Anyone who can host 10 live shows in 28 hours deserves a nickname like Animal.
That’s what the family of Toronto actor, comedian and cabaret performer Shawn Hitchins named him when he was growing up.
Sitting over coffee, the red-haired, bright-blue-eyed 30-year-old radiates positive energy as he recalls his own childhood in Egypt, Ont., just south of Lake Simcoe. It’s not that far from Toronto, but it’s a world away in other respects.
He certainly would never have imagined that he would, one day, be leading 10 free, family-friendly singalongs to clips of famous movie musicals at the Tiff Lightbox Feb. 20 and 21.
Hitchins earned his nickname from the crazed puppet percussionist on The Muppet Show.
“I was that kid who would go up to a vase and my mother would say ‘Shawn James, don’t touch that,’ and I would smash it,” he recalls with a wicked smile. Young Shawn was such a handful that his parents had to resort to extreme measures to keep him from getting into trouble in his preschool days.