South Florida Parents Produce A Producer

South Florida Parents Produce A Producer

"So your kid wants to be in show business?" These are the words that haunt many pragmatic parents, particularly those who are not practitioners of the performing arts, much less theatergoers.

Having a child who wants to pursue the arts can be daunting to moms and dads across the country as today's arts industry offers little security and no clear hierarchal ladder to climb. The security of promotions, vacation time, health insurance, raises and a pension are rarely present for over 96% of thespians. (No, mom and dad, "thespian" isn't a newfound sexual preference or identity, it means being part of a collaborative form of fine artists dating back to the ancient Greeks.)

Of course not all parents reject their child's pursuit of the arts. Some, in fact, support it to a fault, a la Abby Lee's DANCE MOM'S and Mama Rose in GYPSY. So called "stage parents" have developed such a name often by living vicariously through their children, allowing their kids to pursue a dream their own parents forbade them from pursuing in their childhood.

There is a fine line between being supportive and taking the support too far. On the Treasure Coast of Florida, a mere 1,173 miles from Broadway, a set of parents are among the minority who have perfected that balance.

Their son, Nicky Wood, a now 22-year-old honors graduate of the University of Central Florida, is a Production Show Stager at Norwegian Creative Studios creating entertainment for ships under the Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings fleet. This June he will return home from his travels abroad to mount his first one man show. A show his parents consider the ultimate tip of the hat to his childhood bedroom, where at the age of eight he put on productions of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF using his sister's old Barbie Dolls.

In 1994 Nicky's soon-to-be older sister, Ashley, asked her mom and Dad for a baby brother to play sports with. To her surprise she got a baby brother, but not one with significant hand eye coordination. Little did her parents realize nine years later their daughter would be playing in softball games while their son was in ballet class.

"(Nicky) was bitten by the acting bug at the age of eight while watching South Fork High School's production of SNOW WHITE. He noticed that the role of Dopey was played by a young boy, and he wanted to do that. So, after the show, he spoke with the director, the late great Annie Schwarz. She offered him a cameo role in their upcoming production of FAME, and a star was born!" said Lori Wood, Nicky's mother.

Prior to raising Nicky, Lori was the Assistant to the Senior Vice President of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation of New York State. She now works at South Fork High School where she assists in the education of special needs students while driving to and from work with her husband and best friend, Nick.

Nick, an educator of over 35 years specializing in business and remedial education, is not your average "sports dad."

"When Nicky was thirteen he started doing professional shows in Palm Beach County, but he was too young to drive, so my wife and I would take him to rehearsal...which often didn't get out until eleven or midnight. By the time we drove home, took showers, ate dinner and got to bed we would be lucky to sleep two or three hours before the alarm went off for work the next morning. People (at the theatre) started to know us as 'Nicky's parents, who sleep in the car.'" said proud father, Nick.

Nicky's not your average triple threat. Beyond acting, singing and dancing, his greatest gift is the ability to produce and direct. This June, his production YES SIR, THAT'S MY BROADWAY, at the Barn Theatre in Stuart, Florida, will be his 11th show as a producer.

"We knew he was going to be a producer/director by the time he was nine years old. He had written his own show, PANIC IN THE PARTHENON. He proceeded to audition actors (all adults) and held rehearsals in a neighbors' garage, directing aforementioned adults. He then built the set/bought the props and put the show on at the Port St. Lucie Community Center to entertain the over 100 guests.." said Lori.

Nicky's production budgets were quite limiting until he was seventeen and had saved up enough money so each production could fund the next one. His parents have served in many positions on his production team over the years.

When asked about working for his son, Nick laughed and remarked, "First and foremost, we are Nicky's biggest fans. We have been 'chief cook and bottle washer'...and everything else in between. Basically, the only thing we don't do is appear on stage! Although, we have been given lines to call out from our perspective spots on sound or spotlight."

"I can't put into words how fortunate I am to have the parents I have." said Nicky. "They always taught me by example to dream as big as I can and reach not just for the stars, but the moon and the satellites and the whole galaxy."

"We feel a child shouldn't ever be told they can't be something they want to be. You love them and encourage them and do whatever you have to do to allow them to peruse their passions. And if they fail you're there to help them pick up the pieces. And if they fly you're there to help then celebrate in their success." said Lori.

Don't miss this opportunity to see this budding headliner and the work of his truly unique family behind him. YES SIR, THAT'S MY BROADWAY runs June 16th at 2 and 8 PM at the Barn Theatre. For tickets, call (772) 287-4884 or visit Barn-Theatre.com. Tickets $20.

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