BWW Interview: Nick Duckart of COME FROM AWAY at Dallas Summer Musicals
In a world where it seems like lately, the only news is bad news, Come From Away is a critically important show that reminds us of how good the world and its people can be- especially in times of crisis. I spoke with actor Nick Duckart last week about this incredible work of art- and his enthusiasm for this show was explosive.
Nick- How did you get your big break?
Come from away IS my big break! I've been a professional actor for a little over 10 years, doing a lot of regional productions, and shows that had Broadway aspirations. This tour of Come From Away is the first time I'm doing something of this scale- to originate a role in a national tour has been a dream of mine.
Tell us about the show, Come From Away.
This musical is the story of something that happened on 9/11, when 38 commercial airliners were rerouted to Newfoundland. For five days the small town of Gander had their population doubled- and the residents provided the stranded with love, shelter- everything. They went above and beyond in this terrible tragedy. I play two characters in the show; Kevin, and Ali. Kevin is one part of "the Kevins," a gay couple. However, Ali- an Egyptian Muslim man- is probably the character I relate more to. Growing up, I had a Pakistani Muslim friend who went from being one of the most popular kids, to being a villain for no reason, after 9/11.
You've said the show is like "a 100 minute trust fall"- can you expand on that for me?
Doing this show is a very unique experience- we are assisting each other throughout the whole thing. The 12 cast members are always helping each other prepare for the next scene, like moving furniture to prepare for someone else's story, in the same way that the characters are helping each other as the story plays out. When you have 12 actors working closely together to make sure the story's being told in its best possible format, you look to left and right to make sure the show is reaching its goal.
You are someone with a lot of hometown pride. Would you say your art, your performing, is a way of giving back to the community- are there other ways you give back?
We all feel there is an honor of doing Come From Away. I'm not overstating when I say this- we're doing a public service. The world needs to see Come From Away, needs to be reminded that humans are capable of kindness, that we are able to help each other in times of need. If we only get 1 person to leave the theatre saying "I'm inspired to be a better person," then we've done our job.
What are some of your dream roles?
Good question! I'd love to play Don Quixote - he gets to sing some of the prettiest songs ever written in musical theatre. I've already gotten to play a dream role, Usnavi, from In the Heights. When I first saw Come From Away- my friend Caesar Samayoa played the lead on Broadway- I went home to my then girlfriend (now wife Mariand Torres) and said this show is unlike any I've ever seen- "If there's any show I feel I belong in- God, Universe, Beyonce- make it happen!"
Is there anything else you want the readers to know?
I want every audience member to enjoy Come From Away, be inspired, and admire the actions of the people of Gander, Newfoundland!