All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Monday, March 23, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Hillary Cutter is the Co-Founder and Co-producer of Van Hill Entertainment

Hillary Cutter is the Co-Founder and Co-producer of Van Hill Entertainment with Van Dean. Van Hill’s most recently presented the World Premiere of ROOMS a rock romance as a co-production between MetroStage and Geva Theatre Center. Saint Heaven received its West Coast Premiere at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA opening their 2008/’09 season. Van Hill co-produced an all-star benefit concert of Paul Scott Goodman's Alive in the World (dir. Kurt Deutsch) featuring Adam Pascal, Lea Michele, Melissa Errico, Daniel Reichard, and Greg Naughton. In 2006, Van Hill produced three shows at the New York Musical Theatre Festival including Paul Scott Goodman’s Alive in the World featuring two time Tony® Award nominee Kelli O’Hara and Greg Naughton and Saint Heaven (winner of the 2006 NMTN Directors’ Choice Award) featuring Nancy Anderson, Montego Glover, Roz Ryan and Patrick Ryan Sullivan. Van Hill's World Premiere production of Saint Heaven was named one of the top theatrical events of 2006 by The Norwalk Hour and Frank Rizzo (The Hartford Courant and critic for Variety). This production of Saint Heaven (dir. Matt Lenz) at the SCA Rich Forum in Stamford featured Tony® Award winner Chuck Cooper, Deborah Gibson, Cheryl Alexander, Montego Glover, Darren Ritchie and Patrick Ryan Sullivan. Van Hill co-produced The 2006 NY Musical Theatre Festival: The Best of Fest Bash featuring a star-studded roster of Broadway talent. Cutter ( is also an independent producer of television and film and is a graduate of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
Peachy Deegan of Whom You know recently spoke with Hillary Cutter.

Peachy Deegan: How did you first become interested in producing and acting?
Hillary Cutter: I have actually only been onstage twice in my life (unless you count the stage of a Karaoke bar!). I performed in the chorus of two High School Musicals (Guys and Dolls and No, No Nanette). I have always had a passion for producing since grade school. I learned how to take charge at an early age and believed that audio, visuals, and performance was the strongest way to complete my school assignments and keep audiences and classmates engaged. My career began in High School when I was the “Student Producer” on several theater projects, produced a Television News show for a public speaking class, and coordinated various projects for non-profit organizations. I continued producing throughout college while majoring in Television/Film production. I produced a cooking show, talk show, soap opera, an interactive DVD, and a 10 minute documentary for my senior thesis project working with a community initiative in Syracuse called “Violence Is Not The Answer”. I had a strong portfolio when I entered the workforce at age 21 and was able to secure a job really quickly.

If you could produce any show on tv right now what would it be and why?
That’s a tough question! When you produce a TV show you have to deal with all of the politics of the cast, creative team, and crew etc. and your relationship to the show is different then just being a spectator. Right now all of my favorite shows are in syndication (Sex and the City, Seinfeld, Everyone Loves Raymond, and Frasier). I am waiting for a good sitcom or a new HBO show to come out. Setting aside all politics I would have loved to produce one of those shows because they are smart, fun, comical, and still have a loyal audience which is a testament to their success.

What actors/actresses do you admire most and why?
Anyone who knows me probably knows the answer to this question already. John Cusack and Jodi Foster are my all time favorite actors. I love the diversity of the roles they have played and they give a strong performance no matter what character or genre they are working in. My two favorite movies are High Fidelity and Stealing Home.

How has the economic climate affected theatre in New York?
As stated during the Great Depression in the 1930’s and 1940’s: “Even during "Hard Times" and wartime, people need to be entertained”. I think this statement holds true to theatre in New York today. People always need to be entertained. However in harder times audiences are going to be more pickier with the shows they chose. I think uplifting, romantic, and comedic subject matters have a chance to succeed in our current economic climate. I also believe there will always be philanthropists and supporters of the arts no matter what the state of the economy is.

What has been your favorite role in the theatre thus far in your career and why?
My favorite role has been General Partner on the Off-Broadway Production of ROOMS. I have learned so much from my Co-General Partners and we all bring different but important skill sets to the table. My background in Television/Film production has been a strong asset to our partnership. My other partners have experience in web development and production, international licensing, and audience development. The teamwork, passion, and commitment of all of the general partners has lead to the success of our show.

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
I love the Brooklyn Promenade. I often walk there to clear my head and relax after long days and weeks. It’s also a great place to people watch and see the Manhattan Skyline.

What is your favorite shop?
My new favorite shop is Michelle New York at 376 Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn. I bought my dress for opening night of ROOMS there and the owner Michelle was so sweet and attentive. I told her what I was looking for and she found me the perfect dress. I love supporting local businesses in Brooklyn.

What is your favorite drink?
Sam Adams Beer. I am from Boston and love ordering a Sam Adams beer and telling the bartender that I am a huge Sox, Celtics, and Patriots fan! I left my Boston accent at home but not my loyalty to Boston brands.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Lobo on Court Street in Brooklyn. I love their brunch menu and they have a great backyard garden.

What is your favorite NYC book?
The Nanny Diaries. It’s ridiculously hilarious.

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
Seeing an Off-Broadway or Broadway show! There is something special about seeing a show in NYC that you can’t experience anywhere else.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Overrated: The sports teams. Underrated: that New Yorkers are fast paced all the time. You can slow it down if you want. Most of us just don’t want to!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I sing a fun version of Wanted Dead or Alive in Karaoke Bars throughout NYC. Watch out!

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

Back to TOP