Teen performers find route to Broadway at Village Theatre

Although the confident high-school senior doesn't show it – Jake Nicholson is nervous. It's Jan. 7, opening night of "Godspell" at First Stage Theatre in Issaquah, and he plays a leading role – Judas.

Jake Nicholson (left) and Rohan Waghani (right)

Jake Nicholson (left) and Rohan Waghani (right)

Although the confident high-school senior doesn’t show it – Jake Nicholson is nervous. It’s Jan. 7, opening night of “Godspell” at First Stage Theatre in Issaquah, and he plays a leading role – Judas.

He hopes he’ll be able to say his lines with finesse, and whip out that darn double pirouette in one of the dance numbers.

But when Nicholson takes the stage at 7:30 p.m., that fear gives way to an adrenaline rush.

This is why he loves to perform.

The naturally-talented singer has been involved with Village Theatre’s KIDSTAGE program for the past three years, in addition to acting in community theater in his hometown, Renton. But recently, he’s been working hard to improve the dance element of musical theater performance.

Thanks to Village Theatre’s Institute, a program started a year ago for youth in grades 6 to 20 years, Nicholson is becoming the triple threat he’ll need to become to make it in show biz.

From 3:45-10 p.m. each Monday night, Nicholson and his friends can be found here, at First Stage Theatre for their institute classes.

Nicholson is able to connect with these likeminded young people better than many of his classmates atBellevue Christian School.

“I pick them up and we get dinner together,” he said.

In addition to performing in many of the KIDSTAGE productions, the institute students work with instructors to improve their acting and vocal techniques, and even their high kicks and pirouettes. The program includes a college prep course for those like Nicholson, who hope to make musical theater a career.

Nicholson will audition for top programs at University of Michigan, Ithaca and Carnegie Mellon this winter, and then learn where he was accepted in March. The performer, who has had leading roles in “High School Musical 2” and “Hairspray,” says he’s trying to keep an open mind about where he’ll land for his undergraduate education.

Eventually, he’d like to play Lumière in “Beauty and the Beast,” on Broadway. The spirited Disney candlestick, as well as Judas in “Godspell,” are examples of the parts Nicholson likes.

“It’s a balance of that funny guy, plus, really good songs,” says the teen, who decided he wanted a career in the performing arts last year.

Despite that becoming a starving artist in a down economy is “absolutely terrifying,” Nicholson says, the Eastsider can’t wait to try his luck at Broadway someday.

“This is going to sound so corny, but this is what makes me feel alive.”

“Godspell” runs into Jan. 22 at First Stage Theatre, 120 Front St. N,  Issaquah. For more information about the show, and the Village Theatre youth programs, go to http://www.villagetheatre.org/.

Gabrielle Nomura can be reached at 425-453-4270.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

2021 Toyota Corolla XSE
Car review: 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE

By Larry Lark, contributor Hatchbacks are all about versatility and fun. The… Continue reading

2021 Mazda CX-30 Crossover
Car review: 2021 Mazda CX-30 Crossover

By Larry Lark, contributor The Mazda CX-30 Crossover made its North American… Continue reading

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
Car review: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport full-size SUV has… Continue reading

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport
Car review: 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor The 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport is… Continue reading

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS
Car review: 2021 Chevy Trailblazer RS

By Larry Lark, contributor Chevy’s 2021 Trailblazer is an entry-level, compact SUV… Continue reading

2022 Mini Cooper S 2-door. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2022 Mini Cooper S 2-door

By Larry Lark, contributor They don’t come around very often, but when… Continue reading

2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph
Car review: 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph

By Larry Lark, contributor If you want your SUV to make a… Continue reading

2022 Telluride Nightfall Edition
Car review: 2022 Kia Telluride

By Larry Lark, contributor Big, bold and boxy, that’s the newly tweaked… Continue reading

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland
Car review: 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland

By Larry Lark, contributor With almost 30 years and four generations under… Continue reading

2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum hybrid minivan
Car review: 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum hybrid minivan

By Larry Lark, contributor Minivans. They were at the top of the… Continue reading

2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport
Car review: 2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor Honda’s Ridgeline is the perfect vehicle for anyone… Continue reading