Weeds’ Southern Sprout

Hunter Parrish, the blond cutie who plays Mary-Louise Parker’s increasingly hunky teenage son Silas on Showtime’s Weeds, moved to New York’s theater district just two weeks ago (his first time living in the city) with his 8-month-old Siberian Husky. He’s taking over the lead role as pensive student heartthrob Melchior in Spring Awakening, the Tony Award-winning rock musical based on the 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind. At the Eugene O’Neill Theater, where Mr. Parrish will make his Broadway debut on Aug. 18, the Plano, Texas, native seemed almost goofy, offering a hearty handshake, and donning bright blue Converse sneakers. A Christian, the 21-year-old swears he has never smoked pot, despite playing a dealer on Weeds, and says “Dang it!” when he makes a mistake onstage. “I grew up really sort of sheltered, so it’s always exciting for me to break those boundaries and be the one to defy it all,” Mr. Parrish explained.

In Spring Awakening, he has a semi-sex scene and experiments with S&M. “It’s exciting to be at the forefront of that; leading the atypical, contemporary, progressive idea of life and living. [Melchior] does, you know? And he also makes mistakes and has to deal with the consequences of them.”

Mr. Parrish hasn’t been onstage in six years. But his co-stars on Weeds, especially Ms. Parker, who recently returned to the stage in Dead Man’s Cellphone, convinced him that he should come back. He came to New York last November to audition for Hairspray, and saw Spring Awakening. He talked with the creative team and by February was sold on taking the lead from Kyle Riabko, who will go on the touring version of the musical.

“It’s a lot of pressure. I’m filling such large shoes,” he said. (Jonathan Groff as Melchior was nominated for a Tony.) “But it fuels you a little bit to do your best. Until I mess up and I go, ‘Dang it!’”

Spring Awakening plays at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, 230 West 49th Street, Monday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and also at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays. For tickets, visit telecharge.com.

greagan@observer.com

Weeds’ Southern Sprout