ML - Vegas Magazine

2012 - Issue 7 - November

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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Page 83 of 127

M show of the body's potential." The only difference this time out were the paparazzi snap- the couple not to mention the old ladies asking for photographs. "My boyfriend's a good sport about it," Hilty says. Talk about hitting the jackpot. In the first season of Smash—NBC's big gamble about the making of a Broadway show—Hilty's Ivy Lynn was the bad girl gone even worse, a long-time chorus member itching for her moment in the spotlight. And for a minute there, things seemed to be looking up for her. Ivy was cast as Marilyn Monroe in a workshop of a new musical, Bombshell, and was even sleeping with the hot director— though her reign proved short-lived in the end. In no specific order, she lost the role, conspired against her understudy, slept with her costar's fiancé, and capped it all off with a suicide attempt. (And to think, this season of Smash was only 13 episodes.) In a show that is sometimes criticized for taking itself too seriously, Hilty's character seems to be the only one letting herself get into trouble. Having grown up in a town that felt about a million miles from Broadway, perhaps this wide-eyed character was just in Hilty's bones. She was raised in Bellevue, Washington, a music lover 82 VEGASMAGAZINE.COM from an early If there's one thing Smash gets right about the secret lives of Broadway newcomers, it's the contrast between the excitement of the stage and the I-can't-pay-my-rent quality of life. It was a magical time in Hilty's profes- sional life, but her personal life was not quite as glamorous: She was living in a walk-up in Astoria, Queens, and couldn't afford any extra amenities. "I had cable in my dressing room," she says, "but not at home!" Talk about a trial by fire: When the actress playing Glinda called out sick one night, Hilty was practically shoved onto the stage. "I was so scared," she says. "I'd never done the show in costume with other people before. I'd never done it with the lights and the orchestra." Hilty performed in Wicked—on Broadway and on the road—for about four years, followed by a celebrated turn in a musical version of the hit 1980s cult movie 9 to 5 (playing the Dolly Parton role) on Broadway in 2009. But she was left wanting; like Ivy Lynn on Smash, Hilty was supremely talented but not yet a household name. "I can't tell you how many work- shops I did where people were like, 'I love you. You're great. But we need a egan Hilty was staring down a busy production schedule for season two of her hit TV series, Smash, when she felt the urge come on. Looking at the calendar, faced with the prospect of months of 16-hour work days, she des- perately wanted to savor her last bit of freedom. "We have to go to Vegas," she told her boyfriend. Hilty is a creature of habit, so the couple's itinerary was a greatest-hits of trips past, including brunch at Palazzo's First Food & Bar and tickets to Cirque du Soleil's O, which the 31-year-old actress calls "the greatest theatri- age—despite the fact that her mother, a human resources executive at a telephone company, refused to sing to her when she was a young child. Sitting in a downtown Manhattan coffee shop, dressed in denim that hugs her very Marilyn-esque curves, Hilty explains: "My mom read this article saying tone-deaf mothers should never sing to their children because they'd be tone deaf, too." Rather than risk it, Hilty's mom would often plop her in front of the stereo and press play on cast albums of The Music Man and Into the Woods. Hilty heard Bernadette Peters sing and thought, I want to do that! cal experience" she's ever seen, gushing: "It's people defying the laws of Mellon University, where she studied musical gravity and physics, and it's an amazing human "THE RUMORS JUST KEPT GOING. I GOT A LOT OF HATE-TWEETS FOR THAT. HE HAS A VERY DEVOTED FAN BASE." taking a dip at Azure pool, —MEGAN HILTY, ON NICK JONAS ROMANCE RUMORS ping photos of Voice lessons began at age 12, and she started hanging posters from her favorite operas around her room; not surprisingly, she was sometimes teased by her peers. Sipping a mint iced tea, mindlessly playing with the straw, she says, "In middle school, they used to have me sing 'Happy Birthday' to people at lunch—on the microphone. I was like, I can't do this. It is the nerdiest thing." She didn't have to worry about being uncool at Carnegie theater (famous alumni include Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, and Magic Mike's Matt Bomer). Hilty didn't struggle to find work, either: Two months after gradua- tion she was cast in Wicked on Broadway, understudy- ing the role of Glinda.

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