Q&A: Hunter McMahon says theater is ‘second family’

Hunter McMahon, seen above, accepts his award of the 2013 Best Minor Actor in a Musical for his role as Teen Angel in "Grease," directed by Travis Bryant. He has won two Montie Awards overall including one for Best Lead Actor in a Musical in 2012.
Hunter McMahon, seen above, accepts his award of the 2013 Best Minor Actor in a Musical for his role as Teen Angel in “Grease,” directed by Travis Bryant. He has won two Montie Awards overall including one for Best Lead Actor in a Musical in 2012.

Hunter McMahon has been no stranger to both The Owen and The Crighton theater over the years. His most recent acting appearance was as Dave in “Almost, Maine,” directed by Don Hampton.

He is a two-time Montie winner, claiming the prize every time he has been nominated. The first he won was Best Lead Actor in a Musical for his 2012 performance in “Smokey Joe’s Cafe’,” which is the most-nominated show of all time. His second was in 2013 for Best Minor Actor in a Musical for his role as Teen Angel in “Grease,” directed by Travis Bryant. The Monties sat down to talk with McMahon ahead of this year’s awards show.

He recently served as the assistant director and stage manager for “A Streetcar Named Desire,” directed by Carole Lamont at The Owen Theater.

The Monties: What has been your favorite show to be a part of and what made being a part of the experience so much fun?
Hunter McMahon: I cannot say that I have had a favorite show I’ve done because every show and character is such a different experience for me. I have favorite moments I have taken away from all of my shows. Some more emotional and sensitive than others, but moments that I will never forget no matter what!

TM: In general, how do you prepare for a show? What tips might you give to others?
HM: My process really changes every single show. The only thing I do for every show is, before we start rehearsal, read the script as many times as I can to really get a feeling for the flow of the show. Other than that it really depends on the character and their journey they have throughout the show. Sometimes, I may talk with the actor I am “partners” with in the show, ask the director questions, or ask fellow actors and peers if they have any insight, or write in a diary as the character. There really is no right or wrong answer. It just comes down to whatever I can do to bring the truth of the character through that specific person. The only tip I could give is do not be afraid of asking questions, sharing your vision, and always stay true to your character no matter what.

TM: If you could be a part of any show, what would it be and why?HM: There are seriously too many to name. It changes at least two to three times a week. Currently, some of the shows I’m wanting to be in are “Hair,” “Next to Normal,” “Shrek the Musical” and “The Last Five Years.”

TM: What is your favorite part about being involved in the theater community?
HM: I have been involved in community theater since I was young. It wasn’t until I got involved in Conroe’s community theater four years ago that I really started to appreciate it and the values it has taught me. I have met so many people that I can call my second family and call for anything at any time of the day. Also, it has helped me reconnect with a lot of people from my childhood! Another part I like is that theater is my therapist. With every show I do a little part of me is changed forever, and even sometimes can help heal some hurt I may have had in the past. I am so thankful that I have a place where I can express my creativity, and share so many memories on stage with others.

TM: What was it like to win your Montie Awards and what does winning mean to you?
HM: It was a humbling and inspiring experience both times. It always feels good for an actor to get recognized for their hard work and creativity. It really makes you step back, take a look at everything in your life, and just know how lucky we all are to even have the opportunity to do community theater, period.  A lot of people commit there lives to the community theater and many of them are here in Conroe. I think it is so special to have a night where we can all come and let our hair down, put aside our differences and celebrate the past season while ringing in a new one for the next year.

Tickets are on sale now for the fourth annual Montie Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award for only $10 ($12 online with online fee). The ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. at The Crighton Theater. Ticket price includes admission into the after party at Founders Plaza across the street from The Crighton next to The Owen Theater.
Seating is limited so visit www.crightontheatre.org/Ticketing to reserve seats today.

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