Louis Hobson ’00 always seeks new challenges.
First, he wanted to become a professional actor.
After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University, Hobson worked in the Seattle theater scene for eight years. He landed his first professional gig in a production of “Camelot” at the 5th Avenue Theatre.
Then, Hobson wanted to perform on Broadway.
He built his résumé, trained hard and strived to improve. Then, in 2008, he moved to New York City. “It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime fairy tales,” Hobson said.
For his next act, Hobson is working to build a successful business. He has started his own production company, Indie Theatrical, which develops new musicals.
“We’re trying to innovate by looking at different ways to build business models in entertainment,” Hobson said. “It’s something rather novel to live entertainment and theater production.”
As the co-founder and president of Indie Theatrical, Hobson has traveled throughout the United States, across Asia and to parts of Europe. The company’s production of “Tenors of Rock” is headlining at Harrah’s in Las Vegas.
“I’ve dedicated my life to the arts and giving artists, entertainers and performers a voice, and an opportunity to do their work,” Hobson said. “It’s been a crazy wild ride and I’ve racked up hundreds of thousands of airline miles.”
Hobson’s days are filled with endless emails and phone calls as he works to develop shows for certain markets and audience venues. “We research what the audience is going to love,” he said.
Despite his busy schedule running a production company, Hobson still finds time to act. He was in the pilot episode of the television show “Man in the High Castle,” as well as a handful of films. Most recently, he acted in the Oscar-nominated film “Captain Fantastic” starring Viggo Mortensen.
Hobson also is an accomplished stage actor.
Shows he’s been in have been nominated collectively for a few dozen Drama Desk awards, which recognize excellence in New York theater productions, as well as 20 Tony Awards.
“Next to Normal,” the show Hobson auditioned for two days after arriving on the East Coast, earned 11 of those Tony nominations. It won three, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
“It’s widely regarded as one of the great musicals of the century so far,” Hobson said. “I’ve been very lucky to be involved in projects that are great and have been well received.”
“I produce and I act and I write and I direct. I don’t know if I would be doing those things if it wasn’t for the opportunity PLU afforded me.”
– Louis Hobson ’00
During his stint in the Big Apple, Hobson also performed in a handful of other productions: “Bonnie and Clyde,” “The People in the Picture” and “Leap of Faith.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of wonderful people over the years,” he said. After a few years in New York, Hobson returned to the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Tacoma with his family — his wife, Noreen (McEntee) ’99, and their three children — and worked for a theater company in Seattle before starting Indie Theatrical.
Hobson, who double majored in music and theatre, was very involved in both programs at PLU. He sang in the Choir of the West and helped create Night of Musical Theatre, an annual, student-produced musical revue.
Hobson said his liberal arts education at PLU taught him “how to learn,” providing him skills he continues to carry throughout his career.
“There was an atmosphere of make your own way and find things you like to do,” Hobson said of PLU. “I produce and I act and I write and I direct. I don’t know if I would be doing those things if it wasn’t for the opportunity PLU afforded me.”
Jeff Clapp, associate professor of theatre, said Hobson has always shown audiences that he’s confident, ready and willing to take them on a journey with him.
“The hardest job to get in this profession is a lead on Broadway,” Clapp said. “The second hardest job is to get a film project that has a major release. Louis has done both.”
Hobson also isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with audiences, he added.
“He is talented, has good instincts, is always hungry to find the next role, and has a wonderful voice,” Clapp said. “He has that spark.”
Lauralee Hagen, senior advancement officer at PLU, has known Hobson for years. She said he’s extremely driven.
“He is creative, filled with boundless energy, and possesses the confidence needed to be successful,” Hagen said. “I’m pretty sure his mind never shuts off. He is in constant motion as he strives to be better and to do more.”
Hobson also has always been interested in all aspects of the business, she added.
Louis Hobson '00
“Louis understands the importance of building relationships and so he gets to know people and he invests time and energy into the relationships,” Hagen said. “He is a risk taker as well — he knows that risk is a part of this business and without being willing to take risks, chances are you will miss out on something special.”
Hobson continues to connect with his alma mater. He returns to campus to meet with students or teach master classes, and serves on the School of Arts and Communication Executive Advisory Committee.
“A lot of what I’ve done at PLU, is bridge the gap between academia and vocation,” he said. “I’m looking at ways to give students a focus on academics and apply what they learn to the vocation they want to enter one day.”
Once Hobson decides to do something, he says he puts his entire self into it. After he accomplishes the goal at hand, he presses on to the next thing. He hopes that persistence is contagious with the students he mentors.
“PLU has a reputation of producing great people,” he said. “I take it as my responsibility to give back because a lot of people gave me their time, and if I can give a sliver of what I learned to somebody else, I feel like I’ve fulfilled my duty.”
Learn more about some of the programs in PLU’s School of Arts and Communication.