by Lorie Lewis Ham
The Lion King comes through Fresno next week and will be performing at the William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno from November 28-December 9. We were able to chat recently with one of its stars, Nick Cordileone, who plays Timon.
KRL: Where are you from?
Nick: I was born in San Diego. I spent some formative years in Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Flagstaff before returning to San Diego to meet my wife, Amy, and start our family with our daughter Hero. We currently live in Hoboken, NJ.
KRL: When did you first become interested in acting?
Nick: I loved movies and T.V. growing up. I remember always wanting to be the characters I saw on screen. At around 6 or 7, I learned that the people presenting the characters and stories I was drawn to were artists practicing a craft (I don’t think I knew the terms at that point). As soon as I found that out, I worked to get better at professional pretend.
KRL: What was the first role that you ever played?
Nick: There was a church play called A Certain Small Shepherd. I think I was 7, the perfect age for said shepherd.
KRL: What are some of the roles you have played professionally?
Nick: I’ve been very fortunate to make a living doing what I love, a fact that can never be taken for granted. I’ve played Henry 6, Hamlet, Laertes, Raskolnikov, and Astrov. Those are some favorites…
KRL: Why did you want to be in The Lion King, and was Timon the role you were hoping for?
Nick: I was actually helping the casting director for LK as a reader. I would read all of the parts opposite folks who were auditioning. Early on, he asked if I would want to be considered. I thought, “of course I do!” but had never imagined it becoming a reality.
KRL: What do you like best about playing this role?
Nick: I love that it is multifaceted. The scene work, the vocal expression and agility required, the ridiculously expressive puppet… I love the company and the travel. So much to love.
KRL: What has been the biggest challenge in playing this role?
Nick: It is very physical so creating a performance that is repeatable and safe takes mindfulness. We perform 52 weeks a year, so those of us that carry extra costumes, masks, or puppets have to be extra careful to stay healthy and balanced.
KRL: What have you done to prepare for this role?
Nick: I’ve spent a lot of time in front of mirrors trying to find the best way to make Timon come alive. We have directors, dance supervisors, and a puppet crew that all have eyes on the show to help put our best foot forward. But those mirrors are invaluable.
KRL: How long does it take you to get ready before the show? Is there a lot of special makeup for this role?
Nick: I usually get to the theater an hour before curtain up. I warm up physically and vocally. As soon as the show starts, I go to makeup to have a green face applied by a make-up artist. The make-up combined with a green jumpsuit facilitates me “blending in to the grass” behind the puppet. I also have a great wig.
KRL: What is a typical day like for you while in this touring show?
Nick: There is a lot of driving from city to city for my family. My daughter often travels with me so many days are filled with homeschool. We also get to learn what makes each city unique, sites, parks, museums, escape rooms, dog parks for my miniature schnauzer!
KRL: Anything that you would like to add?
Nick: Just that we are excited to get to play in Fresno! I love California but have never been able to spend much time here. I am looking forward to learning what makes this city special. Thanks so much!!
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