BWW Interviews: The Nutty Professor's KYLE VAUGHN Tackles THE NUTTY FIVE

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Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow (sorry, wrong show!)...But seriously who can blame me?-and the thousands of other Tennesseans who are equally as excited about the world premiere of The Nutty Professor Musical, which bows Tuesday night at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's James K. Polk Theatre.

To say that anticipation is at a fevered pitch in Music City USA is to be guilty of understatement. For the next few weeks, at least, we'll be known as Musical City USA, as Tennessee's capital city goes all Nutty this summer!

For the past couple of weeks, Nashville has been teeming with all manner of talented theatrical types as the cast/company and crew have descended upon our city to work on the spectacular production we've been promised. Directed by Jerry Lewis, who is affectionately known as "the king of comedy," the new musical (with a book by Rupert Holmes and music and lyrics by Marvin Hamlisch) boasts a creative team that also includes choreographer JoAnn Hunter, scenic designer David Gallo, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward and music director Todd Ellison. That's a sterling pedigree, for certain.

When all these excessively good-looking and exceedingly talented folks first arrived in the Volunteer State, we inaugurated our column-The Nutty Five-which has focused on all the creative and charming people who are bringing the show to life for TPAC audiences. Articulate and entertaining in their responses to our questions, they've all been open and honest, but today's featured star delivers some of our best answers yet!

BWW Interviews: The Nutty Professor's KYLE VAUGHN Tackles THE NUTTY FIVE

In an ensemble filled with impossibly gorgeous and charming triple threats, Kyle Vaughn (who has one deep dimple on the right side of his face) stands out from the crowd-his sunny disposition and leading man good looks are readily apparent, but even when he's standing onstage just waiting for the music to start, you can see that there's a bit of the scamp just itchin' to get out.

In fact, on the day that members of the press were allowed a sneak peek at rehearsals, while choreographer JoAnn Hunter explained the number we were about to see, Kyle silently mouthed: "We just learned this today-this morning!" Of course, he and the other ensemble members performed the number impeccably and with nary a mistake-so far as I could tell.

Since it seems likely that you'll be running into Kyle and his cohorts around town over the next several weeks (the show runs July 29-August 26 at TPAC), we offer this interview for your artistic edification. That way, when you bump into him there should be no awkward pauses, but just so's you know: Lea Salonga better watch her back!

Read on, gentle theaterati, and get to know the uber-talented Kyle Vaughn

What was your first "live onstage" taste of theater? When i was in pre-school, our class did a production of Surfin' USA. I can't remember what the plot was about…but I mean come on, I was in pre-school!

What is your favorite pre-show ritual? My pre-show ritual is a good stretch and always a mini-dance party in the dressing room around five minutes to places. I'm excited for this production because the boys' and girls' dressing room has a connecting door. 

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What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? I did a production of Catch Me If You Can in Seattle and one performance Norbert's [as in Norbert Leo Butz] mic went out, so they brought on a hand-held microphone and that went out, and then a second hand-held microphone was handed to him onstage and that also went out. So to keep the show going, he just shouted his lines the rest of the scene, it was incredibly funny and awesome, because I was onstage back-up dancing the entire time. 

What's your dream role? My dream role is to play Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Raoul in Phantom of The Opera, Kim in Miss Saigon and Tony in West Side Story. 

Have you ever been to Nashville before? And if so, what's your most vivid memory? If not, what do you wanna see and do while you're here? Back in 2005, I did the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Grand Ole Opry which was a blast! One of the things I remember most about Nashville was going to the amazing drag shows in town. I remember this because I have seen a lot of drag around the country and I think Nashville has some of the best talent I've seen in person. I'm looking forward to seeing the new girls this time around. 

  • Tickets to catch Kyle Vaughn and the rest of the company in The Nutty Professor are on sale now at www.tpac.org or by calling the TPAC box office at (615) 782-4040.

 The second photograph of Kyle Vaughn is by his castmate Ronnie Nelson

 

 

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.


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