BWW Interview: Nick Duckart of COME FROM AWAY at the Adrienne Arsht Center- Welcoming Home One of Our Own
Miami is thrilled to welcome one of our own Nick Duckart performing in the national tour of COME FROM AWAY, a Broadway musical about the true story of the small town that welcomed the world after 9/11 when the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all. COME FROM AWAY will make its Miami debut at the Center's Ziff Ballet Opera House for a limited engagement on June 18 - 23, 2019.
Nick Duckart was born and raised in Hialeah, FL, attended Hialeah High School, New World School of the Arts and the University of Florida and still has family in the area. Nick reminisces as we talk about his humble beginnings in Hialeah that shaped him into who he is today.
I know I was excited to see one of our own coming to perform at the Arsht Center. How does it feel to be coming back and performing at South Florida on a national tour?
Nick Duckart: Oh my god, it's like a dream come true for me. You know, I grew up as a kid who loves theater in Hialeah. My dream was always to be on Broadway or be like in a Broadway production. And to now be able to do that in a Broadway national tour, in the first national tour of this amazing show, and then to be able to bring it back home, and to be able to perform this beautiful show in front of my family and my childhood friends. And the theatre community that I grew up in, it's just priceless. It's such a such an exciting opportunity. And I am just very excited to be back home.
Well, I'm from Hialeah, so I was very happy to see that on your bio. Not many people are very proud when they say that. But I was very happy to see that in your bio.
Nick Duckart: I'm super proud. I lived the majority of my life in Hialeah. Hialeah has its things, but it was a great place to grow up. I played sports in the sports recreation area in their division basketball right at O'Quinn Park and Milander. And so I grew up a lot on those basketball courts, and then I did theatre at Hialeah High. So I owe a lot of who I am today based on growing up at Hialeah, so I am very proud to be a 'Hialeahian.'
Well, I was very happy to see that all over your Bio. Thinking back to your younger days as a teenager at Hialeah High, would you have imagined this to be where you would be now? And is this something that you really wanted to do from back when you were younger?
Nick Duckart: I took drama classes at Hialeah High with my drama teacher, Gary Graff. He's wonderful - he kind of instilled the love of theater in me. And I always knew working with him that this was the career I wanted to pursue. Now, as far as did, I ever think I get to this point. No. I've never thought that this was a possibility. I hoped it would be a possibility. And I dream that it would be a possibility. But I never thought that it would be a possibility. But it's just it's great. I mean, I pinch myself. I find myself pinching myself, you know, we are about almost nine months into the tour, and I feel like a kid on Christmas. It's just amazing.
Besides your teacher, is there anybody else that supported your career in acting that you would like to shout out and say thank you?
Nick Duckart: Other than my family, I mean, my family has always been my number one support system. I hate to say this, but I think it's true. Latin families in Hialeah are very, very, very hardworking people who have academic aspirations for their kids. They want their kids to be lawyers or doctors. Rightfully so. There's always successful careers and, the immigrant story is always one, my parents are immigrants, Argentina, and it's one of those things where they wanted a greater possibility of success for their kids. And I know that it was hard for them at first to kind of understand why their son wanted to be an artist. But once they got into it, my parents have been just the most incredibly supportive parents in the world. And they're so so proud of me, and they push forward, and they promote me to their friends and like they're just so proud. Without their emotional support and when I was starting off doing this, their financial support, (giggles) I don't know if I'd be where I am without them. My family is the absolute support I've had and also I have to add my wife. My wife, Mariand Torres, is also a performer as well; she is the one who inspired me to be a better version of myself. She's everything. She's been like the absolute most incredible support system I could have asked for.
If you had to give any advice to a young actor from Hialeah, who was going into this industry right now, what would you say?
Nick Duckart: Embrace your individuality, what makes you special. What makes you unique makes you special. And we also tend to want to be like certain people that you're watching movies or watched on Broadway. But in reality, you are your own person and being from Hialeah is so special. You have your own journey ahead of you. That is all based on how bad you want it. If you want it bad enough, it'll happen for you. You just have to work really hard. And don't take no for an answer. This career is hard, and we hear that a lot. But just because you hear "no" once doesn't mean that you don't belong in this community. So just keep working hard and trust that being who you are is enough.
So let's talk Come From Away. How has it been working on a national tour?
Nick Duckart: It's been great. Doing this show is sort of like an embarrassment of riches. We got a chance to work with the original Broadway creatives. We got to work with Christopher Ashley, Kelly Devine, and Ian Eisendrath, the creative team that built this beautiful play from the ground up. David Hein and Irene Sankoff, the writers, we got to be in the room with them, making this beautiful project. It has been a dream. And we get to go to so many states, so many cities. We've been to Canada. And we're going to share this story and really move people because this story is so special. It connects with people on a human level. And it's just been an absolute dream to tell this particular story all across North America.
Come From Away was a surprise hit on Broadway. Why do you think this resonates with people?
Nick Duckart: People's faith in humanity. I think the conversations that are happening in our world, nowadays and you turn on the news, there's always something that kind of makes you go, gosh, how did this happen? How do we get to this point as humans? Why are we having these conversations? Why do we see these things on the TV? And then for an hour and 40 minutes, you see just like an unapologetic kindness and unparalleled kindness and humanity. You leave the theater feeling so much more hopeful, and so much more inspired than you did when you walked in. And I think that's why it resonates with people. I think that's why people love it. That's why it's going on, three years on Broadway, without a star. It's an ensemble show with no star. The star of this show is the human capacity for kindness. And I think that is why this show is still so successful.
How is the process of playing real people different than playing fictional people? And have you done anything differently to prepare for these roles?
Nick Duckart: I still approach it as just doing any sort of other play. Our responsibility is just to tell the story in an honest way and a kind way. So you do that. And the cool thing about working on the show is yes the people that we all play exist. But really, we aren't made responsible to do an impersonation of these people. Because, you know, none of us, I think, actually, look like the people that we play. We are responsible for telling their story within the realm of Come From Away. But talking to them and hearing their stories that's been the cool part.
What is next for you?
Nick Duckart: I have been a professional actor for ten years, and I have been working really hard to get an opportunity like this. So I want to enjoy being in the cast from Come From Away for a while. And then what I hope is that this play sets up some momentum for me so that then when my time with the show is done, which hopefully is not for all the time. But when it is done that this will create some sort of momentum so that I can continue doing really exciting projects like this one that inspires me to be a better person, a better artist and create a life for my wife and I that we can both be very proud of.
Don't miss this breathtaking new musical written by Tony nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and helmed by this year's Tony-winning Best Director, Christopher Ashley. For more information, please visit www.comefromaway.com.
Nick was beyond thrilled to join the COME FROM AWAY family! Nick has appeared regionally at Asolo Repertory Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, LaJolla Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Artists Repertory Theatre, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Gulfshore Playhouse, Actors Playhouse & others. Favorite credits include: Evita, In the Heights (Carbonell Award-Best Actor in a Musical), Carmen: An Afro-Jazz Cuban Musical (World Premiere), Man of La Mancha, A View From the Bridge, Venus in Fur, Cuba Libre (World Premier), Next to Normal and more. TV: "The Blacklist", "The Arrangement", "Burn Notice".
COME FROM AWAY tickets are on sale now! Tickets may be purchased through the Arsht Center Box Office in person at 1300 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33132, by calling 305.949.6722, or online at www.arshtcenter.org. Ticket prices start at $34*. Ziff Ballet Opera House, Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132
*All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Additional fees may apply. Visit www.arshtcenter.org for up-to-date information, details and performance schedules