|Autumn Hurlbert and Josh Grisetti|
photo by Jeremy Daniel
by Catherine Hathaway
Autumn Hurlbert is returning home to Arizona and taking an entire theater company with her. The actress plays the role of Portia in the Broadway touring company of “Something Rotten!” coming to ASU Gammage Oct. 31–Nov. 5.
“Growing up in Arizona, and especially deciding to do this as a profession, I’ve been waiting for this time,” Hurlbert said. “I’ve been waiting to be able to perform in my hometown theater. It’s an honor.”
“You can come in with no expectation,” Hurlbert said. “It’s great because it’s original book, original music, it’s an original story, so no one knows anything about it. Everyone will be surprised and delighted all together, and the music is really wonderful and catchy.”
Hulbert moved to Mesa, Arizona at the age of six. She grew up in the Valley and attended Dobson High School until the end of her junior year when her parents moved the family to Flagstaff.
“I’m really excited to be back in Arizona,” Hurlbert said. “I’m excited to reconnect with people that I went to school with. It’s going to be so interesting to see how much it has changed because New York can feel like a different world sometimes. It’s so far away from, you know, my hometown in Arizona.”
Hurlbert caught the performing bug while living in Arizona. She participated in her school theater, took choir class and performed in local productions. Hurlbert even attended performances at ASU Gammage and remembers seeing “Oklahoma!” at the theater.
“Gammage is such a beautiful facility,” Hurlbert said. “The staff and all of the programs and the season that makes up Gammage is really vital and important to keeping a community connected.”
Hurlbert is on tour with her husband and her son. She is a mother of a two-year-old boy and is thrilled for him to experience the same quality performances and beautiful facilities she did growing up.
“It will be kind of surreal to watch him running around our set and hanging out at Gammage as like a little local,” Hurlbert said. “It will be so special. A true full-circle, wonderful moment for us.”
Hurlbert’s family has had the opportunity to travel all over the United States with “Something Rotten!”
“Seeing so many parts of the world and the country is such a huge perk of our job,” Hurlbert said. “By the time this tour is done, there’s only four states that I won’t have been to, and I might be able to sneak a couple in while we’re on the road, so it could be even less than that.”
Although bringing her family on tour is an adventure, traveling with a toddler while working as a Broadway actress can make for a unique parenting experience.
“I think the beautiful thing about being in this business and having your family, is that it gives you a constant, daily opportunity to stay humble,” Hurlbert said. “When I’m running around, chasing my toddler nobody cares if you’re Katy Perry or your next-door neighbor. When your toddler is screaming through a public space and you have to focus on your family and just be real.”
Hurlbert loves raising her son with her “Something Rotten!” cast members by her side.
“It’s such a good opportunity to stay grounded and not get too self-centered,” Hurlbert said. “It’s just such a good experience for my son to be growing up in this community because the arts community is just such a loving, generous, familial community. We rarely have to ask for help. People are always lending hands. It’s just so supportive and wonderful.”
She hopes the community will come out to support her in a show she feels is incredibly entertaining for all audience members.
“I think it doesn’t matter what mood you come in to see our show, you’re going to walk out with a smile on your face,” Hurlbert said. “It’s just such a funny show. There’s such diverse humor. There’s really something for everyone in the show. It’ll tickle anybody’s funny bone."
Single tickets are on sale to the public for all shows in the ASU Gammage 2017–18 Broadway season with the exception of "Hamilton."
CLICK HERE for more information on Something Rotten at ASU Gammage, which runs from October 31 to November 5