Age & Hometown: 29; Boston, MA
Current Role: Originating the character of Jean-Michel, a crusader for the kingdom’s poor and a love interest for Ella’s stepsister Gabrielle, in Broadway’s new Cinderella.
A Passionate Original: A Bostonian turned Brooklynite, Hildreth never expected he would have the opportunity to create a role in a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. “It’s super exciting,” he exclaims. “It’s not your mother’s Cinderella. In this version, Cinderella has more initiative; she is able to stand up for herself. It’s not just [the Prince] helping her, which is cool.” Hildreth describes his character as “a student at the university, hoping to make the world right. He thinks the wealth is not equally distributed, and he is fighting for the peasants.” Offstage, the actor chills with his two cats, “Pigeon, who is the star of the show, and Shostakovich, who is her sidekick,” and enjoys exploring his neighborhood, Bushwick, "where you can get a pickle martini and oysters at your run-of-the-mill hipster bar. There's something for everyone."
Skipping the Line: Cinderella marks Hildreth’s third Broadway show, though it’s his first that didn’t begin downtown. “I feel like I’m getting away with a highway robbery,” he says, adding that launching a piece off-Broadway is fun for other reasons: “Something that was nice and rare about the long journeys with Peter and the Starcatcher and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson was that these people became my closest friends,” he explains. “It’s rare to walk out on stage and be like, ‘Not only am I working at this level, but I’m working with some of my best friends, who I love and respect.’ It seems slightly unfair.” As for his current Broadway cast, Hildreth concedes, “It’s an all-star group. Part of me feels like I have no business being here. Every day, it’s like a master class.”
Craving the Bard: Hildreth shifted to musicals after studying Shakespeare in a graduate program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. (Dream roles include Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Jaques in As You Like It.) In fact, he met his future Bloody Bloody co-star Benjamin Walker in a 2006 Williamstown production of Romeo and Juliet starring Emmy Rossum. “He was playing Mercutio and I was playing Benvolio,” Hildreth recalls, adding with a laugh, “I had my pages in my hand and I was kind of trembling right before we were meant to enter together. Right before we entered, Ben just smacked the pages out of my hand. They went shattering all over the floor. He knew how to shake me up in the right way, and we were immediately very close friends."