From Bellevue girl to Broadway star
By Gabrielle Nomura
Hanging out at Pike Place Market, shopping at Bellevue Square and eating at Wibbley’s Gourmet hamburgers – these are first on Megan Hilty’s to-do list whenever the Broadway star returns to her hometown.
“I loved growing up in Bellevue and I love even more that I get to come home there,” says Hilty, 30, who always sang and got her first taste for theater as a participant in Bellevue Youth Theatre programs. There, she got to do everything from learn choreography to help build sets.
“It gave me a purpose,” Hilty says. “It made me think, ‘I really want to do this.”
Surprisingly, Hilty never got parts at local venues such as Village Theatre, or Sammamish High School, where she attended for part of her secondary schooling. She was never the right age or quite what they were looking for.
Little did anyone know she would become a Broadway performer.
Hilty got her big break in 2006, replacing a role made famous by Kristin Chenoweth – Glinda the Good Witch, in the musical “Wicked.” In 2008, she would play another role pioneered by another famous blonde bombshell – Dolly Parton. The role was Doralee Rhodes in “9 to 5” the musical.
It was a daunting task – having to step into characters already established by these beloved women, Hilty says.
“I had to say, ‘I’m not Kristin Chenoweth. I can’t make A, B and C funny, but maybe I can make D, E and F funny. You have to step away from what others have done before and say, ‘I’m good enough to make this mine.’”
Since making her mark in the musical theater world, Hilty has been working on NBC’s new show about Broadway, “Smash,” which will premier this February, plus she’s also got an animated movie slated for 2012, “Dorothy of Oz” and a budding voice-over career with Nickelodeon and Disney.
Still though – there’s work to be done, opportunities to consider and a career to plan.
“I think if I ever get too comfortable and say, ‘I’ve arrived,’ I won’t be doing my job,’” she says.