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1/9/12

Chat it Up: Nick Blaemire

At my last outing at the still-awesome Godspell, I took the stage during the end of the Act I “wine” party. Mind you, I was dressed with some flair - “Fiyero” equestrian pants, boots and suspenders – as if I was a member of the production (which some people did confuse me for…small victories!). I saw Nick Blaemire and George Salazar off to one-side of the stage and went over to say hello. They both took one glance at me and broke out laughing. Nick then proceeded to give me the HIGH-FIVE of all HIGH-FIVES. Seriously, capitalization speaks volumes. I thought I was going to explode like Rocko’s Modern Life.


Clearly a Bro!
You guys…I had a legit “bro” moment. If that does not scream awesomesauce, I do not know what does. Even better, Blaemire was kind enough to get on the phone and chat with me about his 23 projects (or something, I lost count). At any given moment, he is in the Circle in the Square hanging with Jesus and friends, writing music for an EP, recording or mixing in the studio, playing a live show, composing a musical, workshopping a production, taking his girlfriend out on a date, flying overhead and combating crime…you know, a typical day in the life.

Do yourself a favor and check out his website to learn more about him and follow him on Twitter (seriously, he tweets a whole lot of funny stuffs). His talents and passion are immediately evident and I look forward to seeing his career to continue its incline.

NRNW: Thank you for taking your time out for this interview; I know how busy you are.
Nick Blaemire (NB): No worries, man; I appreciate it.

NRNW: Well first, we all want to get to know you a little better. So, what was your first soiree into the arts? Any occasion or something that prompted this desire?
NB: When I was really young, there was a really good community theater and I started doing stuff there when I was three. I sort of attached myself to the community aspect of it and it was a venue for having fun. Somewhere along the way - I was in 7th grade - I did a play at the new middle school where I just started. I didn’t know anybody; I was feeling sort of lonely and immediately, I realized that I had friends in these other characters that I was working on. There was a real connection there with who I was and the idea of making people up.

NRNW: Was it something that just stuck with you all through high school and college?
NB: Yea, it just became more and more fun, the more I learned about it. It is kind of an unlimited reservoir of things learned in terms of all the disciplines of it. It’s been really cool to continue to find myself and the love for the craft and what it has given back to me.

NRNW: It’s funny you said that…I read Playbill’s feature on you and at any given point, you are writing a book [for a show], writing musicals, performing your own music, a reading, workshop…performing in a show eight times a week. Do you actually have any hobbies outside of your artistic ventures?
NB: Yea, I definitely do. I love skiing, I love playing sports…I don’t actually get to do them much these days because I am fortunate enough to be working a lot…but, I have buddies and I used to play softball every Sunday during the spring and summer. I try to get my girlfriend out on a date every so often as well.

NRNW: (Laughs) I’m sure she fits into the picture somewhere.
NB: Exactly.

NRNW: Do you ever foresee yourself putting together a production or a film where you directed, produced, wrote, starred in…did the lighting…?
NB: Absolutely, absolutely…that is absolutely the dream, to try and find something that combines all of these aspects. I would love to write the score for the movie and write the movie, as well as try to find the way to use all of these other disciplines in one unified place.

NRNW: Is it some desire to have creative control over everything or…?
NB: (Laughs) You know, it’s interesting. I was saying before about the loneliness thing when I was a kid. That was a big thing, like feeling kind of socially outside of the circle of the cool kids. One of the things that I realized is that the best part about being in the arts is the community of people who (A) also probably felt like that when they were younger and (B) are really willing to try to find a unified vision. To me, I do definitely have a control freak part of my artistic personality. It really goes with anything I do and working with people who are interested in pushing me just as much as I push them.

Yoga sucks! But c'mon, this photo is hilarious;
of course I'd add it in.
NRNW: That’s great! Now, on to Godspell…did you have any inclination that this revival would become such a hit with its unique staging, its updated score and everything?
NB: It’s been really fun; nah, I am not surprised. I am really proud of it and I think the people that are coming to see it have been really kind and really responsive, yourself included. I am really excited to see how people continue to react to it into the new year.

NRNW: Do you have any weird epiphanies during “We Beseech Thee” like “what am I doing” or “am I actually on a trampoline?” or something?
NB: (Laughs) It’s funny; I definitely spend a lot of my life feeling like I am outside of the moment and that is one where if I am not in that moment, I am gonna fall off that trampoline. The minute I get up, I am like “stay focused, don’t think about anything else or you are going to die.”

NRNW: Yes, that’s true. You know, the entire cast gets up and it is very physical. It looks somewhat cathartic and that is saying something because the entire show has a lot of energy. That moment is like, “oh really; let’s through trampolines into the mix!”
NB: Exactly, as if there was no where else to go. It is really an energetic cast and it has been really cathartic just on the level of…you know, I don’t have to go for runs anymore because I get my cardio at work.

NRNW: Does any other number in the show resonate as a personal favorite? Is there a moment that you are excited for?
NB: I love “Prepare Ye;” I love jumping into that water and I love singing that along with everybody. It really is a defining moment for all of us. I also love “Beautiful City;” I think the lyrics are perfect and I think the staging of it and the way we kind of transition from being kids to being adults in that moment is a real fun one.

NRNW: It’s funny you mention “Beautiful City” because many stage adaptations don’t include that number, even though it was in the movie. The moment I heard Hunter [Parrish] sing it, I thought the song was so perfectly suited for him. The number had to be in the show.
NB: It really was. The moment we first heard him sing it too, we were all “Oh God, this is really gonna work.”

NRNW: Definitely, definitely. So, amongst your other projects, you are recording with The Hustle and is there a release date on the EP?
NB: We do not; I am thinking it will probably be early February. We are in the middle of mixing it right now and it has been incredibly exciting and I can’t wait for people to hear it.. It’s very different then anything else that I have been involved in and it has been awesome. The producers are super smart and do a lot of R&B, funk and soul records. That is what we are going for on this one, so hopefully people will enjoy it.

NRNW: Is there a message or a takeaway you want when people hear your music? From what I have heard on YouTube, it pulls a lot from different genres. It’s very interesting!
NB: Thanks! We are trying to find our own; I mean, I feel like all the people tend to say that. Everyone is blending their influences into hopefully something unusual. For this, it is about the idea that pop music has musical and lyrical merit and not just throw-away songs that have a fast-beat. We are trying to do something that mixes the intricacies of music and has a potential opportunity to say something more.

NRNW: And you’ve played at Ars Nova and stuff; do you have any other live performances upcoming or projects upcoming?
NB: I don’t exactly know; I think we are going to do a couple more shows with The Hustle in the next couple months. We have not picked anything yet…and yea, I am continuing to do a ton of new work, meetings and workshops in the next months and looking to see where that stems off.

NRNW: So, what’s it like to be the busiest man on Broadway?
NB: I feel very lucky!

NRNW: I’m glad, I’m glad. I actually have a friend who texted me wanting to know - does Hunter Parrish gives good hugs?
NB: (Laughs) He is a very friendly, good hugging man. Absolutely.

NRNW: (Laughs) Good, good. Thank you so much again for your time!
NB: Thanks so much man; take care!


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