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BWW Interview: Nicholas Rodriguez Will Perform Solo Concert THE FIRST TIME at Holmdel Theatre Company 4/24

Broadway star Nicholas Rodriguez will perform his solo concert outdoor this spring on April 24!

BWW Interview: Nicholas Rodriguez Will Perform Solo Concert THE FIRST TIME at Holmdel Theatre Company 4/24

Broadway actor Nicholas Rodriguez will perform his solo concert titled The First Time... as part of the "Broadway Outside the Barn" series at Holmdel Theatre Company on April 24. Award-winning Broadway, TV, film actor and recording artist, Nicholas Rodriguez, explores life, love and longing through an intimate evening featuring new interpretations of songs from the world of pop, jazz, folk and musical theatre. The music of John Denver to Joni Mitchell, Frankie Valli to Phantom of the Opera. You always remember your first time....

Nicholas is thrilled to be making his debut at the Holmdel Theatre Company. In the last year, he's sold out shows at Paper Mill Playhouse, Barrington Stage, Forestburgh Playhouse, Feinstein's-54 Below and several others. Recently, he completed a run as Joe Gillis opposite Tony winner and Holmdel favorite, Alice Ripley in Sunset Boulevard at North Shore Music Theatre. Nicholas is perhaps best known for his role as Nick Chavez on ABC's One Life to Live (GLAAD Award). His other television credits include Tommy (CBS) and Madam Secretary (CBS). Film: Sex in the City II (also soundtrack), Still Here, Double Exposure. Broadway/National Tour: Tarzan®, The Sound of Music (Captain Von Trapp) directed by Jack O' Brien. Off-Broadway: Toxic Avenger, Almost Heaven, Death For Five Voices,Collette Collage, Bajour. Carnegie Hall: Guys and Dolls. Tours: Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Hair. Regional: Carousel (Helen Hayes nomination), Destiny of Desire, Mother Courage and Her Children, Oklahoma! (Helen Hayes Award), My Fair Lady (Helen Hayes nomination) & Light in the Piazza at Arena Stage; The Ten Commandments at the Kodak Theatre; Paper Mill Playhouse, MUNY, Pittsburgh CLO, ZACH Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre. His debut CD The First Time... is available at www. psclassics.com. Nicholas has a BM and MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. As an Educator, he's taught Master Classes at Universities and Performing Arts Centers across the world and served as Artistic Director for the Broadway Dreams Foundation for four years.

Broadwayworld.com had the opportunity to interview Nicholas Rodriguez before his concert.

How did you get started in the theatre industry?

I always grew up singing in church as a kid, and that was just part of my family. My grandmother was a music teacher and our choir director in church so I kind of thought singing was something everybody did and everybody could do because it was in my family. Once I got to high school, I joined the show choir and also got involved in the theatre program and started to realize, "Oh wait, this is something you can do as a career." That is how it kicked off my path, having an amazing high school drama program and voice teachers which then inspired me to go to college and study voice.

Who are some of the people who have inspired your career?

My whole life I've been blessed to be surrounded by these strong, amazing women without even knowing it at the time. Both of my first two voice teachers in high school and college were amazing, dynamic women. Even though they studied opera and both sang classically, they were so supportive of me doing that but also exploring other things and doing musical theatre and learning about pop music and pushing my training in that direction.

And then the older I got, there were so many role models I looked up to who were male singers. But I would probably say one of my biggest influences has been Molly Smith who is the Artistic Director at Arena Stage who has pushed me to find different roles and to think outside of my comfort zone for who I could be on stage.

What is your favorite part about performing before a live audience?

The thing I love most whether it is theatre or concerts is really connecting to the audience through the lyrics. That is my favorite thing to do whether I'm doing Rodgers and Hammerstein, Elton John, or John Denver - is really just finding my way into a lyric that really expresses me and being able to share that with the audience. And maybe hopefully singing something they've heard a hundred times and all of a sudden this one time they have a different perspective on it listening to it brand-new again.

What can audience members expect from your upcoming "Broadway Outside the Barn" concert at Holmdel Theatre Company?

The bulk of the evening is going to be drawn from an album I released a few years back called "The First Time," which is all of the songs that are first experiences in my life - first love, first kiss, first Broadway show. So there's going to be some of that stuff in the first half and I'm going to tell those stories. The second half of the program is going to be a lot of Broadway favorites of things that I've done on stage and things that I'm longing to do on stage. And then the overarching theme of the whole evening is about us being excited to be together again.

We recently celebrated World Theatre Day. What is your favorite memory of theater or performing in general?

There's so many great memories that I could tell you. World Theatre Day also happened to be my birthday for the past few years and it just made me feel happy because every year that it comes back around I was like, "Oh wow, this is the universe telling me something is right here!"

I remember one that always sticks out is when I was in Tarzan on Broadway and my first time going on as Tarzan after rehearsals and everything is the first time coming out. It's like being shot out of a cannon, you don't even have time to think. And I remember coming out from backstage and running through the cast to take the last bow and seeing that full Richard Rodgers Theatre and standing there and the legacy of all of the people who have performed shows in that theatre - The King and I was there, now Hamilton is there. I remember reminding myself to soak this in. This is going to happen a lot of times, I've taken a lot of bows in lots of shows, but there is something about the final bow in your first Broadway show that you only get once.

BWW Interview: Nicholas Rodriguez Will Perform Solo Concert THE FIRST TIME at Holmdel Theatre Company 4/24

The pandemic has caused theaters to shut down for an uncertain amount of time. What are you looking forward to the most when theater returns?

Honestly, I'm the most excited about rehearsing again. Being in the room and being able to collaborate, that is something I've missed over Zoom. And I've been so fortunate to have so many great theaters like Holmdel Theatre Company, Paper Mill Playhouse, and Barrington Stage that have had me come out and I've done lots of concerts and things like this. But really being able to collaborate with people and hug people, it's such a tangible thing that we do. That is what I'm most looking forward to.

How do you think the pandemic will change theatre in the future?

I think for a while performers are going to have to get used to seeing audiences with masks on, not being able to see their reactions, and for a little bit it won't be full theaters. So we can't judge our performance based on the size of the house. We have to understand that people are going to be tentative for a while. And I think it's going to start back small and slow. Some of the things I've had on board for the summer have been canceled because they were big musicals and theaters are opting instead for smaller, two or three person shows so they can keep contained. So I think that is going to be the trend for awhile.

What is your advice for people who may be hesitant to go to theaters when they reopen?

First of all - get your vaccine! If you're having fear and you don't want to get the vaccine then maybe you should stay home. Also, now that spring and summer are coming so many places are doing outside offerings. If you're nervous, find and support your local theatre and go see an outdoor, socially-distanced concert. You don't have to jump right into sitting inside a closed theatre. So many of these theaters that are doing indoor theatre have completely redone their safety protocols. Do a little research and see what these places are doing to make it absolutely safe for their audiences.

What advice do you have for aspiring performers?

This is a time to create your own adventures. What I say to young people and my students is to look around at what's happening in the world, look at what plays and musicals are getting produced. Read up on those so that way if it's coming to your area, you're ready to go and you know whether that's right for you or not. Or you know which shows to pitch that you are right for.

To keep up with Nicholas, you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @thenickrod. His album The First Time... is available to listen to on Spotify and iTunes. You can also visit his website at www.thenickrod.com.

There are very few tickets left for Nicholas Rodriguez's concert. To be put on a wait list and find out more about Holmdel Theatre Company's other upcoming events, you can call 732-946-0427 or visit their website at https://www.holmdeltheatrecompany.org/nicholasrodriguez. The show will be performed outside of the Duncan Smith Theater on April 24 at 7pm. The theatre is located at 36 Crawfords Corner Road in Holmdel, NJ. For more information on Holmdel Theatre Company, you can follow them on Twitter @RealHTC, Instagram @holmdeltheatrecompany, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/holmdeltheatrecompany/.

Photo Credit: Annette Tanner



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