No One Else Onstage

2016 Inver grad Holly Butler pursues her acting dream

Holly Butler, 19, of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, began her acting career playing a peasant in a 6th grade production of Cinderella. “I had one line,” she recalled with a smile, “and I blanked.”
Botching that one line did nothing to thwart Holly’s inevitable love for theatre. She followed up with more roles in middle school. She played a wildly energetic little boy in Twain’s Tales, a slew of characters in The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon, and a nerd named “Pickles” in the musical Pom Pom Zombies.  At Park High School, she portrayed the goose that lays a dud egg in a children’s show production of Charlotte’s Web. Holly found herself captivated by the experience of immersing herself in a character.
“I love becoming someone else entirely when I’m acting,” she said. “When I feel that happening, I melt away and there’s no one else onstage.”
Holly showed up for her interview limping slightly and holding her side. She had cracked up her Honda Rebel, but never thought twice about postponing. That energy and moxie are part of what makes her performances so memorable. When asked to name three words to describe herself as a person, she chose “optimistic, magnetic and compassionate,” all traits that make her stronger as an actor.

Holly Butler in character

In 2013, Holly started at Inver Hills Community College as a high school senior thanks to Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO). She soon found a home in the Theatre department at the college, finding the environment exceptionally welcoming.
“Theatre people are so loving and caring,” she said. “They don’t care about your background. You become part of a family.”
Holly went on to act in several college productions, including:

  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
    • Played “a crazy”
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged
    • Numerous parts, including “Juliet” and “Lavinia”
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • Played “Peaseblossom,” a fairy
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
    • Played “the giant’s wife”
  • Harvey
    • Played “Myrtle Mae Simmons,” aka M & M, maybe her favorite role
  • An Enemy of the People
    • Played “Hovstad”

In her last role at Inver Hills Theatre, Holly portrayed “Grusmella Dingbat Jones,” a witch, in the children’s show production of Rapunzel and the Frog Prince. “Mystical creatures—witches, elves, fairies—are the most fun to play,” she said. “They have the most interesting personalities. Elphaba, the bad witch from Wicked, is the role I most want to play at the moment.”

George Roesler, Inver Hills Theatre faculty, directed Holly in Rapunzel, Harvey and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. George enjoyed working with Holly, noting that she was always fun to have in his cast.
“Holly is very dynamic and exceedingly bright,” he said. “She works very hard and is an explosive performer. She did an especially wonderful job as Myrtle Mae in Harvey. The 1960s look worked for her and she really captured the character. She sparkled and dominated in her scenes.”
Holly’s graduating from Inver Hills in May 2016 with an Associate of Arts (A.A.). She’s attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the fall. She looks forward to becoming involved in the Stage and Screen Arts department and University Theatre. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she’s heading for Hollywood to find an agent and launch her professional acting career.
“Tom Hanks is the actor who has influenced me the most,” Holly said. “That would be a dream come true if I got the chance to work with him. He was incredible in Castaway. You’re tied to him every moment—I can’t think of another actor who could pull that off.”
Holly likes living in Cottage Grove, but she’s excited about taking up dorm life at UWRF. She has one sister, Chelsea, 22, a certified nursing assistant in Woodbury, and one brother, Zach, 25, serving in the U.S. Air Force. She also has three dogs, a German shepherd-Keeshond mix named Pepper, a black lab-greyhound mix called Blackjack, or B.J., and a virtually Australian shepherd named Indie, short for Indiana Jones. She also has a cat, Stitches, who’s a mix of breeds. Besides acting, Holly loves playing soccer, ice skating and taking midnight walks in the summer. Plan on seeing her in the near future in a theater near you.

Holly Butler | 21 Answers

  1. Favorite season: Summer
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Niagara Falls
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Soccer 
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Bald eagle
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Italy
  6. Favorite female actor: Sandra Bullock
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Wolf
  8. Favorite male actor: Tom Hanks
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: Five Finger Death Punk
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Human interaction
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Human interaction
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Friends
  14. Favorite all-time movie: Castaway
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Happiness
  16. Most precious material possession: My grandmother made me a quilt when I was a baby
  17. First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: College education for my sister and brother
  18. Dream occupation: Hollywood actor
  19. Person you would most like to meet: Tom Hanks
  20. Skill (other than acting) you would most like to learn and master: Sign language
  21. Toughest issue facing humankind: Hatred
To learn more about the Theatre department and the A.F.A. in Theatre at Inver Hills, contact:

George Roesler
Theatre Faculty
Office: Fine Arts 148

Holly Butler as Grusmella in Rapunzel
Holly Butler as Grusmella in Rapunzel

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