Photography by Jeff Code
"Gee, I sound like the most boring person in the entire world," Garrett Hurd thought as he made his way through the Coverboy Confidential interview for his original Nightlife appearance just a couple of months ago. "Whatever question comes up next," Garrett said to himself, "I'm just going to give some kind of 'ka-pow' answer that makes me sound controversial and interesting."
So, in response to a query about seeing a famous historical figure in the buff, Garrett became known as the Coverboy who wants to travel back in time to see Jesus naked.
"I really don't have much of a desire to see Jesus naked," Garrett laughs, flashing the same warm, winning smile he used as a defense against the friendly (and extensive) ribbing he received for suggesting Christ must have been a hottie.
Not that 28-year-old Garrett is the type to shy away from public attention. Otherwise, you probably wouldn't find the Wisconsin native on stage for seven performances a week in the revue Naked Boys Singing! now playing at Source Theatre. "I lap up my solo moments," Garrett says unabashedly. "The time I'm in the spotlight is the time I treasure most in the show."
While clearly enjoying his first acting gig, Garrett explains that performing isn't something he wants to try and build a life around. Instead, it's part of a break he's given himself in order to regroup after an especially stressful period spent in another new field: teaching.
After a bout of tendonitis sidelined his budding career as a professional violist, Garrett moved from Boston to Washington last year, where he joined Teach for America, an AmeriCorps program designed to address public school teacher shortages in impoverished areas. While he'd trained in The Bronx teaching 7th graders in summer school, Garrett's local placement for the 2001-02 school year found him confronted by a classroom full of struggling first-graders in Southeast D.C.
"The kids brought so many things they had to deal with before they could even begin to think about being students," he says. "And they were distracted by everything." Their disadvantages away from school, Garrett soon discovered, were manifested in ways ranging from shutting down, to temper tantrums, to hurting other kids. After a year, Garrett knew he had to move on.
He hopes to return to the viola (the larger, lower-ranged cousin to the violin), which he studied both as an undergraduate at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and as a graduate student at Northwestern University in Chicago. But Garrett knows he needs a generous amount of practice time to return to a level of proficiency that can earn him an orchestral position similar to his work in Boston.
Following his run in Naked Boys Singing! (the show closes January 26), Garrett plans to focus on becoming a personal trainer, and perhaps a massage therapist, which will allow his schedule to be flexible enough for viola practice. And he'll chalk up his experience as a Nightlife Coverboy of the Year finalist to one of those unexpected adventures along the way in a serendipitous life.
Runner Up Prize Package
1409 Playbill Café -- $25 Dinner Certificate
17th Street Bar & Grill -- Brunch for 2 (up to $40)
18th & U Duplex Diner -- Dinner for 2 (see ad in this magazine on page 37)
Apex -- 5 Complimentary Admission Passes
Arena Stage -- One Pair of Tickets Good for Any Show for the Duration of the Season (some restrictions apply)
ATLAS/Lizard Lounge -- Lizard Lounge $50 Hospitality Voucher; Selection of Mixed CDs by Lizard Lounge Resident DJ Kostas
Cobalt -- $25 Bar Tab & VIP Membership Card
DC Eagle -- $25 Bar Tab
Empire Video -- 10 Free Rentals
Follies -- $50 Gift Certificate for Merchandise
Green Lantern/Tool Shed -- $25 Bar Tab
Hamburger Mary's -- Dinner for 2
Infusion -- $25 Gift Certificate
JR.'s -- $25 Bar Tab
Leather Rack -- $35 Gift Certificate
Loews Cineplex -- 4 Movie Passes
Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend 2003 -- A pair of tickets to Reaction and Return the Beat Around (Official Leather Weekend Dances)
Omega DC -- 10 Free Drink Tickets
Studio Theatre -- 2 Tickets to Shakespeare's Villians: A Masterclass in Evil starring Steven Berkoff (Jan. 16-Feb. 2)
Universal Gear -- $25 Gift Certificate
Washington Plaza/International Bar -- $50 Food/Beverage Gift Certificate
Wet -- $25 Bar Tab
Ziegfeld's/Secrets -- $25 Gift Certificate