|Membership level: Hall of Fame|
Inductee Year 1999
|Rick Hilsabeck grew up in Hinsdale, Illinois, and graduated from Hinsdale Central High School in 1973. Encouragement from his parents, Jeanette and Robert, and his best friend, Gregg Miner, led him to become very active in the HCHS Choral Department, Concert Choir, and Madrigals. Under the direction of Doris Osmond, he "got the bug" and performed in the school's well-known spring musicals and operettas, including "New Moon," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Flower Drum Song," and "The Merry Widow." During a national tour, the acclaimed singing group, The Young Americans, held auditions at Hinsdale Central. Rick was accepted, and from 1973 to 1978 he toured with the group, appearing as the lead in productions of Brigadoon, The Music Man, and George M! He attended Cal-State University at Fullerton and majored in acting.
Upon his return to Chicago in 1978, he became a principal dancer with the newly formed Hubbard Street Dance Company, and during his eleven year career with HSDC was given the opportunity to choreograph two pieces for the company repertoire. He met his wife, Kitty Skillman, also a dancer with HSDC, and they were married in 1987.
In 1989, Rick headed back to musical theater and was chosen by Har- old Prince to play the principal role of Gilles Andre in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. Later he was asked to play the starring role and continued to play The Phantom in over 15 major cities nationwide, and for this portrayal he received a nomination for the Joseph Jefferson Award. From October, 1998 until June, 1999 he played Henry Ford in the original cast of the Chicago production of Ragtime.
Rick and Kitty now reside in the mountains of Colorado, where he is active in television commercials.