Nico DeJesus is ‘carrying the banner’ with Newsies

Nico DeJesus is traveling the continent with the national tour of Newsies.

Nico DeJesus is traveling the continent with the national tour of Newsies.

By Amanda McNulty  

Before “Carrying the Banner” and “Seizing the Day” across the nation, Nico DeJesus auditioned for Disney’s hit musical Newsies. A trained dancer, Nico’s goal was to perform on stage and make a name for himself doing what he loves. After originally auditioning for — and being rejected from — the Broadway show three years ago in L.A, Nico finally got an email to audition for the touring cast. The audition went well, and Nico was cast as Romeo, the “newsie lothario.” For Nico, this was a dream come true, and he has relished in performing this role while touring the country.

We asked Nico about the audition process, and whether or not physical appearance plays an important role in casting a performer. Nico explained that physical appearance can be a double standard during the audition process; it can help or hinder an actor, based on predetermined criteria from the casting directors. Since Newsies is basically an all-dancing show, Nico joked: “I don’t think any of us could have done the show if we were all really fat!”

Through a life filled with constant teasing and bullying about being a male dancer, Nico was able to overcome the put-downs and do what he loves across America.

“I got beat up a lot when I was a little kid in middle school, but honestly, it motivated me even more,” he said. The stereotype that men can’t and shouldn’t be good dancers motivated Nico to push even harder and achieve his dreams.

Ever since Newsies closed on Broadway and the tour cast was announced, Twitter battles had been raging about which cast was better, but to Nico, there’s not really that much of a difference at all!

“There’s just a different energy on stage” he said. Throughout its run on Broadway, Nico said he looked up to the original cast of Newsies like his heroes and he still does. Every new actor takes their role and plays it differently, each with their own special flare. “It’s different. We’re all different people on stage.”

Even though Nico and the newsies have been on tour for a while now, its still shocking to him and the rest of the cast to walk outside and have all the fans know each cast member’s name. Even when Nico was injured and would just wait outside for his fellow cast mates, fans would come up and ask to take pictures with him! According to Nico, his all time ‘craziest’ stage door experience so far was in Miami, when a fan gave him a cookie and he dropped it on the ground…but ate it anyway.

For Nico, a regular day on tour consists of a lot of eating and sleeping!…and of course putting on a show. “My typical day is getting as much rest as I can”. The hardest part about being on tour for Nico DeJesus? The laundry and also the constant moving from place to place. “You never get settled. As soon as you get settled in a place, you just have to move again. Sometimes we have to do a show on a travel day. Travel days are kinda hard. Your body isn’t in the best position to be relaxed.”

Not only is Nico apart of a life-changing show, he also is a part of a life-changing organization called “Get up and Go!” This program travels to schools across America and encourages young girls and boys to stay fit through dance.

“We have them sing ‘Seize the Day’ with us and do the paper dance with us, a modified version, and they don’t really realize that they’re being active through the mode of arts!” Instead of just throwing the kids outside and having them run around, Get Up and go helps the kids stay fit while enjoying and discovering the arts.

His advice to young actors is to always be open to learning new things so that you’re always comfortable doing new things. “You always have to have a bag of tricks with you…you have to be very comfortable with yourself.” When asked what the future holds for Nico DeJesus, he replied, “I’m still relatively young and I’d like to move to New York… I’d like to feel what its like to be on a Broadway stage. That’d be nice!”

Amanda McNulty is a sophomore in our program at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo.

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