By: Jaimz Dillman
Anyone within two feet of T. Robert "Robby" Pigott is treated to his infectious laughter within five minutes. The character actor with PattyCake Productions has a laidback approach to life, adopted from growing up in Hawaii. Moving there at a young age from Connecticut made him a Hauli (new comer) among the locals, and having white-blond hair didn't make him stand out any less. Joining the local community theater gave Pigott his first taste of show business, and he hasn't stopped since.
After studying theater at Yale, Pigott traveled with Starlight Express to Germany. "I met my husband there, we've been together 30 years and married six," he said. Venturing to Orlando eventually landed him in various roles through Disney, including in the "Hoop De Doo Revue," "Superstar Television," "Doug LIVE," "American Idol," and "Frozen Sing-a-long." "I think I'm the only actor who worked at all shows in that big theater at Studios," Pigott said.
Expanding to Pleasure Island and Animal Kingdom, he made PattyCake connections working with the cast of "Nemo the Musical." "I knew Layne from being friends with a co-worker who performed with him. I'd seen a few things they'd done, and a few 'Nemo' people were extras in them. I was an extra in 'Michealeficent,' and had fun. The next one was 'Lala Land,' and my husband and I both did that. Tony and Layne said they had so much fun with Jim and I, I think that led to them asking me back," said Pigott.
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Not expecting any particular role, Pigott says he didn't have any idea he'd be presented with the chance to play two very notorious, and different, villains. "I never thought I'd play Hook - or the Joker. I've never had a Jack Nicholson imitation. And then it ended up coming out pretty good! For Hook, sometimes it's more the cartoon version, sometimes it's the movie - it's almost morphed into its own thing now," he said.
Pigott started his part as Captain Hook in a mashup video, mixing the villains and the Sanderson Sisters, and didn't realize it was going to turn into a recurring role. "The first one I did as Hook was 'Look What You Made Me Brew.' I didn't know it was going to be as big a deal as it turned into. It was just a fun time with friends. Now two to three million views later, they like what I'm doing, so I'm going to keep doing that," he said.
Regarding the upcoming episodes, and what's in store for his character, Pigott doesn't really know what to expect. "Honestly, I watched the first season before we filmed two, and I didn't know the story until I watched it back to back. Now, I can't wait to see how it goes. We don't know until we get our scripts, so I'm looking forward to it," he said.
Right now, Pigott is on furlough from his full-time gig in the parks. While he waits for the call to return, he hasn't let the time off go to waste. Finally learning how to surf has been one accomplishment to come out of his extra free time. And the new season of The Villains Lair just finished filming. "I get to work with people I'd never had the chance to before. And the videography, sets, and costumes, they just look so good the fact that it's just the two of them, it blows me away. From writing the music, recording the music, building the sets, costumes. I look online at other people doing the same thing, it's not the same quality," he said.
While Pigott doesn't know when he'll return to the parks, he's staying positive. "I didn't audition for Halloween or Christmas 'cause I'm waiting for that call. I've had a good 26 years there, and I'm just waiting to go back. I'll be happy performing till the day I die," Pigott said.