Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dee Hoty

Dee Hoty, local celeb makes it BIG and pays back

What does Lakewood, Ohio, ‘MAMA MIA,’ Tony Award nominations, The Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Richard Oberlin, B. Neil Davis, Higbees, Clinique and the Cleveland Play House’s Annual Gala all have in common? The answer? Dee Hoty.

Dee Hoty, a native of Lakewood, who graduated from the local high school in 1970, is a major Broadway star. In a recent telephone interview, Hoty credited then Lakewood drama director B. Neil Davis and choral director Ulah Gilmore with infecting her with the theatre bug. She also shared that being the youngest child in her family inspired her to be an out-going, get attention type of kid. Her local roots are still present as her mother lives in Rocky River. Her dad, who is deceased, will be remembered for operating J.D. Hoty’s, a well known steak house on West 6th and Superior.

Hoty attended and graduated from Otterbein College in 1974. Shortly afterwards, she was hired by Great Lakes Theatre Festival, which at that time was housed at Lakewood High School, to appear in ‘MEASURE FOR MEASURE.’ She was seen there by Richard Oberlin of the Cleveland Play House and was retained as an acting apprentice.

How did she get to be a star? In her spare time from GLTF Dee sold Clinique products at Higbee’s Department Store, She asked for a transfer to the Big Apple, was trained at Lord and Taylor, bounced back and forth between Cleveland and New York in an attempt to get her Actors’ Equity card, and within two years she got her big break. First, a part in ‘BARNUM starring Stacey Keach,’ next ‘FORBIDDEN BROADWAY,’ then ‘PERSONALS,’ and she was on her way.

Dee went on to star in ‘MAMA MIA,’ both in NY and on tour. She was nominated for a Tony for her starring roles in ‘FOOTLOOSE,’ ‘THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE GOES PUBLIC,’ and ‘THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES.’ Other Broadway shows included ‘CITY OF ANGELS,’ ‘ME AND MY GIRL,’ ‘BIG RIVER,’ ‘THE FIVE O’CLOCK GIRL,’ and ‘SHAKESPEARE’S CABARET.’ She recently toured with Tommy Tune in ‘DOCTOR DOOLITTLE,’ which had a Cleveland run.

She has also been seen in film and television productions including, ‘AS THE WORLD TURNS,’ ‘GUIDING LIGHT,’ ‘ST. ELSEWHERE,’ ‘RYAN’S HOPE,’ ‘CRIMINAL INTENT,’ and ‘SPENSER: FOR HIRE.’

What advice does she have for the star-struck? “Go to college!” “Find out what you really want!” “You need to be grounded in more than just acting.” (This grounding is why she recommends college rather than the conservatory route.)

What’s in the future? She is in rehearsal for a production of ‘42nd STREET’ in St. Louis and, “there’s something in the works, but I’m not allowed to talk about it, yet.”

Hoty will be the featured entertainer at the Cleveland Play House’s annual benefit on June 6, performing in a one-woman entitled, ‘DE-LIGHTFUL, DE-LOVELY, DEE HOTY!’ Why the return to the area? “It’s my way of paying back CPH for the boost the organization gave me in the past.” For details about the benefit call 216-795-7000, extension 226.