as Elle/ Cinderella, while Andy Huntington Jones plays the role of Prince Topher. Andy is as charming, smart and handsome as they come so naturally he’s the perfect pick for prince charming, but Andy is not satisfied with that: He’s more interested in making Prince Topher complex and human.

Along with being a gifted actor, Andy is outspoken about LGBT rights and his upbringing by two “superhero” parents. As Andy notes, Cinderella will be opening on the heels of National Coming Out Day so what better way to celebrate than by coming to a show where an oppressed girl becomes a beautiful princess?

Check out our excellent interview below and be sure to go see the show this week if you are in the area! Showtimes are listed at the end of the story.

1) Hey Andy! How long have you been touring in Cinderella and how was the casting process? 

I have been with the touring production of Cinderella for a year, now. I was the Prince Topher understudy in the Original Broadway Cast, and would perform when our Topher (Santino Fontana) was away from the building. It was from these performances that I was cast in the touring production.

2) What have you learned in Cinderella, as this is your second Broadway show?

Cinderella was my Broadway debut, and I went on to understudy Zach Braff’s performance of David Shayne in Bullets Over Broadway before starting the tour a year ago. Graduating into the role of Prince Topher after understudying the role for a year has been such a satisfying transition. I have been able to make this character my own. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to expand on all I learned in the Broadway production: after observing Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana lead the company on Broadway, I have thoroughly enjoyed performing with the new cast on the road.

3) What has been the most challenging aspect of playing Topher?

Entering our second year of the tour, the greatest challenge is to continue to live this story for the “first time” every night. We have told this story many times around the country, but our audience is going on a journey with us and, although they think they know the ending, this is a new experience for them. It is our ultimate priority to make join the audience in their feeling of “newness”. Douglas Carter Beane’s rewrite of the script has helped to make Topher a joy to play every night. These Rodgers and Hammerstein songs are classic, and romantic, and lush, and untouchable. Douglas has taken these songs and and this story that we all know and put it in a voice that resonates with a modern audience. Our Prince Topher can slay giants and dragons, but he doesn’t really know how to rule a kingdom. He is no longer an archetype, and the pressure for me to be “charming” is gone. I can be a version of me: awkward at times; always wanting to do the right thing. His relationship with Cinderella teaches him how to be a good ruler. They help each other.

4) You have two moms which must have been a unique and special experience growing up. How did this affect your outlook on life and the recent accomplishments within the LGBT community?

Given my unique family, my childhood felt remarkably normal. But regarding how my superhero parents have affected my outlook, they led by example by creating the lives they wanted. They were together for 20 plus years before same-sex marriage was legalized in our home state of Massachusetts. I was born in a time when same-sex couples were just starting to have families. They made their life even though their path wasn’t simple. When I chose to pursue a life as an actor, my parents were nothing but supportive. It was a huge priority to them that I feel encouraged to follow a life that would fulfill me and bring me happiness. They taught me that it was OK to be me.

5) Have you noticed whether Cinderella, the show, or Topher has a large gay following?

Our Cinderella is about an oppressed girl who changes her entire kingdom by being kind. I think our message is inspiring to a lot of people, but especially to the gay community, because it is a story of hope and perseverance against the most challenging odds. Cinderella has several stunning on-stage dress transformations throughout the show. Not only are these moments magical (and Tony Award winning), they are moments moments where we see a girl become who she was always meant to be. On the heels of National Coming Out Day, I think that Cinderella is a role model for anyone who feels stuck. Our show is turning caterpillars into butterflies every day!

6) As a straight ally,why do you think Broadway has always had such a large LGBT fan base?

I can’t speak for an entire community, but as a performer with two moms, I have found Broadway to be, above all else, welcoming. Adults are all little kids with dreams, just a bit older and with student debt. I think that all sorts of people can fall in love with theatre, regardless of sexual orientation, but I think that so many in the LGBT community stay active theatre-goers because they have found a place where they belong. Although I’m straight, I always felt a little out of place growing up. I never quite fit in. I feel lucky to have found my home.

7) What are your long-term goals for acting? What would be your dream role?

I love singing, and I hope to continue a musical life and career, but I yearn to explore the classics. Put me down for Hamlet in a few years; King Lear in a few decades. Film and TV? Count me in. I hope to continue to challenge myself as a performer, and, hopefully, that involves projects that challenge the audience as well.

8) Finally, why should Memphis come out and see Cinderella? Should fans stop and say hi after the show?

First of all, fans should definitely search out the stage door and say ‘Hello’! We are always eager to meet fans after going on a 2.5 hour journey. Don’t worry, it flies by. I think Memphis should come to be inspired to follow their dreams. We have a remarkably witty take on a story you’ve heard before. Erase all expectations: we are a new Cinderella. Come say ‘hi’ after you witness the power of possibility

Performance dates are as listed:

  • Tuesday, October 13, 2015  7:30 PM
  • Wednesday, October 14, 2015  7:30 PM
  • Thursday, October 15, 2015  7:30 PM
  • Friday, October 16, 2015  8:00 PM
  • Saturday, October 17, 2015  2:00 PM
  • Saturday, October 17, 2015  8:00 PM
  • Sunday, October 18, 2015  1:00 PM
  • Sunday, October 18, 2015  6:30 PM

TICKETS: $25 – $125

BOX OFFICE: 901.525.3000

GROUP SALES: 901.529.4226

WEB: www.orpheum-memphis.com

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