CRESTVIEW — The Orlando Sentinel's drama critic wasn't overly impressed with the University of Central Florida's recent production of Steve Martin's comedy, "The Underpants."
Except for one performance, by a Crestview High School alumnus who is pursuing is bachelor's in fine arts in theater at the university.
See photo gallery of Hinton's UCF performances>>
"Only Jesse Hinton, who gave a solid dramatic performance in last season's 'Good Boys and True,' gets a chance to shine," Matt Palm wrote.
"It's the type of flamboyant farcical role ... that requires an actor to dive in without fear. Hinton does just that and deservedly scores the night's biggest laughs."
The 2011 CHS grad, who had previously stamped his talent for character acting on his hometown audiences, started snaring lead roles almost upon arrival on the Theatre UCF stage.
This accomplishment peeved his roommate, said Jesse's dad, Paul Hinton, First United Methodist Church’s contemporary worship director.
"Many of the students wait long periods of time to get a part in one of the plays but Jesse has had a major or lead role every semester and even a summer session," Paul Hinton said.
"His roommate had a hard time with Jesse's progress because he would try out for the same stuff and get nothing. He finally started getting parts this past year, thank God."
Jesse's success doesn't surprise Annette Gebhardt, Crestview High's drama teacher and Thespian Society adviser, of which Jesse was president.
"Some of it is a natural gift, but some of it is something you can't teach," she said. "You either have it or you don't — and he has it. He not only has natural talent, but he works hard at it to continually improve himself."
In the director's chair
UCF faculty members also have noticed Jesse's talent. His performance in last semester’s "Good Boys and True” was nominated for the Irene Ryan Award for Acting, earning him a spot in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. There, he won Best Comedic Actor.
"He is easily one of the best and most talented students I have had the pleasure of working with after teaching theatre for over 25 years," UCF associate theater professor Mark Brotherton said. "As an actor, he is courageous, committed and gifted."
Brotherton named Jesse his assistant director for the school's November production, "Shipwrecked! An Entertainment."
"I believe he has an imagination that is endless and will help establish the optimal environment for creative work," Brotherton said.
"Jesse has done his hometown proud!" Palm said in an email.
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.