Thursday, April 18, 2024

“Fat Bitch” Director Proves She’s Beyond Labels When Talking About “Never Been Kissed” Musical Parody

Emma Hunton’s voice is practically gone.

The director of Rockwell Table & Stage’s “Never Been Kissed: The Unauthorized Musical” overdid her cheering and screaming on opening night of the musical parody. Obviously, she’s happy with the results – and it seems the audience was too.

Emma and I were suppose to talk about the show playing at Rockwell through Feb. 23, but I sidetracked the conversation.

Seems Emma, one of the stars of the excellent TV series “Good Trouble,” had a standout episode last week about being body positive and that really hit a chord with me as a big hairy man in the gay community. (We’re called bears in case you didn’t know.)

Emma’s storyline about being fat made me immediate relate to her and welcome her into the bear world. But what should she be called? Technically, a female bear is a sow like the word for pig – but that doesn’t sound as positive as the point her TV character was trying to get across. So rather then worrying about labels, we decided she’s just one of us.

Until Emma sang the song “Fat Bitch” on “Good Trouble,” I never really thought of her as a big girl. But she did point out in Hollywood standards, she is. “When I see these so called thin girls in person and see how tiny they really are,” she says, “I have zero problem being the big fat girl.”

But she’s happy how some progress has been made in body images in entertainment. “Every body size is beautiful,” she says, pointing out that the doors are opening up more for representation of all kinds of body in a world that is going in the direction where size doesn’t matter.

Sure when she was a tad younger, she was often thought of for roles like Tracy in “Hairspray,”‘ but she didn’t jump at taking parts like that as she hopes to originate roles – like she did in the wonderful “Freaky Friday” musical a few years. We also discussed how it seems there are more and more live theatre and TV shows as well as movies that are starting to use various sized actors, which not only is a better representation of society but they are casting shows where they don’t need cast bigger people as the fat friend but other roles as well.

Back to her current show…Emma has been in several shows as an actor at Rockwell including “Clueless” and “Cruel Intentions.” It’s from those experiences, and previously directing “A League of Their Own” for the theatre company that she feels very comfortable directing “Never Been Kissed.”

Surprisingly, she’s not nervous about directing a show that partially takes place in the audience and there are servers all around delivering food and drinks. She’s gotten very familiar with the space from past experiences that she knew how to stage it at Rockwell.

A fan of the movie, Emma didn’t actually decide to direct this musical parody. “I only have a certain amount of time off from ‘Good Trouble’ and I let them know that I wanted to direct the spring musical.” And this is it.

But she’s thrilled by the choice. She thinks that writer Jordan Ross Schindler has made some of the outdated parts of the movie script funny and he brilliantly walks a thin line of appropriateness of the love story between a teacher and student (who actually is an adult but the teacher doesn’t know it).

Emma’s passion for the show and her success in other roles have endeared me to the actor/director that I can’t even call her Hunton (which a writer should do starting with the second reference). But with her, it’s got to be just Emma. We’ve gone beyond that as she’s a welcome member to my bear den. And it’s not due to her size as what some might call the “big girl.” It’s more for the size of her heart and her acceptance of people – and roles – of any size.

Catch “Never Been Kissed: The Unauthorized Musical”  before it goes. Get tickets and information at

Also check out “Good Trouble” on cable TV on the Freeform channel which also can be streamed on the Freeform app, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and Sling, among others.

Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for and contributes to as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."

Kevin M. Thomas has 156 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin M. Thomas

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