Billy Elliot Actor Traces Roots to Riverside
The award-winning musical
Billy Elliot launched its national tour at the Durham Performing Arts
Center(DPAC) on Sat., Oct. 30. Among the talented cast is Riverside
graduate Nathan Scherich.
Scherich, was born and raised in Durham. His father Henry Scherich is the founder and CEO of Measurement Inc., one of Durham’s largest employers.
“It’s great to be back home. I haven’t spent much time here since I graduated high school. But it’s fun to see how so many things have changed since then. I had never even stepped foot in DPAC before we arrived for the show,” Scherich said.
Scherich began his performing career in Durham.
“I started musical theater at Riverside. I went to Vanderbilt in Nashville for pre-med and a math degree but took part in an acting group in my spare time,” Scherich said.
Since then, Scherich has found roles in a couple hit musicals. Prior to Billy Elliot, he was a cast-member and the understudy for two lead roles in the Broadway National Tour: Jersey Boys.
“Jersey Boys is another Broadway hit. I was cast in New York to join their national tour and did that for about two and a half years. However, eventually, I auditioned for Billy Elliot wanting something new and left the production,” Scherich said.
Billy Elliot has proved to be another successful and fulfilling production for Scherich. It was a large coincidence that the tour was decided to begin in his hometown.
“There isn’t really one specific reason for why the DPAC was chosen to launch the tour. It was for a number of reasons. For one, the play takes place in Durham County, England, so this being Durham, NC they felt somewhat of a connection,” Scherich said.
The musical, adapted from the 2000 film and set to music by Elton John, has attracted many visitors to DPAC for the showings the past few weeks.
“Billy Elliot is about the coming of age story of a twelve year old boy during the coal miner’s strike in Britain in the eighties. There were over 200 thousand men on strike, it was this huge class thing. In the show, I play one of the coal miners on strike,” Scherich said.
“It is a fictional story, centered around true
events, about this young boy who wants to be a ballet dancer. His
parents don’t really accept it,” Scherich said.
As one of Riverside’s true success stories, Scherich offers this advice for aspiring acting and musical theater students.
“I would encourage people to get involved outside of school or, if they can, audition for outdoor shows in North Carolina, anything that is hiring young actors. In addition, if you are interested in musical theater especially, take dance classes. Singing, acting and dancing are important and the more experience you have in all three the better,” Scherich said.
“If you can play an instrument, be sure to
practice it. For me, I got my role in Jersey Boys because I could play
the guitar, it was kind of a deciding factor.”
Though the cast and crew has concluded their stay in Durham, they continue their tour in Cleveland, OH. Scherich plans to continue the Billy Elliot tour in the coming months. He lives in Queens, NY with his wife Allison, and says in the future it would be ideal to do a regional show in New York. “However, in this business, it is really hard to plan those things,” Scherich said.
By Ambrielle Moore