Getting to Know CINDERELLA’s Prince Topher: Andy Huntington Jones
On May 3, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is coming to San Francisco and will thrust Topher in front of an audience to belt out, “Me? Who am I? A far from perfect guy!” While we’ll get to know all about the Prince during the show, let’s find out more about the guy under the heavy armor and dazzling crown. We had the chance to catch up with ANDY HUNTINGTON JONES and ask him a number of questions inspired by our favorite Broadway show tunes. Check out what he had to say below.
Avenue Q: Before you were on Broadway, what was the oddest job you’ve had?
One summer I worked at a zoo’s pop-up bratwurst stand and played German music. As an actor, I’ve found that most of my “real-person” jobs have been in the restaurant industry, and pretty much all of my acting jobs have been objectively stranger than serving German sausage next to a zoo’s monkey sanctuary. For example, I found myself as a dancing hot dog in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. I like to think my bratwurst experience influenced that hot dog’s on-stage personality.
Ten Minutes Ago: What are your pre-curtain rituals?
My first scene in CINDERELLA involves running around the stage wearing a 25 pound suit of armor so my main priority pre-curtain is to get my heart rate up. I squat before I run out. Some days I squat a lot and most days I squat once or twice to make sure I’m not going to fall over.
My Favorite Things: Top five… favorite shows, favorite roles, favorites influences, favorite songs to performer, favorite places you’ve performed, etc?
- I badly want to work on a Sondheim show. I was going to a few years ago before a revival of his was postponed, but my desire persists. His music and lyrics have inspired me more than any other composer-lyricist.
- I’ve loved singing “Ten Minutes Ago” for the past few years. The lyric is hesitant yet romantic, and the melody churns like the feeling of love. It is such a delicate moment in the show, and I will miss falling in love to the sound of Rodgers and Hammerstein every night.
- I grew up in Boston, so performing on tour at the Boston Opera House felt overwhelmingly full-circle. I was more nervous performing on that stage a few months ago than I was for my broadway debut a few years ago.
- I was Charlie in an ambitious high school production of MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG and I want another stab at it (as Frank this time). Definitely a favorite of mine.
- I’m addicted to Broadway’s favorite hangout: Glass House Tavern on 47th. I miss their crab cake and intend to buy them out when I get back to New York.
Now/Later/Soon: Which current shows on Broadway would you watch… now? Later? Or soon?
Now: I WANT TO SEE HAMILTON IMMEDIATELY.
Later: I’m really looking forward to seeing THE COLOR PURPLE. I’ve been on tour for the last two years, so I have a lot of catching up to do when I get back to the city this May.
Soon: I grew up enamored with and utterly confused by CATS. I think this upcoming revival is going invigorate New York all over again…
If I Were A Rich Man: If you just won a TONY, what would your speech be like? Who would you thank?
I’m so thankful to be working that winning a Tony is the last thing on my mind, but IF that were to ever happen I would promptly faint. And then I would thank everyone under the sun who has encouraged me and built me up when I was feeling self-conscious or down about the business. The most important tool I’ve acquired as an actor has been a positive support system. The more board games with friends and family the better.
The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened: Tell us about the craziest/best/most memorable fan encounter.
After a performance of BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, the cast gathered onstage to meet Liza Minnelli, who had just seen the show. She absolutely gushed and raved about her experience sitting in the audience, and, in true Liza fashion, brightened everyone’s week. That was a pinch-me moment.
Agony: Tell us about your most embarrassing moment on stage.
I’ve split many pairs of pants but one split was particularly painful. I was a dancer in BYE BYE BIRDIE at North Shore Music Theatre, a wonderful regional theatre in the round. Split pants are hard to hide when you are shaking your bum to the front row, and when you are surrounded by the audience. They got more than they paid for that performance.
Now You Know: What would you, today, tell your younger self when you first started in show business?
Easier said than done, but believing in yourself is the biggest battle when the vast majority of your potential jobs turn into rejection.
Don’t miss ANDY HUNTINGTON JONES in CINDERELLA from May 3 through May 8, here at the SHN Orpheum Theatre. Get your tickets today at shnsf.com!