Hunter Houston Bell is an American book author and one of the stars of the musical [title of show].
Bell was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and was raised in Wilson, North Carolina until the seventh grade, when he moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Hunter is a graduate of Webster University in St. Louis. He moved to New York City in 1993, and currently resides there.

Like many actors, Hunter Bell began his career with smaller regional theater productions. Some notable credits include his appearance in the Ensemble of the 1999 Paper Mill Production of Rags, as a Performer in the Chester, Connecticut 2002 World Premiere production of Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, and as George in a 2003 Musicals in Mufti Concert production of Oh, Boy!

Hunter Bell rose to stardom because of his work on, and appearance in, the musical [title of show], for which he wrote the book, alongside Jeff Bowen, who wrote the music and lyrics. The project first appeared in the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2004, and played on Broadway until it closed in October 2008.

Prior to the Broadway opening of [title of show], Hunter Bell appeared in two other Broadway productions. The first was as a Dogette in a 2006 benefit concert of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the second as a citizen of Whoville in the 2007 staging of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

On Jeanuary 9, 2011, Hunter and Susan Blackwell held a Die Vampire, Die! Workshop. The song "Die Vampire, Die!" from the Broadway musical [title of show] — originally at Vineyard Theatre — defines a vampire as "any person, thought, or feeling that stands between you and your creative self expression." He and Susan returned to The Vineyard with their nationally renowned workshop, where they invite writers and performers to identify and nurture their creative ideas.

Writing Credits

  • Book for [title of show]
  • Book for Silence! The Musical
  • Book for the 137th edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Bellobration!
  • Book for "Villains Tonight!" produced on the Disney Cruise Line.
  • BC/EFA's Easter Bonnet competition.
  • The Actors' Fund 125th Gala
  • The Vineyard Theatre's 25th Anniversary Gala
  • Broadway Bares 18: Wonderland
  • The 53rd Annual Drama Desk Awards

Awards/Nominations

For work on [title of show]:

  • 2006 Obie Award -- special citation
  • GLAAD Media Award nomination
  • Drama League Award nomination for the whole cast
  • 2009 Tony Award nomination best book of a musical

Interview with Hunter in Playbill

I don't know if [title of show] is too clever for the common man, but my mother did wonder why I had mistakenly left out the title of the show in my interview with [title of show]'s Jeff Bowen last month, until I told her that [title of show] was actually the title of the show. Once she got it, however, we had a good laugh. Now, for more good laughs: I spoke to the other half of [show]'s dynamic duo, Hunter Bell. Roughly the Gracie Allen to Bowen's George Burns, the Tuscaloosa-born Bell ("I still say 'y'all' even though I've been here 15 years"), who calls himself a natural hambone, was last on Broadway inThe Grinch and has written for Ringling Brothers. Has his life become a circus since the show opened? Let's see.

Question: One month in, how are you enjoying Broadway stardom? 
Hunter Bell: [Laughs.] It's going great. After the opening, which was as amazing as it gets, it is fun to be settled into the run. So far, so good!

Q: You're not burned out yet? 
Bell: Not yet, call me in another week and I'll be all jaded, just really calling out sick a lot…[Laughs.] It's a total dream to be on Broadway, and to have something that we created is another part that adds to the amazing-ness, and to get to do it with my friends, it doesn't get any better than this, truly.

Q: Have you enjoyed the responses you've been getting from Broadway crowds? 
Bell: A month into it, audiences have been really supportive and really diverse, and my hope is that that continues. There was a group of women from Texas the other day who were like, "We just wanted to see something different. We didn't know what this was, and we loved it."

Q: What do you say to people who feel like there are insider jokes and references in the show that might go over people's heads? 
Bell: I think the interesting thing is — and audiences hopefully will prove this — that people have been coming and having a great time who are not of the theatre, who just want to come and see a great show and see something original and new and different. Are there inside references? Totally. Do they cheat an audience from knowing what's going on or having a great evening? I'm hard-pressed to think that because somebody doesn't know who Betty Buckley is that it sends them spiraling and they just shut down completely. The people that accuse it of being insider-y are on the inside, and we get a lot of, "Well, I love it, but there's no way anybody else will get it." It's interesting that somebody can't stop with, "I love it." I think it speaks to the fact that Jeff and I did not set out to write an obscure, insider musical. We set out to tell our story, and it was about two guys writing about musical theatre. I've said before, if we were baseball fanatics, we'd be writing about statistics and talking about games. My brother is a television sports producer. Friends of his were here last night. They work producing NBA games and baseball games. They don't know about Mary Stout, but they do know about the bigger themes that resonate: how hard it is putting your stuff out there and achieving your dreams. People are smart. They have the internet. We got a letter from a kid in Iowa. He said he's coming to see the show in October, and he watches all our clips on youtube. The internet has changed what information is available. The New York Times is online. Playbill.com is online. You can read an update every day about David Hyde Pierce. It's not limited to the tri-state area. The internet has changed the game about what people's knowledge is. People are smart everywhere is what I tend to believe.

Q: Some of the heavier moments in the show, the battles you guys get in when you adapt the show for Broadway, how real are those? 
Bell: It's interesting. I had a great writing teacher, Lynda Barry, who wrote, "The Good Times Are Killing Me," and she had this great word to describe her work: autobiofictionography. And, that sounds like us a little bit. There were things that were heightened and condensed because we wanted to write a musical comedy, not a documentary. That being said, everything you see onstage came out of seeds of stress. It was inflated a little bit because I tend to think we've had a lot of therapy, and we really respect each other as collaborators and peers. Rarely would we just storm out of a room or fight. That's a little bit heightened because it's fun to watch onstage. I don't know if it is as fun or interesting to watch people calmly, collectedly, respect each other, but the seeds of what you see are absolutely true. The questions of do we belong on Broadway, do we need to change to fit people's preconceived notion of what a Broadway musical is... I think what you don't see in the show is that all of us shared those fears. Sometimes Jeff would have them, sometimes I would. For the purposes of [title of show], the musical, what you see on stage has been heightened.

Q: Jeff told me you guys were invited to game night at Joanna Gleason's. How did that turn out? 
Bell: We haven't gone yet, but in my mind I hope we will be re-enactingInto the Woods while we barbecue chicken. That's my goal. Then we'll move into a came of Celebrity. Although, what is a game of Celebrity like when you actually play with celebrities? But that's been amazing, the icing on the icing on the icing on the cake. Joanna Gleason has been a hero of mine. I came up to New York and saw Into the Woods with her in it. To have people whose work rocked your world and blew your mind, to have them come to see your work and get to meet them…Normally I would be at the stage door with a Playbill and a sharpie — and I still am — but to talk to them about their work and how they influenced you. From Joanna Gleason to Andrea Martin to Bob Martin to Des McAnuff to John Kander, the list goes on and on. Bill Irwin was at the show the other night and sent back a nice note. That blows my mind. That's part of the walking dream.

Q: It must be tempting to find a way to write such moments into the show. 
Bell: Peter Gallagher came to the show the other night. Now, for an opening-night gift, Ken Billington, who designed our lights with Jason Kantrowitz, gave Jeff a Grind show jacket and me an A Doll's Life show jacket. I think they had been in Ken's closet until the opportunity came for the right people to pass them on to. So Peter Gallagher came to the show, and I ran up to him with my A Doll's Life jacket, and so many things came together in that moment! He was like, "Where the hell did you get that?"