Autumn Hurlbert is truly a fun, fearless force on the theater scene.The actress, singer and dancer who dazzled audiences as the runner-up on the reality competition series “Legally Blonde: The Musical — The Search for Elle Woods” is now on the national tour of “Something Rotten!”
The show, which is from the director of “Aladdin” and co-director of “The Book of Mormon” and the producer of “Rent,” “Avenue Q” and “In the Heights,” hits Broward Center for the Performing Arts March 21 and will run through April 2. Hurlbert also has a unique sidekick with her on the tour—her son Lincoln, who is almost two.
“He’s been on five flights in two months and is loving life on the road,” Hurlbert said of her son who cites Elmo, water, guitars, playing ball and cleaning among his favorite things. “We travel with a full set of Sesame Street characters for him and he’ll literally turn anything you give him into a guitar. He loves music.”
Fresh from a trip to Disney World with her family, Hulbert chatted with Motherloading.com about motherhood, playing a Puritan character and what it’s really like touring with her own Broadway baby.
“There are some aspects that can be stressful, like I have to plan ahead more and make sure each hotel has a crib,” Hurlbert said. “We always travel with a Pack ‘n Play just in case. Another thing I’m learning is how family friendly differs from toddler friendly! But the best part of touring with a toddler is seeing more parts of a city than you would if you were touring alone and we always hit the local playgrounds.”
In “Something Rotten!” Hurlbert portrays the the fair Puritan maiden Portia who is enamored with Nigel Bottom’s poetry. Nigel and Nick Bottom are playwright brothers stuck in the shadow of Renaissance rockstar Will Shakespeare. When a soothsayer foretells the next big thing in theater will be singing, dancing and acting at the same time, the Bottom brothers attempt to write the world’s very first musical which also turns out to be a wickedly side-splitting comedy.
“I love playing Portia because Portia is all love,” Hurlbert said. “She’s a Puritan who has led a very sheltered, structured life and you find out she loves poetry and other writings than what’s in the Bible. She is also so weird and wacky. I’m kind of playing my son at times on stage because it reminds me of him experiencing everything for the first time.”
Hurlbert also enjoys the comedic value of “Something Rotten!” “This show has every kind of humor in it. It’s truly funny,” Hurlbert said. “And you don’t have to know anything about it to enjoy it. We often say ‘If you don’t walk out in a better mood than when you came in, it might be your problem, not ours!”
Touring with her son has also kept Hurlbert focused and active. “You become really good at multi-tasking,” Hurlbert said. “My cast jokes that I’m a hero sometimes as I’m going through the airport with a backpack that’s bigger than me, rolling my son in a stroller. But our cast really does feel like a big family. We all inspire each other.”
While her home base is the upper westside of Manhattan, Hurlbert is excited to be traveling with her son and now her husband, who is coming on the tour. “My husband is a psychologist taking a sabatical right now,” Hurlbert said. “We laugh that he’s a ‘stay at hotel’ daddy sometimes. We are so thankful and blessed he has a profession that allows him to travel with us from time to time. My husband’s sister also helped us out taking a semester off to travel with me.”
As a full-time actress and mother, Hurlbert wants to remind other mothers out there of the importance of self-care.
“Make sure you take time at least once a week just for yourself because it’s easy to get caught up in life and work,” Hurlbert said. “Get a mani/pedi, get out in nature by yourself and just disconnect for a bit. It takes a lot of focus and planning to keep a child happy so don’t burn yourself out because you’ll get sick. It’s always worth the babysitter fee to make some time for yourself. I call it refilling the ‘mommy survival cup.’”
When she’s not working, Hurlbert can be found exploring museums or spending time outdoors. “I’m a whimsical explorer,” Hurlbert said. “I go where the wind takes me that day.”
The original musical “Something Rotten! runs March 21 through April 2, 2017.
Tickets will be available at the Broward Center AutoNation Box Office, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33312, or online at Browardcenter.org or by calling 954-462-0222. Ticket prices start at $35. To get in on the social media conversation about the show, visit Rottenbroadway.com or check out @RottenBroadway, Facebook or Instagram.