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BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKE

YOU I LIKE: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF JERRY HERMAN will livestream at www.PasadenaLive.org January 10, 2021; with video-on-demand streaming through February 7, 2021.

BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKE

Opening night of YOU I LIKE: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF JERRY HERMAN will livestream at www.PasadenaLive.org January 10, 2021; with video-on-demand streaming through February 7, 2021. Conceived by music director Andy Einhorn, this virtual homage to the genius of Jerry Herman will be the first tribute to him since his passing last year. Safely filmed on The Pasadena Playhouse stage, familiar Jerry Herman classics will be performed by the talented vocalists Ashley Blanchet, Nicholas Christopher, Lesli Margherita, Andrea Ross and Ryan Vona. Also appearing on opening night, special guests Bernadette Peters and David Hyde Pierce.
Got a chance to pose a few queries to the melodious Nicholas Christopher.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Nick!

What cosmic forces brought you together with this production of YOU I LIKE?

Two cosmic forces brought me to YOU I LIKE, by chance, and their names are Mandy Gonzalez and Andrea Ross. Andy was asking around for a male musical theatre singer who lives in L.A. and randomly both Mandy and Andrea recommended me! I was lucky enough to work with Mandy in HAMILTON and still fan-out over her. It's even BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKEmore impressive being with her on stage than watching from the audience, if that's even possible to imagine. And I've been a fan of Andrea Ross since I saw her in a show at Stoneham Theatre in Massachusetts c. 2002. We also went to theatre camp together. Ha!

Andy took a risk casting me, having never met me before, and boy, am I glad he did! He gave me a call so we could discuss the project, and we ended up talking for about two hours before we even touched on the show. He's as good a dude as he is talented.

Have you worked with any of this cast or creatives before- live?

I hadn't worked with anyone in the cast before but I knew of their crazy talents.

BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKEWhat's your favorite Jerry Herman show/song/character?

My only reference to Jerry Herman, before doing this show, was HELLO, DOLLY! I am so grateful that this project has opened my consciousness to his genius catalogue. But, I would have to say my favorite song of his is "Before The Parade Passes By." What a wonderfully crafted song. It demands both high levels of acting and singing from the performer. When it is done right, it SLAPS. And in this show... it slaps.

Can you tell us what songs you'll be singing?

Nope! You gotta watch it!

Will you take us through the pre-production and taping process you went through during these pandemic times?

BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKEThe pandemic protocol actually felt pretty simple to me. The only reason it felt simple was because of the amazing organization and execution from the crew at Pasadena Playhouse. First, I had to get tested within 72 hours of showing up to the first rehearsal. Once at rehearsal, we had to keep our masks on and social distance from everyone. Six- foot boxes were taped out on the floor. Once in rehearsal, we got tested again and then every other day after. We only had a couple of rehearsals to keep as little contact between us as possible. Andy plunked out our parts, and it was up to us to go home and study. On production days, when we were filming, the theatre was disinfected every morning. We got our temperatures checked outside in front of the front doors. We had boxed lunches and ate outside on breaks. The crew had masks and gloves on. Even our water bottles were six feet apart. Before they yelled, "Action," we would take our masks off, do our thing and as soon as we cut, someone would bring us each a new mask. It sounds like a lot, but luckily we, the actors, were guided step-by-step. The crew was phenomenal.

BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKETell us about your HAMILTON history. Did it start with you being cast in the first national tour of IN THE HEIGHTS?

I have a long history with HAMILTON. And as the saying goes "Work begets work." When I worked on IN THE HEIGHTS, I was lucky enough to do the show with Lin in Puerto Rico. I got to know the creative team, and they got to know my work. When it came time for them to put HAMILTON together, they gave me a call, not because I'm more or less talented than anyone, but because they knew I work hard and I am (mostly) easy going. I ended up doing maybe five readings of the show playing everyone from Lafayette to Mulligan/Madison to King George. That was back when it was still being called THE HAMILTON MIXTAPE. My first reading I believe there were only about five songs finished, and the last reading I participated in was about four hours long! We knew right away this was something special. I didn't end up appearing in the original company due to other commitments, but I was later added during Tony season.

BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKEYou started as the replacement for George Washington. Did you ever go on?

I was brought in during the 2016 Tony season to have more hands on deck. Because the schedule was so demanding for the original cast, the creative team had the idea to bring in more people almost as an insurance policy. I went on a couple times and then replaced the irreplaceable Chris Jackson as George Washington.

Do you remember the moment you were told you were to be Aaron Burr on the first national tour in 2017?

Yes! I was on Broadway performing as John in MISS SAIGON. We had just received our closing notice, and I was feeling pretty down. I got a phone call from my agents asking if I would be open to going on tour. I felt pretty settled in New York and was unsure about the prospect of traveling. As I thought it over, I realized Aaron Burr is the role of a lifetime, and, as though on cue, I got a call from Tommy Kail wanting to check in. He simply asked me "When was the last time you were able to spend nine weeks in your hometown (Boston)?" And I WAS IN!

BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKEAs a veteran of touring, what packing/travel advice do you share with tour newbies?

When first packing for a tour, PACK LIGHT. You'll be surprised at how many things you will accumulate over time!

At what stage of the 2020 national tour of HAMILTON were you at when live theatre closed down?

What is unique about the L.A. company of HAMILTON is that most of the cast had performed the show before in various companies. We started rehearsals in New York for only two weeks, then we all flew to L.A. to start tech week. We all were shocked at the chemistry we almost instantly found. Our final dress rehearsal felt like we all levitated off the stage, and we were so excited to share our work with the Los Angeles community. We knew COVID was looming in the background but we worked full steam ahead, without even the thought of what was to come. With merely hours to go before our first audience, we had a company meeting stating that the governor was shutting the city down due to numbers of infections climbing. At first we were planning for a two week hiatus... and the rest is history!

BWW Interview: HAMILTON Mainstay Nicholas Christopher Takes On HERMAN's YOU I LIKEDo you know of tentative plans for restarting this tour?

As far as I know: We will be back on stage singing and dancing as soon as it is safe to do so. Unfortunately, there is no set timeline at this time, but you better believe when we come back, it will be a sight to see!

Thank you again, Nick! I look forward to viewing you and your talented cohorts in YOU I LIKE?

To experience the opening night livestream on January 10, 2021; log onto www.PlayhouseLive.org Video-on-demand streaming of YOU I LIKE: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF JERRY HERMAN will be available to rent on through February 7, 2021.



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From This Author Gil Kaan