Benjamin is a dream (& a nightmare!)
Benjamin McHugh has been evoking cheers and jeers during performances of Jekyll & Hyde. As the alternate for Jekyll & Hyde...the Aussie star has had to jump in on a moment's notice... read on!
I'm originally from Adelaide, South Australia. When I was 14, my family moved from Australia to Auckland, New Zealand where I finished my high school years. While I was there, the school had a very strong music department and every year they would have a mid-year musical. During my final year, they held auditions for Grease. I had no intention of performing, but was really interested in lighting - so I went along and asked if I could be the lighting operator. The director said "sure - but why don't you audition anyway and see how you go?". So I did and I ended up landing the part of Danny Zuko that John Travolta made famous! With absolutely no acting, singing or dancing experience I went on. It was hilariously bad but I had the best time and the seed was definitely planted for my love for this industry.
My friend Noelle Berry wrote to me telling me about the auditions coming up. She was part of the Westchester cast of J&H from 2001 and couldn't stop talking about how much she loved the show, loved working with Bob Cuccioli and thought I would be perfect in it. I'd never done the show before, but I got really excited about the opportunity to work with Bob and sing the score. When I found out I was the Jekyll & Hyde understudy, I was thrilled!
Going on for the first time last week was like nothing I had ever experienced. The role is huge and very intimidating and I had only 2 hours rehearsal! It was an incredible time. We managed to get through it - JUST. Luckily, we have an amazingly talented and supportive cast and crew that helped me through every step of that first show. The best part of my first show was when at the end of "The Way Back" during the transformation, I tried to pull the hair-tie out and instead my entire wig was off my head and on the floor in front of me! Ahhhh... Live Theatre! Nailed it! It has been amazing since. I can't say enough about the incredible cast and crew I work with.