What do Pabbie in Frozen and The Strong Man in The Greatest Showman have in common? Undeniable strength and a pair of impressively long eyelashes belonging to Timothy Hughes. Regularly, I am reinforcing the Fit for Broadway mission extends past physical strength. Timothy is no exception and proof of the greatest lesson I have learned through years of research; Physical strength begets mental strength and a deep unwavering connection to one’s inner power. Timothy’s strength is balanced with grace, openness and courage. A true yin and yang example of living life Fit for Broadway!
Note from Timothy: Hey, my name is Timothy Hughes and I’m currently playing Pabbie in Frozen on Broadway! I also can be seen as the Strongman in The Greatest Showman, and made my debut in Chaplin: The Musical. I’m a born and raised Wisconsin boy who made his way to the big apple to study drama at NYU. I enjoy movies, reading, and being a proud uncle to my amazing nieces and nephews! It is the thrill of a lifetime being a part of the Broadway community.
Q: Timothy! You have had quite the year on Broadway and beyond! Can you catch us up on your journey and what led you to where you are now?
A: It has been quite a year! I wouldn’t be here without the tremendous support system I have in my life! I feel very lucky to be where I am, and I do believe it takes an element of luck in show business, but I’ve also worked very hard. As a boy growing up in the Midwest, it’s impossible to know how I would compare in NYC, but I’ve always known I loved theater and music, and I think an unwavering trust in pursuing my passion as a career helped me get to where I am today.
Q: You were The Strong Man in The Greatest Showman and now Pabbie, Leader of the Hidden Folk in Frozen The Broadway Musical. Both of these roles require incredible strength. How have health and fitness evolved over the last few years and especially in the last year?
A: There’s no denying that fitness played a factor in how I got these parts. I was asked to get “as strong as I could” in two months for the movie, which is a daunting task, and I really had to train hard for the first time in my life. The greatest part is that I feel like I learned so much about my body’s needs from the training and now it has become a lifestyle that I really enjoy. Now, with an 8 show week schedule, I feel lucky to have a regimented health and fitness routine to rely on to help keep me feeling strong and balanced. Sure, there are still very difficult days and moments when staying in bed sounds better than stretching out with some yoga, but I mentally and physically know that I’ll feel better after the fitness. I’ve seen results from working really hard to achieve fitness goals and I’ve found I trust the process more now.
Q: What was the greatest lesson you learned through the process of readying your body for these roles?
A: Changing your body in a drastic but healthy way takes time. I knew I wanted to gain muscle for the movie, but I didn’t want to bulk up so much that I’d restrict my dancing and effect my mobility. So I still stretched all the time and continue to. It took longer to see drastic changes and build mass, but now when I see pictures, I realize my body has drastically changed without me really noticing.
I also learned that my body responded well to changing up my training. I committed to a couple of different methods of training in those first months and now I draw a little bit from all of them within a week’s workout routine. It works best for me when I’m surprising my body with different workouts.
Q: What is the most common misconception about being “Fit for Broadway”?
A: I don’t think anyone can truly understand the many facets of what it means to be “fit for broadway” until they’re on an 8 shows a week schedule for months on end. The average audience goer may recognize the difficult note to sing, or a very athletic dance, but they probably aren’t considering that other note is difficult to sing because you just danced that athletic dance number, quick changed into a new costume, and it is the second time you’ve done it all that day!
Q: Top 3 tips for maintaining physical strength?
- Diversify your work outs
Q: Top 3 tips for maintaining mental strength?
- Remember the power of breathing
- Perspective is a choice
Q: Do you have any holistic practices to stay #BalancedOnBroadway?
A: I try and go to weekly acupuncture. Yoga. And making it a priority to reconnect with nature.
Q: Top 5 products, companies or brands that are shaping your lifestyle right now.
- Gliding Disks! Those purple disks at the gym. My new favorite core strengthening exercise.
- Ayla Yavin Acupuncture
- Think Thin protein bars, but I’m definitely open to better suggestions!
- Resistance bands. They’re my favorite addition to the dressing room.
Q: Fill in the blanks…
A: The best workout for Broadway is_ whatever makes you feel confident and energized. I love a High Intensity Interval Training day when I have one show, but probably not the best idea for me before two shows.
My favorite recovery day includes_ Netflix and Indian food.
The best post workout snack is_ Greek yogurt, granola, protein bar, a banana.
The best energy booster is_ water, especially in the morning!
Q: Any other tips for performers who may be preparing themselves for similar roles?
A: For anyone trying to build muscle, I’d say be patient and determined. In terms of acting/singing/dancing, I’d say make sure you’re investing enough time and energy on yourself and your skillset.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: My Family. My boyfriend. My cast mates.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway, TV and film?
A: Listen and trust your passion and instincts. Take the time to learn and discover what makes you unique and use that to the best of your advantage.
Q: BROADWAY INSPIRES ME TO BE ________.
A: Broadway inspires me to be generous. I’m inspired to share the best of my abilities with my coworkers and an audience. It inspires me to share love with everyone at the St. James Theater and everyone who is a part of the Frozen family. I feel lucky that the work I do as an actor is so openly celebrated by friends and family, and it inspires me to do the same for other people in my life who may not get to experience that as frequently in their lives.
Photos & Interview by Jane Jourdan.