I constantly had professionals help me and guide me through everyday real life , learning how to be a real person and an artist at the same time . If you can learn how to manage that balancing act in middle school and high school , life is a piece of cake .
Sherman : Mentorship is incredibly important . Can you tell me about the mentors that helped you get to where you are today ?
Hoff : I had several key mentors in my life : Don and Bonnie Ward and Ole Kittleson . They were the ones who told me , “ Yes , you can — and you will ,” when I was afraid of doing a time step . They were the ones who taught me about the craft and discipline of the theatre and how that translates into your formation as a person . There was a sense of mutual respect and responsibility that came with working with a team . Stepping into the spotlight and leading , but not doing it independently of the team around you . I found many parallels with sports , as well . It was very important not only in my formation , but all the way through my Broadway career and my current career . It ’ s all about collaboration and cooperation .
Sherman : Let ’ s talk about the transition from your teenage years to your Broadway career . The Who ’ s Tommy was a big show . It won a GRAMMY ® with its platinumselling cast album , and it brought rock back to Broadway . Tell me about your audition for that show .
Hoff : I didn ’ t have a ukulele like I did in my first childhood audition , but I had a guitar . I walked into the room at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles . I saw Des McAnuff , Pete Townshend , Wayne Cilento , and the entire creative team . I sang “ The Long and Winding Road ” and “ Get Back ” by The Beatles in a medley . I turned heads , and I established myself as a contender .
Sherman : What was the process like when you were working with them on the show at the La Jolla Playhouse and then on Broadway ?
This Column : Hanna-Barbera ’ s Richie Rich ; The Who ’ s Tommy on Broadway ; The Playbill for Broadway ’ s Jersey Boys ; Christian as Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys Opposite Column : Christian on TONY ® Night ; The cover of The Midtown Men ’ s First Album ; Christian in Concert ; A poster for The Midtown Men
Hoff : We had projections . We had articulated stages . We had pyrotechnics . We had a new way of storytelling . That process took a lot of creative collaboration . The automated Broadway that we know now came to be through The Who ’ s Tommy .