Theatre Major Takes a Bite of the Big Apple
|12/10/2002||Mary Ann Beahon|
Big lights, big city, the Big Apple. Making it on Broadway is the “big dream” for many drama students. This semester, however, one William Woods University student is living her dream.
A Fulton native and WWU senior, Erin Hux is currently calling New York City her home. Part of the “Semester on Broadway” program that the university offers to seventh semester students, Hux is “learning how to live, eat and breathe in the city,” explains Joe Potter, William Woods artistic director of theatre.
The internship is used to “create a greater sense of professionalism in the student and make the student a more well-prepared, professionally oriented member of the theatre,” adds Potter.
In mid-August, Hux packed her bags and headed to NYC. Beginning her internship at Radio City Music Hall, she was part of the design department for “Carnivale,” a production planned for next season.
Todd Potter, Joe Potter’s brother, works as a set designer in New York and is serving as her adjunct professor.
“He oversees my work while I’m there,” said Hux. “He’s kind of my uncle now.”
Potter made arrangements for Hux to intern under Tony Walton, the head designer for Carnivale. Hux was awestruck by Walton.
“He’s huge; he’s an empire,” she commented. “He’s in textbooks.”
Apparently, Walton was impressed with Hux, as well.
“He called me enchanting and bubbly—he’s very English,” she said.
Hux worked 12 to 13 hours a day, half of which she spent running around getting blueprints printed, riding the subway and searching for pictures of props for the design team to draw.
Although the days were long, Hux experienced a bit of big city glamour. In August, the Video Music Awards show, hosted by MTV, was held at Radio City.
“I saw the whole show,” relayed Hux. From behind-the-scenes to meeting the stars, Hux experienced it all. “It was very interesting,” she said.
The second half of the internship, Hux found herself searching for another internship position. “The production people ran out of money and ‘Carnivale’ [had] been put on hold,” she said, adding that in one day, “the whole floor was fired.”
So, venturing out on her own, Hux set about job-hunting. After a few interviews, she is now with Luedtke Talent Agency.
“There are many, many talent agencies, but this one is huge,” said Hux.
Using her connections from Radio City, Hux told the talent agency that she had been working with Tony Walton and “people were impressed.”
“That’s how I got the talent agency job,” Hux explained.
Quite a turnaround from her long days at Radio City, she now puts in a full eight hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“I love working here,” says Hux. “Basically what I do is ‘smooze’ with people on the phone all day,” Hux adds jokingly.
In addition to the smoozing, Hux opens envelopes from prospects. “I open the mail, look at it and throw it in the trash. They can only use one out of about 500 that come in,” explains Hux.
“The more you send your headshots to people, the more it annoys them,” Hux advises. “It’s all about who you know. If you’re going to get a job, it will be through personal contact.”
Using a large computer database to match the actors and actresses with casting directors’ requirements, the agency selects people’s headshots for submission to chosen shows. Hux travels multiple times a week to shows such as “All My Children,” “Law & Order” and “The Dave Chapell Show” delivering headshots and resumes.
Besides submitting prospects for television, the agency also recommends people for movies and theatre for such productions as “Blues Clues Live,” “Chicago,” the touring group for “Hairspray,” “Dumb and Dumber 2,” “American Pie 3” and “Scooby Doo 3.”
Living and working in the city required some adjustment for Hux. “Manhattan was a little intimidating at first,” explained Hux. “It was hard. After growing up in Fulton, it’s a total culture shock to me, like not seeing grass. It’s definitely not a place where I’d want to raise kids.”
Despite her lack of enthusiasm for big city living, Hux is definitely enjoying the remainder of her Broadway semester.
“Now, I look forward to going to work everyday, and I really get along with everyone that works here…I have a job that I love, co-workers that I care about and an overall amazing internship that I learn new things from everyday.”
With graduation approaching in May, Hux remains undecided about her future.
“Fifty-five percent of me wants to go to grad school and 45 percent of me doesn’t,” Hux explains.
After her experience with the talent agency, Hux has gotten to know lots of people who are in the position to help her find a job.
Because of that, she said, “There’s a good chance of me being a working actress in New York. I’d love to work on Broadway. I’m a singing fool.”
As a whole, Hux believes it to be an once-in-a-lifetime experience. “Although it’s not what I thought it would be, it’s a learning experience. If anything, it has totally changed my perspective of everything I have ever thought about production.”