He has had a long association with the role of Old Deuteronomy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. He moved to Old Town in Eastbourne 5 years ago, having lived in Spain for 9 years where he was the founder of vocal harmony group Tres Divos and hosted his own weekly radio show The Sound of Musicals on Talk Radio Europe.
Nicholas shares his thoughts....
"This month is a very personal column of two halves: Christmas joy followed by sadness at the loss of a theatrical Titan. Let’s start with the good stuff. By the time you read this I will (hopefully) have set foot back on the professional stage for the first time in nearly 2 years! Oh yes I will! Which should clue you in to the fact that I am performing in that great British Christmas traditional entertainment of pantomime. And what makes it even more joyous for me this year is that the pantomime in question is non other than Jordan Productions Sleeping Beauty at The Devonshire Park Theatre right here on my doorstep in Eastbourne. I can walk to work every day and come home to a lovingly-prepared hot meal every night – Oh the joy! No scraping the frost off the inside of a bedroom window in some freezing cold, dodgy digs in some unfamiliar town. My own bed every night – bliss.
"Why the caveat of ‘hopefully’, you might wonder? Well, we are still living under the cloud of that Grinch Covid, so all precautions are being taken to keep our panto company healthy, and to keep the show actually running – daily lateral flow tests for all of us, limited socialising outside of our working colleagues, mask-wearing everywhere. The safety of the show must be our first priority for all our sakes. Other panto productions have already lost members to positive tests and self-isolating, so we’re still on thin ice. We need some fun this Christmas, so please support us and come along for a couple of hours of escapism and hysterical antics provided by local comic Tucker and Eastbourne’s favourite Dame, Martyn Knight. Interestingly, Martyn and I are being reunited on stage for the first time in 34 years! We last performed together in my first West End show, South Pacific. Needless to say, neither of us has aged a bit and we still fit into the same clothes!
"I don’t want to linger too long on the sad part of this column, but I want to pay my personal tribute to the theatrical legend, Stephen Sondheim, who died suddenly on November 26th, aged 91. He was the most influential composer of musical theatre from the second half of the 20th century onwards. He had great mentors in family friend, lyricist Oscar Hammerstein and composer Leonard Bernstein. He wrote the lyrics to Bernstein’s West Side Story and Jule Styne’s Gypsy before embarking on a career as composer/lyricist of his own musicals, such as A Little Night Music (which gave us the haunting Send in The Clowns), Into The Woods, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Company and so many more. I’ve always referred to him as the Shakespeare of musical theatre – at first glance his language is difficult and challenging, sometimes impossible, but once you get it (either as a singer or an audience member), it’s immeasurably satisfying. He has shaped modern musical theatre and without him, we wouldn’t have the likes of Rent or Hamilton. He will be greatly missed.
"I would like to wish all readers a very happy and healthy Christmas and let’s all hope for a more positive and uplifting 2022."