Age & Hometown: “Old enough to drink”; Morrisville, Vermont
Current Role: A Broadway debut as Sophie Sheridan, the feisty bride-to-be who belts “Honey, Honey” and other ABBA tunes in the long-running hit Mamma Mia!
Instant Success: Bubbly brunette Hunt got a fast start in musicals, hitting the road as Sophie in Mamma Mia! in 2009, just after graduating from NYU. “I was born wanting to do this,” she says of singing and dancing, and her devoted parents helped make her dream come true, shuttling the budding actress from their small town to Burlington for classes and performances. Along the way, Hunt picked up the resume-enhancing special skill of “maple sugaring,” thanks to an uncle who had a sugar shack. “To this day, I won’t use syrup unless it’s from Vermont,” she says loyally.
Long-Distance Love: As Sophie, Hunt has been engaged to eight guys playing Sky on tour and Broadway, but she’s never been hit by what she laughingly calls “the Sophie/Sky curse” of falling for a co-star. Maybe that’s because she is happily involved with former NYU classmate Larkin Bogan. “We didn’t start dating until I was on tour and he was on Broadway in Hair,” she says. “Then I got offered Mamma Mia! on Broadway, and he left to go on tour!” Skyping and long-distance movie dates, “where we start watching the movie at the same time and text throughout,” help, but being in NYC together for the summer while Hair is on Broadway is even better. “We’re having the time of our lives,” she says.
Anniversary Girl: “I feel so lucky to be the tenth anniversary Sophie,” Hunt says of Mamma Mia!’s forthcoming celebration at the Winter Garden Theatre, where it opened a month after 9/11. “I’ve sort of grown into the role,” she adds. “Sophie is more free-spirited and impulsive than I am, which is a lot of fun to play. There’s always something new to discover.” The show’s enduring success is no surprise to Hunt, given its “awesome girl-power” vibe and irresistible ABBA hits. “It’s funny to see 10-year-old girls who can sing along with every song because they’ve seen the movie,” she says. “They have no idea that this music has such an incredible history.”