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Broadway Q&A: Michael C. Hall of 'Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical'

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |

The actor reveals what drew him to a musical about candy

Michael C. Hall recently starred in the first (and only) performance of Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical in front of a live audience at The Town Hall in New York City. The show was performed Super Bowl Sunday. Instead of airing a commercial for the Big Game, Skittles created a live musical with new songs, including one called “Advertising Ruins Everything.” Skittles Commercial: The Musical featured a live band, and a cast of 17 uber-talented Broadway performers. Will Eno, the Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright, wrote the musical’s book. “It’s full on. We did it all,” shares Hall – best known for his Emmy-nominated starring role on TV’s Dexter – of the show. “We had dancing, singing, costumes, an orchestra with original music and a fantastic book.”  In fact, Hall has collaborated with Eno several times. The actor starred in Eno’s The Realistic Joneses and most recently Thom Pain (based on nothing)

Hall in the TV commercial that announced 'Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical' (Photo: Skittles)

Hall in the TV commercial that announced 'Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical' (Photo: Skittles)

What keeps you coming back to theater, and how does singing make you feel? 
Michael C. Hall
: I love doing theater, whether it’s a musical or a play. There is something that can’t be matched when (you) perform live. You are with an audience who is in the room with you breathing the same air. There is nothing like it. It’s invigorating. As far as singing goes, it releases a kind of endorphin that you don’t get anywhere else. And singing full voice at the top of your lungs, from the roots of yourself, is invigorating.  

Can you talk about your Broadway debut? 
: My first Broadway job was around twenty years ago. I stepped in to play the MC in the Sam Mendes-directed production of Cabaret. That was back in 1998. I was invited to do a work session after having done a workshop production that Sam Mendes directed. It led to me getting invited to do that job. It was beyond, beyond. When I found out I got the job, it was the moment where I felt like I had made it. When I got invited to play the MC in the Broadway production of Cabaret, I felt that maybe this was actually going to work out.

What inspired you to perform in Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical
:  I have seen Skittles ads over the years. And they have been in a category unto themselves in terms of the chances they take with the self-referential nature of their commercials. They seem to be commenting on the very phenomenon of brand advertising. And the musical takes that trend to a new level. 

Also, I was totally intrigued by the idea. It is completely unprecedented to perform a live Broadway musical happening just one time for the big game, rather than airing an ad that lasts 30 seconds. It was simultaneously exciting and scary. And I like to feel both of those things when I go into something. The songs are fantastic, and these are totally legit Broadway performers. It was a challenge unlike any I had ever been invited to take on. So I jumped at it. I hope it wasn’t a bad decision.

What was the first Broadway show you ever saw?
: I came to New York on a school trip in the eighth grade. We did all the normal stuff, including seeing a Broadway show. The show I saw was 42nd Street. Little did I know, sitting there then, that I would one day be doing a one-time only performed musical ad.

Is there advice that you wish you could have told yourself when you were starting your career? 
: Don’t compare yourself or your career path to that of anyone else. Just recognize that you are on your own unique path. I have unique moments on the path that I’ve taken. Like doing this live Skittles ad. It’s one of the most unique things that I have done. 

For more of the best of NYC theater, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in February 2019.

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