By Christopher A. Pape
Hunter Ryan Herdlicka may not be a household name (nor is it a very common name), but he us one of the fastest rising stars on Broadway today. Having made an acclaimed turn in A Little Night Music, Hunter has gone on to well-received cabaret shows and regional theater around the country. It doesn’t hurt that Hunter is one of the nicest young actors in New York (he isn’t bad looking either). He also happens to be a friend. I hope you like the piece as much as I like knowing him.
Resident(R) Where did you grow up?
Hunter(H) I grew up in Dallas, Texas. Actually it was Plano, but close enough. But my family moved all over growing up: New York, Washington, Oklahoma, and finally ended back in Texas. I graduated from Plano West Senior High School in 2005.
R When did you come to New York? How do you like it compared to your hometown?
H I moved to New York City the day I graduated college in May of 2009. It was that same week that I had my very first audition, which was for the musical I would later make my Broadway debut in, playing Henrik Egerman in Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music,” playing opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, followed by Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. New York was certainly louder, faster, but not funnier than my hometown - but I preferred it since I first visited in the 2nd grade.
R How did you get into musical theater?
H My first musical was a non-speaking role in a church production in Seattle. All I remember about the show was walking down the aisle with a large, living sheep and waving to everyone I knew (or didn't know) in the audience. That's definitely when I was bit by the theatre-bug. As I got a little bit older, I saw my first live musical - the Broadway production of Cats, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, who would later become my very first director.
R What have you starred in?
H Aside from starring on Broadway for nearly two years, I've had leading roles around the country in five regional theaters including a new production of The "Tempest" at Dallas Theater Center and a production that ended in December of the Broadway musical "Something's Afoot" at the historic Goodspeed Opera House. I recently debuted a new solo cabaret at the Austin Cabaret Theatre in Texas for a sold out engagement in January, and am excited to announce that the show will be playing at New York's hottest new cabaret club, 54 Below, on March 25th. I'm really very proud of the show and couldn't be more excited about it. Its very funny and touching as I tell stories from growing up in Texas to moving to New York and meeting my idol, Stephen Sondheim. And it's all music people know and love - Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Comden and Green, Cole Porter.
R Favorite role you haven't been in yet?
H I just saw a wonderful play in London called "The Judas Kiss" by David Hare. I wouldn't mind being in that at all. Or "The Goat" by Edward Albee. "Sweeney Todd" is also amazing Anything Shakespeare. I could go on...
R Favorite people you've worked with?
H Elaine Stritch, Bernadette Peters and Hugh Jackman. David Hyde Pierce is great to work with! I'm so blessed I've gotten to do so much at such a young age and I am so thankful that I am constantly surrounded by these wonderful artists who have been such idols, and now mentors, to me.
R What part of the city do you live in? What do you like about it?
H I live in the center of the Theatre District (it’s really just Hell’s Kitchen). I recently moved into an awesome new apartment with a large, outdoor patio and garden as well. Needless to say, I haven't been able to enjoy it in this cold weather, but I'm very excited about it. I can't imagine living anywhere else at the moment; I love the noise, the hustle and bustle, and let's face it, the convenience of this crazy neighborhood.
R Any charities that you're involved with?
H I am constantly doing benefits and concerts for various charities - The Actors Fund, Broadway Barks, Broadway Cares and the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative.
R Describe your sense of style
H Simple. Classic. Comfortable.