Interview: Nicolas Dromard & Desiree Davar of NIC AND DESI at Green Room 42

These Broadway and cabaret stars are tapping the night away on March 23

By: Mar. 14, 2024
Interview: Nicolas Dromard & Desiree Davar of NIC AND DESI at Green Room 42
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Broadway and cabaret performers Nic Dromard and Desi Davar are gearing up for a return to NYC’s Green Room 42. Though shaken by a recent battle with cancer, the husband-and-wife duo are prepared to put on a show where you can park your worries at the door and just enjoy some classic standards and song and dance. (They’ll be getting on their tap shoes, and songs from Singin’ in the Rain will make an appearance.) We spoke about what to expect from their March 23 show.

Do you want to tell me a bit about your upcoming show?

DD: Our show is Saturday, March 23rd. It's at 1 p.m. We decided to do a fun little matinee. Our daughter is actually going to come this time. We have a five-year-old daughter. She's the sweetest.

What we do is song and dance. I think we were born in the wrong era. We have lots of MGM musical-type numbers, and we have jazz standards and some contemporary songs. We've turned many songs into tap numbers that usually wouldn't be. Three-piece band. It's an evening of song and dance and there's cameos. I do an impression of Liza Minnelli, so me as Desi leaves the stage and Liza Minnelli comes back and sings, usually a pop song that's done in old-fashioned cabaret style.

So it's just a fun evening. Everyone seems to love it. We love performing together and telling our story as well. There’s moments where we talk about our time on Broadway or different regional shows.

ND: And how we met. Our recent cancer battle.

DD: Yeah, lots of things. It genuinely is a personal but fun evening where people are familiar with the songs. Every age.

The battle with cancer sounds really hard. How have you been recovering from that?

ND: Back in end of August, I was diagnosed with tongue cancer. We had a bunch of stuff happening in September, so we had to kind of work through that and then canceled four months of concerts. I had surgery in October and then I did six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy that ended early December. I didn't know if I could sing again… My voice is about 91% now. I feel like it's getting better every day, but it's still not fully back yet. It was a rough chapter where for two months, I couldn't do what I love to do.

DD: You couldn’t do anything. You were exhausted, which makes sense.

ND: Radiation took it out of me. My voice wasn't there, swelling in my throat… But, you know, that chapter is over, hopefully forever. And, we’re getting back to what we love to do, and celebrating life and love.

DD: And that's why we're wanting to do this. We choose the songs, so whatever he’s comfortable singing, and we just we love doing this. We actually tour our show, Nic and Desi, across the country and theaters and stuff as well. Those are larger venues, but I think the [intimacy] of the cabaret settings like 54 Below, the Green Room, those are our favorites. There's just something different about it. So we're excited to come back in March and do it again because I think it's more intimate. So telling our story feels better than on a huge stage.

What draws you to tap dance?

ND: When I was six years old, I saw the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Top Hat, and it just made me fall in love with tap dancing. I was tap dancing in the hallways of my school and under my desk and going to the bathroom. And then my teacher actually called my mom and said, Please get him into tap classes because he's driving us crazy. My mom said yes and put me in tap classes when I was 6 years old and I basically have had tap shoes on my feet ever since.

DD: But not that many tap shows.

ND: Yeah. When I got to New York City, my first Broadway show was Oklahoma, like great show! No tap. And then I did The Boy from Oz with Hugh Jackman – no tap dancing. And then finally I did Mary Poppins in 2006, and there was finally tap dancing. [laughs] How about you love?

DD: I remember growing up, my mom is a dance teacher, and I would always watch Singing in the Rain. And I think that inspired me because these dancers are amazing and we actually do two of those numbers in our show because that's what we loved growing up.

Singing in the Rain is the main thing why I started tap dancing, and also my mom, she taught tap. So that's how I got into it.

How do you feel having your daughter with you at the show?

DD: Sometimes we have songs that maybe wouldn't be appropriate for kids, but there's nothing crazy... This one since it's a matinee, I think we're making it a little more of a brunch type of show. She's great. She's watched one of our larger shows in a venue where she was sitting with my parents. She loves it. She actually knows every lyric to every song we sing, because, you know, when you're rehearsing or singing in the house, she learns it. So she might actually come on stage and sing one with us, if she feels like it.

ND: During the pandemic, we did a lot of virtual concerts where we created more like a variety show. She made many cameos in our videos. We do an I Love Lucy called I Love Desi. We do short episodes and our daughter’s in there. We did “Good Morning” throughout the whole house.

DD: Yeah, so she thinks this is normal. She’s hyping all her friends up to sing.

Do you want families with kids to come?

DD: I think yeah. I think this one where we have some friends that our daughter goes to school with, that have seen Broadway shows before so they’re OK to sit. I think this setting’s great, because Green Room 42 [isn’t as formal as] 54 Below, I think that'd be a little different. But yeah, we are open to having younger ones in the audience, inspire them and have them hear a live band and see some tap dancing, which is very exciting. So yeah, to have some younger audience members I think is important.

ND: A few Disney films will probably make it into the show.

Do you have anything else you want to add about, the show or anything else?

ND: We love to inspire. We love to sing and dance together, and we just want people to come and have an escape for an hour and 15 minutes, to be able to leave their troubles at the door and…

DD: And remember some of the old classics that maybe inspired them. I mean, we have a broad range of audience. We are having it on a Saturday, so many of the Broadway friends can't come, but we've created like another type of audience, like the cabaret world and some people that wouldn't normally come to these cabaret venues. We’re excited to do this one. We have some really good songs that we’re going to be doing.

ND: And having just won the best duo act for BroadwayWorld…

DD: Best duo show, which is a good description because we’re varied and that's what we do. [laughs]

This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.