Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of internet sensation Todrick Hall. Viral YouTube videos? Check. Collaboration with Pentatonix? Check. Cameo in a Taylor Swift music video? Check. He can sing, he can dance, he can choreograph, and his mashups have definitely popped up in allll of your feeds.
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Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall, we get a behind-the-scenes look at Hall’s rise to fame, and the ups and downs that come with finding viral success. Plus, we learn all about the original musical Hall created, Straight Outta Oz.
Did we mention he’s just a little bit talented?!
We recently had a chance to ask Hall about his upcoming projects, his most memorable fan meetings, and the change he hopes to see in the world. Keep scrolling to get to know this creator.
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AwesomenessTV: The theme of Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall was heavily influenced by racist and anti-gay violence that was going on while you were filming. Was there originally a different vision in mind for the doc before production?
Todrick Hall: No, I think we had the vision already, but the events that took place only validated that we were in the right place and the right time and made everyone involved so much more excited to be a part of this project. We got to entertain, while also opening minds.
ATV: What has the response been to your documentary so far?
TH: The response has been overwhelming. It’s so cool for my friends, fans, and family to get to see what goes on behind these videos. An adjective everyone used to describe the documentary is “super-positive.”
ATV: The documentary touches on how you have inspired so many people in the LGBTQ community to embrace who they are. What’s it like having such a big impact on so many people? Any memorable stories from fans?
TH: It’s a bit overwhelming, but I accept the challenge of opening myself up to people and hoping that the things I do and the decisions I make naturally and organically can be a shining light for the people who follow me and look up to me and my team.
A very memorable story was that on my opening night of Kinky Boots on Broadway, a woman from Utah came to the show and said she had never experienced an energy like that in a broadway theatre. She then came back with her entire family less than a week later, because she said that her family had to experience the love and energy that was in that show.
ATV: What role did Pulse nightclub play in your life? After you heard about the shooting, how did that affect you?
TH: Pulse nightclub holds such a special place in my heart; I remember it being one of the first places where I felt that I was surrounded by people who look like me. I grew so much and made so many close friends in that nightclub. When I heard about the shooting, I was distraught. I couldn’t believe that the beautiful thing I once knew was no more. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families.
ATV: What kind of changes in the world do you hope to see 10 years from now?
TH: I hope that 10 years from now there won’t have to be a specific gay community. I’m all for gay clubs and gay celebrations specifically for the LGBTQ community, but I hope that kids won’t be bullied because being gay is such a normal and acceptable thing to be.
I hope that we become largely represented in mainstream media more often — not just as sidekicks or comedic relief, but as leading men. I pray that one day there will be children’s shows that feature gay characters and normalize what people think of when they hear the word gay, lesbian, or transgender.
ATV: A lot of the lyrics in Straight Outta Oz are very personal. What were your friends and families’ reactions when they first watched the musical?
TH: My friends and family were so proud of me for finally opening up my personal life to my fans. They also loved seeing themselves brought to life by actors and having songs written about them and our special personal memories.
ATV: What is your favorite song to perform from Straight Outta Oz?
TH: My favorite song to perform is, without a doubt, “Color.” I love that song so much. I think it’s my favorite song I’ve ever written, and the only one of my songs that I have on a playlist and I’m legit not embarrassed to listen to in front of other people. Sorry not sorry.
ATV: On the first night of your first ever Broadway show, walk us through what was running through your mind.
TH: I was so nervous. It was The Color Purple and my family was in the front row. It was my family’s first time in New York City, and I just kept thinking, “I don’t want to mess up, I want to show them that I belong on this stage” and “I want my mother to be so proud.” And she certainly was. I was also saying to myself internally, “I REALLY hope I get to meet Oprah!”
ATV: What was your reaction when you found out you got cast in Chicago? What are you most looking forward to?
TH: I was so stunned that they cast me as Billy Flynn. I’ve loved this show for so long and to get to bring this character to life on stage every night and give him a new flare is just a dream come true.
I’m looking forward to growing as an actor. I’m the furthest thing from a hot shot lawyer, and wearing wigs and heels has become my safety net oddly enough, so I’m excited to play a leading man on Broadway.
I’m so thankful that the producers of Chicago were able to look past my drag past and see something in me that I didn’t really see in myself.
ATV: You recently starred in Taylor Swift’s music video for “Look What You Made Me Do.” What was it like having to stay quiet about the video for so long? What were your friends’ reactions when they saw you in the video once it premiered?
TH: I’m the KING of all secrets, so it wasn’t super hard for me to keep it a secret. I respect Taylor so much, and saw how hard she was working on this project, so I was excited for the world to be surprised.
It was so much more rewarding than the news accidentally slipping. My friends were gagging, my timeline was flooded, and I couldn’t believe the love I got from my friends.
I was also shocked to see my name on Taylor’s shirt. I know she has a lot of friends that she’s been close to for a very long time, and the fact that she thought enough of me to put my name there was the sweetest gesture.
ATV: What do you think people would be surprised to know about Taylor Swift?
TH: That she is so kind. Every time I’m around her she’s always asking me if I need water or anything and then going and getting whatever I need herself. She has assistants I’m sure, but they’re usually not around and she’s the perfect host ALWAYS.
Also, she’s a great cook. I’m legit the pickiest eater on the planet and [with Taylor] I have to stop myself from being that guy who eats up all the food.
ATV: Name an iconic performance you wish was your own.
TH: I wish that I had written any of Ariana Grande’s songs. “Into You” is legit one of the best pop songs ever written in my opinion and her vocal performance of it was just flawless. Live performance, I would have to say anything Ben Platt has ever performed on Broadway.
ATV: What is a piece of advice you wish you had been given when you were younger?
TH: I wish I had been told more often to be just as grateful for bad situations as I am for the great ones. The most inspired I’ve ever been is when I’m going through a rough chapter in my life. Now, I look forward to drama, haters, negativity because it 100 percent of the time means something good is coming around the corner.