Liz Boyer Hunnicutt, a local Baltimore actress and Resident Director of the Children’s Playhouse of Maryland (CPM) was kind enough to share her thoughts about Philip and although I never worked with Philip, I have known him for many years, I can definitely attest to his talent his kind and friendly personality.
“I just adore Philip. He has an extraordinary knack of taking on a role, any role and making it his own. He is extremely dedicated and working with him has been a joy from the very beginning.
Over the last five years my favorite role he has played at CPM has been Fagin in Oliver! He created a such a fascinating character from the way he spoke to the way he walked — an absolute complete analysis. It was magical to watch him. He handled the nuisances of that role better than some adults and I couldn’t have been more proud of him. The audiences along with his cast mates were so enthralled with his performance.
Besides his excellent work he is just a great guy!! Such a wonderfully polite & respectful young man. I admire Philip and his entire family and grateful to have had the opportunity to work them.” – Liz Boyer Hunnicutt.
Philip, thanks for being MD Theatre Guide’s Rising Star this month, I would love to hear about your trip to France this past summer with your twin sister Sheridan (a previous Rising Star, click here to read about her), wasn’t that an acting educational opportunity? How was that and what did you take away from that experience?
Our month with the Berridge Conservatory this summer was the experience of a lifetime. We made friends from all over the U.S. and the world, and we went sightseeing around Normandy. Besides all the cultural and social connections we made, we learned a ton about acting. I think the biggest thing I learned at Berridge is that there isn’t just one method for acting. All my teachers emphasized the importance of finding what works for you—adding tools to your “actor’s toolbox.” If a particular method doesn’t work for you, you don’t have to use it.
When did you first perform in front of an audience?
My first performance was in the Wizard of Oz at Baltimore Children’s Theatre, directed by (MD Theatre Guide’s very own!) Mark Beachy. I was in it with my father and sister. Sheridan and I were eight years old at the time, and we played munchkins and a few other small roles. Our dad played the Scarecrow.
What made you want to be a performer?
It’s hard to say when exactly acting became more than just a hobby to me. I remember being in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Children’s Playhouse of Maryland. I loved the show and I grew very close to the cast. I think that might be when I started to seriously consider acting as a career.
What was your favorite show to be in and the favorite character you played?
My favorite show is probably Into the Woods, which I performed in a few years ago in Pumpkin Theatre’s summer conservatory. Not only was the show itself really well-written and full of meaning, but I got to perform alongside some really close friends. Overall it was challenging, meaningful, and tons of fun. My favorite role has got to be Fagin in Oliver!, which is a role I played a couple of years ago at Children’s Playhouse of Maryland. Fagin gets to goof around and have fun onstage, but he’s also very complex. I got to really dig deep into this character, from the physicality of an old man to the essential moral conflict of the play.
What was the best advice you received about acting?
When I used to work with Jimi Kinstle at Pumpkin Theatre, one of his anecdotes was always: “Each run is better than the last!” This quote has stuck with me as good advice not just for theatre, but for life. No matter how good you are at something, your goal should always be to keep improving, even if it’s just a little at a time.
Any other advice you would like to give to up-incoming actors/actresses?
When I was starting out in the theatre world, I often got advice to participate in theatre as much as possible. I followed this advice, and I’m glad I did. I would like to pass this advice on to other budding actors. Just having experience in the theatre is invaluable in terms of building up your acting skills and understanding this craft. I also encourage young actors to get experience in other aspects of the theatre. Doing backstage work like tech or costumes for a show can help you gain an understanding and of how theatre works, and also give you an appreciation for all the things that have to happen in order to successfully put on a show.
You are a senior in high school this year; do you have plans to continue to act after high school? If so what are your plans?
I definitely plan on being an actor. I’m going to college for acting (not sure where yet!). I also have become interested in directing—I am directing a short play right now at school—so I might do a bit of that in college too. Really, as long as I’m involved in theatre, I’m happy. Right now I’m trying to find an internship or similar work for my senior project for school, and I hope to work at a local theatre.
Is there a play/movie you would love to be in?
I would have loved to be in the Into the Woods movie that just came out, seeing as that’s my favorite play. If I could travel back in time, I would also love to be in the Harry Potter movies. I grew up reading and loving those books, and to be in the movie would have been beyond exciting.
Is there an actor/actress you dream of working with? Any in this area?
Jimi Kinstle and Liz Boyer Hunnicutt are two local directors who have each directed me in countless shows and influenced me as an actor. I have acted with Liz in plays before, but I’ve never had the chance to act with Jimi. So that’s definitely on my acting “bucket list”: act in a show alongside Jimi Kinstle!