Arts & Entertainment

Local actor finds his niche in theater community

David Reece Hutchison speaks up about acting and coming out.

David Reece Hutchison has been cast in multiple traditionally female roles—but he doesn’t mind.

“Being able to speak words that were meant for a female is really great,” he said. “I find it liberating. I have no restrictions in my mind. It’s why I love theater.”

Hutchison has previously played Juliet in Mauckingbird Theatre’s 2013 production of Joe Calarco’s “Shakespeare’s R&J.” This past January, Hutchison, 24, was cast as Henriette in Ranjit Bolt’s “The Sisterhood,” a modern adaptation of Moliere’s “The Learned Ladies.”

Though he said directors embrace his diverse features and abilities, it was a long time before he was able to accept himself.

In grade school, Hutchison was bullied for his feminine features. Looking back on his classmate’s comments, Hutchison realized how confusing it was to be made fun of for who he was, because he wasn’t even sure who that person was yet, he said.

“When I came out, I was 23,” he said. “I had had two decades of my life to figure out my interests and hobbies. What was important to me as a human being. When it came to coming out, it wasn’t like being gay dictated everything. I felt like I just knew more about myself, so being gay just added to the list of ‘Who is David?’”

Born and raised in Shelton, Connecticut, Hutchison knew he wanted to be an actor since high school. During the week, he spent half of his school day at ACES Educational Center of the Arts, feeding his love for theater and developing his skills.

“I remember falling in love with the poetry of Tennessee Williams in ‘The Glass Menagerie,’” he said. “It was one of the first really well-made plays that I was introduced to and read as a young adult. I just gravitated towards it and loved it.”

Hutchison’s dream of being a professional actor was almost lost with the cost of tuition at University of the Arts, and his father’s disapproval, despite the support of his mother and sister.

“For a while, I felt like I had to prove myself to him that I could do this,” Hutchison said. “When I came to UArts, he would refuse to co-sign loans for me to go to college. I didn’t know how I was going to go to school. It was silly that I had to prove myself to my dad because he was a [retired graphic] artist himself and I didn’t get that support from him.”

Hutchison was determined to achieve his goals and follow his heart, despite his father’s reservations.

“I honestly quite frankly didn’t give a f–k,” he added. “I just wanted to do theater. That’s where my passion is. And I believed in myself enough that I could do it and I am doing it.”

“Working with David is fantastic,” said Kevin Murray, a 2015 musical theater alumnus. “He brings such a high level of integrity, professionalism and passion to his work that it is contagious and raises the level of everyone in the room. He gives 110 percent at every rehearsal and it is a pleasure to perform with him.”

After graduating college in 2013, Hutchison’s positive attitude and ambition kept him optimistic about finding work in the city—and he’s been holding himself at a “much higher standard,” he said.

“I refuse to take unpaid work, I refuse to audition for unpaid work,” he said. “As a 24-year-old, I hold myself to that high standard. And, knock on wood, I am doing OK so far.”

“He is a very talented, versatile actor, disciplined and truthful, with a distinctive elegance and  wonderful sense of comic timing,” said associate theater professor Donna Snow, who worked on “The Sisterhood” with Hutchison.

Despite his success, Hutchison has reservations—he fears he’ll never be cast for the stereotypical male lead that many theater companies look for.

“Sometimes I honestly feel like I’m not masculine enough,” Hutchison said. “And I feel like that works against me in some ways. I think it’s just something that I have to work harder on as an actor. I feel people sometimes don’t see more than just me playing a gay character.”

Today, Hutchison’s main goal is to stay true to himself. By this time next year, he hopes to apply for graduate programs at theater schools like New York University or Yale University. He hopes to obtain an MFA from a top program.

“And I want to be the working actor that you open the playbill and you see their bio, and you look at their resume and it’s very impressive,” he said.

“It is a lot of trial and error,” Hutchison added. “’What do you really want? Who are you as a person?”

Katelyn Evans can be reached at katelyn.evans@temple.edu.

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