A DECADE ago, Nicholas Collins appeared in his first production with Orange Theatre Company.
In April, the talented 18-year-old will gain his first professional credit, as A-Rab in Opera Australia’s tour of West Side Story.
Collins recently completed his HSC and owes his running start to spending the past two years at Brent Street Academy.
There, he was able to balance his academic studies with performing under the watchful eye of the likes of Matt Lee and Kelley Abbey, of So You Think You Can Dance fame.
I think I’ve had quite a run of luck – I’m lucky to have landed a job straight out of year 12, but I guess the hard work is paying off.Nic Collins
Asked how he had found the industry so far, Collins said he felt fortunate.
“I think I’ve had quite a run of luck – I’m lucky to have landed a job straight out of year 12, but I guess the hard work is paying off,” he said.
Collins insisted on auditioning for the role, taking on 200 hopefuls for his role alone.
“There were singing, dancing and acting callbacks and as the callbacks went on, it filtered down to 20 in one room,” he said.
VIDEO: Opera Australia’s preview of the production ...
West Side Story is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, where two ethnic gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, vie for supremacy in the streets of New York City’s Upper West Side and two young people from opposite camps fall in love with tragic consequences.
Collins said his character of A-Rab is part of the Jets.
“A-Rab is full of charisma, he’s rough and rugged, he’s got a heart of gold and he’s mischievous,” he said.
Collins said the musical was one of his all-time favourites and particularly looked forward to performing Jerome Robbins’ original, Tony Award-winning choreography.
He started performing at the age of eight with Orange Theatre Company, appearing in Mame, The Wizard of Oz, Seussical the Musical, Hairspray and Mary Poppins.
He was also in James Sheahan’s productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Grease.
West Side Story will open in Melbourne on April 6 before touring Asia and Germany and returning to Sydney on August 16, playing until October 6.
“It really started my love of musical theatre,” he said.
The run will take 10 months.
“Being part of such a large musical ensemble, there’s a large group of guys and usually there’s not as many male dancers as female dancers, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Collins said.
Tickets are available through Opera Australia.
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