Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Superior Acting

Superior Acting

If you've been a longtime reader of Steve On Broadway, the name Jon Michael Hill is not new to you. In fact, I first wrote about this gifted young actor in this space on July 10, 2006 when he was performing in the excellent Bruce Norris play, The Unmentionables.

My first words about Hill
were as follows:

Even as the booming off-stage voice instructs the audience to silence their cell phones, a menacing, cocky young man named Etienne (Jon Hill) saunters down the aisle looking as if he might not belong before finally calling out to the audience that they should not bother staying for this show. Of course, it's all a ruse, but it's clearly designed to set the stage for the play and challenge some preconceived notions about race and appearance even before the performance begins.
More recently, I provided many of you with your more recent introduction to his talents when I wrote this past July 16:

Take a close look at the smiling face to the left. Examine it very carefully. Because this is the exciting face of tomorrow's Broadway.

Ever since Hill made his impressive Broadway debut in the superb Superior Donuts that opened October 1, he's been the subject of a lot of good buzz that amounts to so much more than just a sugar rush. Flush with great reviews and even some well-deserved Tony talk, Hill is making a name for himself on the Great White Way.

It may be a month overdue, but The New York Times is finally sitting up and taking notice. In a terrific story by Patrick Healy, Hill is profiled and assessed by his peers, including director Tina Landau, who states:

“Jon was one reason I said, ‘Count me in,’ ” said Tina Landau, a Steppenwolf ensemble member who directed the play in Chicago and New York. “He’s completely mercurial. He can do everything and its opposite. That’s so exciting to see in a young actor.”
Like I've said before, keep your eye on this exciting young actor. By swinging by the Music Box Theatre and seeing him perform this fall, I have no doubt that you'll have bragging rights in someday saying -- when he's a major star -- that you saw him when.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 17 November, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

Hey Steve,

I was excited about seeing Jon Michael Hill ever since your original review of Superior Donuts from Chicago, and he definitely lived up to the advance billing IMHO!

He really does an amazing job making his character so memorable. He had me right from the beginning, when I was laughing so hard at his banter with Michael McKean's character. And then, as the play unfolded I was moved to tears by the smart and witty and ambitious young man he brings to life on stage. It was so absorbing, really a wonderful performance and one that I still remember vividly a month later.

It's interesting, I think he also challenges preconceived notions about race and appearance in this play, too.

It's great to see him get some recognition in The New York Times. And like you said, I'm glad I'll have bragging rights!

At 18 November, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

You're right about those preconceived notions. I give Tracy Letts enormous props for providing each of his characters with rich dialog. I just hope more people go out and see this wonderful show.

At 18 November, 2009, Blogger Linda said...

I didn't know about Hill before Superior Donuts, but I'm a fan now.

Someone else who I think will be a future star (not that you asked) is Bobby Steggert. I've thought that since I saw him in 110 in the Shade a few years ago and I was pleased to see he's being noticed for his work in Ragtime.

At 18 November, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks Linda. I'll be on the lookout for him when I go see Ragtime!


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