Conservatory of Performing Arts

2016 Musical Theatre Alumnus Peter Hughes is a Mainstage Performer for Disney Cruise Line

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pictured is 2016 musical theatre alumnus Peter Hughes. Photo | Jennifer Arfsten

Meet Peter Hughes

Current role: Mainstage Performer
EmployerDisney Cruise Line
Degree earnedB.F.A. in Musical Theatre
Minor: Dance 
Graduated: May 2016
Scholarship from Point ParkAcademic
Hometown: Basking Ridge, N.J.
High school: Ridge High School
Hobbies/interests: Dunkin’ Donuts, The Great British Bake Off, Meryl Streep and re-watching Tony award-winning performances on YouTube

How did you land your current job?

Pictured is alumnus Peter Hughes. Photo submitted by Hughes

Disney came to the Pittsburgh area holding open auditions for singers and dancers. I attended both of these calls and worked extensively with the casting directors, auditioning with material from their current repertoire of shows. After several follow-up callback submissions later, I was offered a contract with Disney Cruise Line the day before I graduated.

What are your key responsibilities as a mainstage performer for Disney?

As a mainstage performer with Disney Cruise Line, I take part in the number one entertainment company in the world. I bring to life some familiar Disney faces as well as sing and dance alongside the characters. I perform in three Broadway-style shows in the Walt Disney Theatre that highlight and include songs and characters from the classic and beloved Disney films. The Walt Disney Theatre is the 1,200 seat proscenium style theatre on board that is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and hosts myriad entertainment offerings. In addition, I am also involved in a variety of themed and holiday offerings that happen all around the ship. It is my job to ensure that each guest has unique and memorable interactions with the characters and shows that are offered during the course of their cruise.

What do you enjoy most about this role?

Working for Disney is truly a satisfying job for any performer to have. The high standards and production quality create magical moments that I am confident audiences carry with them for quite a while. The most rewarding part of my job is creating those experiences and the interactions I get to have with our audiences. Everyone has their favorite Disney movie, character, and song, so to bring them to life for those who are young and young at heart is truly fulfilling and gratifying as a performer.

"Point Park prepares triple threats. I found that in my audition with Disney, every aspect of my training was well tested. The ability to enter a room confidently, to learn a new song within minutes, and to keep your space while dancing, were just a few key components of my audition."

-- Peter Hughes


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How did your time at Point Park prepare you for this position?

Point Park prepares triple threats. I found that in my audition with Disney, every aspect of my training was well tested. The ability to enter a room confidently, to learn a new song within minutes, and to keep your space while dancing, were just a few key components of my audition. The esteemed faculty at Point Park teach a strong foundation for auditioning, focusing on maintaining a motivated and professional attitude. The classes offered through the Conservatory of Performing Arts directly reflect the demands of those that are found in professional rehearsals and performance.

What was one of your favorite experiences at Point Park?

One of my favorite memories at Point Park was being a swing for the Pittsburgh Playhouse’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone. It was the last show of my college career and was a valuable teaching lesson for me as well. I covered all of the boys in the ensemble, as well as understudy for several other supporting parts. It reminded me to always show up to rehearsal ready to work and remain consistently organized and focused. It was also directed by the one and only Jack Allison.

What inspired you to pursue a career in musical theatre? 

Growing up in New Jersey, I was fortunate enough to be a quick train ride away from New York City. I always knew I wanted to perform, so being able to see Broadway shows frequently was extremely rewarding for me.  

As actors we have a tremendous gift to tell stories. We pass along the opportunity for our audience to escape the daily realities for a few hours and focus on a story being told. My biggest inspiration is to pass along the joy of live theatre performance to the next generation of kids who buy the latest cast recordings and read Playbill articles daily. 

What advice do you have for students considering a career in musical theatre? 

My advice for students is to always be ready for new experiences with an open mind and a positive attitude. Although it may present challenges at times, push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Take a different dance class, go see a different style show, put down the phone and start a conversation. I find that new enriching experiences can help you down the road — both in performance and in your everyday life. 

Final thoughts?

Everyone has a different journey in this field. Always push yourself, ask questions along the way and pursue your passions. I am extremely proud to be a graduate of Point Park’s Conservatory of Performing Arts. 

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