Newfoundlander Keely Hutton is set to perform next month in the Broadway production “Escape to Margaritaville,” a Jimmy Buffett-inspired musical comedy.
Fresh off the heels of a three-city pre-Broadway tour of the show, Hutton describes landing the role as “like winning the lottery.”
But getting her big break took much more than luck.
Hutton began performing at a young age. She moved to New York City in 2014 and promptly signed up for dancing, singing, acting, and improv workshops — all while attending countless auditions.
“I just took advantage of everything I possibly could that the city had to offer artistically.”
Hutton has spent the past year working on “Escape to Margaritaville” with Tony Award-winning director Christopher Ashley and choreographer Kelly Devine, who both worked on the Newfoundland-based musical “Come from Away.”
Official opening night is slated for March 15, and Hutton says she can’t wait to take the final bows at the end of the night with her husband, Paul Alexander Nolan, who plays the lead role of Tully. Nolan is a Broadway veteran with five productions under his belt. Hutton says they haven’t been onstage together since they first met doing a show together at the Stratford Festival several years ago.
“So this will be a special moment to be up there with him,” she said. “And also my family will be in the audience cheering us on.”
Hutton describes the show as an escape for audiences.
“It’s funny, it’s very entertaining and the dancing … is spectacular,” she said. “It’s a love story on a tropical island.”
Her role in the ensemble involves playing several characters — what she calls “a revolving door of characters” — ranging from a zombie to a Grammy Awards announcer.
But the bulk of her time onstage is spent playing a waitress, which she says came naturally to her after years of working in restaurants, including The Sundance on George Street.
Hutton credits her upbringing in St. John’s for much of her current success. She says her time at Holy Heart of Mary High School helped to develop her performance skills.
“The choral tradition there is amazing.”
She says two of her teachers in particular, Susan Knight and Susan Quinn, played important roles in her growth as a performer. With her recent success, Hutton can now give a few lessons of her own to other young aspiring stars.
“Keep your eyes on your own page,” she said. “Keep on doing your thing and keep working hard. … What you bring to the table is unique from what every other person brings to the table.”