WHEN I GROW UP: Niles Fitch Makes the Leap from Pride Rock to “This Is Us”

niles-fitch-interview

Welcome back to When I Grow Up, where we interview entertainment pros with Broadway kid roots!

Niles Fitch made his Broadway debut in The Lion King after touring with the show across the country. After adding an Off-Broadway credit to his name with Our Lady of Kibeho, he began popping up on shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Army Wives, and Best Friends Whenever. Currently he reoccurs as the teenage version of Randall Pearson on NBC’s breakout freshman series This Is Us follows a group of people whose lives intertwine more than audiences expect. The show garnered a nomination for Best Television Series – Drama at the Golden Globes and NBC has already renewed the show for a second and third season. We are so excited to interview Niles via email to discuss his Broadway career and This Is Us! Catch the season finale tonight at 9/8c on NBC.

How did you entertainment career begin?
I always liked to take pictures and started print modeling in Atlanta at 4 years old. My first job was a Back to School ad for Parisian dept. store.

Niles taking his last bow with The Lion King

Niles taking his last bow with The Lion King

What was a typical day like while on tour versus on Broadway?
On Broadway I was living at home so I caught the subway to and from Times Square every day. On tour I was in a different city every month and I lived in different apartments and hotels on the road with my family. There were more rehearsals because of different staging at the different theaters. Both were a lot of fun.

Describe your Broadway debut
At first I was a little nervous because it was Broadway, but when I got on stage it immediately felt natural and fun just like the tour shows. My Lion King tour family was very supportive and sent me a debut big gift of fruit and my new Lion King Broadway family made me feel welcomed.

Did you get to interact with other Broadway kids?
The other Lion King kids and I interacted a lot.

Now let’s move on to “This Is Us.” What is the audition process like for someone to play a younger version of a main character?
Exact same as other auditions. I guess the difference would be the young actor is asked to read for the role because he/she resembles the adult character.

How often do you get to see Sterling and Lonnie?
Worked with Sterling in Season 7 of Army Wives so had met him before, but haven’t seen him in person yet during This Is Us. Just text messaging between us. See Lonnie when we film on the same day and off the set for events. Glad to be the teen version of them, both are the BEST!

Niles with his castmates - Back row: Mandy Moore (Rebecca), Logan Shroyer (15 year old Kevin), Niles, Hannah Zeile (15 year old Kate), Milo Ventimiglia (Jack) Front row: Parker Bates (9 year old Kevin), Lonnie Bates (9 year old Randall), Mackenzie Hancsicsak (9 year old Kate)

Niles with his castmates – Back row: Mandy Moore (Rebecca), Logan Shroyer (15 year old Kevin), Niles, Hannah Zeile (15 year old Kate), Milo Ventimiglia (Jack)
Front row: Parker Bates (9 year old Kevin), Lonnie Bates (9 year old Randall), Mackenzie Hancsicsak (9 year old Kate)

What was it like filming the scene in which teenage Randall has a panic attack (view a brief clip here)?
Difficult at first because I wanted to portray what some people experience and make it look real. When we started filming it got easier and easier. Mr. Milo was really supportive too. He treated me just like a dad would treat a son in that scene, with a lot of compassion and love.

There are so many people who feel a personal connection with “This Is Us”. Is there a fan encounter (either online or in person) that sticks out among the rest?
Met the Twitter This Is Us Fan Crew at a screening and they were really awesome!

Is there any other area of the industry you want to try next (producing, writing, etc.)?
Photography and Directing

Do you have advice for kids or teens who want to pursue acting?
Read a lot. Don’t overthink it, always be yourself. Bring your unique self to every role.

SPEED ROUND

Favorite thing to do in NYC
Catch the subway everywhere.

Favorite food to eat in NYC
Pizza

Broadway dream role
Mufasa in The Lion King

If you could swap roles with anyone on Broadway (male or female) right now for one night only, who would it be?
Mufasa in The Lion King

If someone wrote a musical about your life, what would it be called and what would be the name of its show-stopping number?
The Early Years of Niles Fitch
Showstopping Number – Way Back When by Brenda Russell

Thank you SO much to Niles and his mother Nakata for taking the time to answer our questions! You can catch a sneak peek at tonight’s finale below.

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO Opening Night Coverage, FINDING NEVERLAND on GMA, and more!

Doctor Zhivago

There is a TON of photo coverage from Doctor Zhivago‘s opening night! Check it out on Broadway.com, BroadwayWorld.com, TheaterMania.com, and Playbill.com. Also, check out pictures from the opening night after party on BroadwayWorld.com!

The company of Finding Neverland performed on Good Morning America this morning! Check out the article on Broadway.com and the video of the performance below:


ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos
Congratulations to Meg Donnelly (The Sound of Music LIVE), who has booked a Clean & Clear commercial!

Check out new review quotes on our page for The King and I!

Christie Kim (The King and I) is highlighted in a great new article! Check it out on NorthJersey.com!

Sydney Lucas (Fun Home) and Jake Lucas (The King and I) were also featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article! Check it out on WSJ.com!

Sydney Lucas also got a shout out on Studio 360’s blog entry about Fun Home! Check it out on Studio360.org!

The Drama Desk Award Nominations were announced today; The Audience, The City of Conversation, Finding Neverland, The King and I, and Our Lady of Kibeho all scored nominations! Check out the full list of nominations that our featured productions received HERE!

Elizabeth Teeter and Sadie Sink (The Audience) did a really cute interview together on Broadway.com! Take a look at it HERE.

Make sure you have your tickets to Cabaret for a Cause in LA and NYC, both featuring many Broadway kids! The NYC cabaret, which will take place on April 27, is almost sold out! Get tickets and more information on CabaretForACause.us.

Mia Sinclair Jenness (Les Miserables) joined the #MAKEITFAIR movement, which works to increase gender equality in the entertainment industry! Check out a video for the movement, featuring Mia, below:

Check out photo coverage from this year’s Easter Bonnet competition on Playbill.com! Congratulations to Fish in the Dark (featuring Rachel Resheff), which raised the most money out of all the Broadway plays!

And here is a picture from Olivia Chun of The King and I!

 

BREAKING: Drama Desk Award Nominations!

City of ConversationThe nominations for the Drama Desk Awards have been announced! View the full list of nominees over at TheatreMania.com. We have a full breakdown of our featured shows and their nominations down below (*Note: Fun Home was recognized for its Off-Broadway run last year making it ineligible this year):

The Audience – 2
-Outstanding Actress in a Play
-Outstanding Costume Design

The City of Conversation – 3
-Outstanding Play
-Outstanding Actress in a Play
-Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

Finding Neverland – 2
-Outstanding Actor in a Musical
-Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

The King and I – 2
-Outstanding Revival of a Musical
-Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical

Our Lady of Kibeho – 3
-Outstanding Lighting Design
-Outstanding Projection Design
-Outstanding Sound Design in a Play

Lucille Lortel Nominations Announced, Updated Cabaret for a Cause Lineups, and more!

The Lucille Lortel Awards Nominations were announced today! Congratulations to brownsville song (b-side for tray), City of Conversation, The Nether, The Library, Our Lady of Kibeho, and Punk Rock, all of which received nominations, as well as the other nominated productions. Special congratulations to Sophia Anne Caruso (The Sound of Music LIVE), who was nominated for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in The Nether! You can check out the list of nominations of the productions we feature HERE, and the full list of all productions HERE.

Cabaret for a Cause has announced updated lineups for its upcoming NYC and LA performances. The NYC show will be on April 27th, 2015, and the LA show will be on June 1st, 2015. You can get tickets for both on CabaretForACause.us. Check out the lineups of performers below:

Congratulations to Jete Laurence (Number the Stars), who has booked a role on an upcoming TV series and gets to act alongside her dad!

Ashley Brooke, Sophia Gennusa (Matilda), Jonah Halperin (Matilda, Kinky Boots), and Ava-Riley Miles (Evita) of Doctor Zhivago were interviewed for an article–check it out on TheaterMania.com!

Congrats to Noah Unger (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), who will appear on “The Late Show with David Letterman” this week!

And here are pictures and videos from the kids of The Lion King, The King and I, Fun Home, and Matilda!

AFTER A GREAT SHOW, I GET TO MEET THE AWESOME GUEST AND SIGN AUTOGRAPHS.WWW.KLYNNJACKMAN.COM

Posted by KLYNN-Public Figure on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A VIDEO AFTER A GREAT SHOW, I GET TO MEET THE AWESOME GUEST AND SIGN AUTOGRAPHS.WWW.KLYNNJACKMAN.COM

Posted by KLYNN-Public Figure on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

BREAKING: Lucille Lortel Nominations Announced; Sophia Anne Caruso Receives Nom!

The Nether The Lucille Lortel nominations were just announced! HUGE congratulations to Sophia Anne Caruso who is nominated for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for her work in The Nether. You can read the full list of nominations at BroadwayWorld.com or if you want to just view the nominations for our featured productions, you can view the list below. Congratulations to all the nominees!

 

 

brownsville song (b-side for tray) – 1
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

City of Conversation – 2
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

The Nether – 5
Outstanding Play
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Outstanding Scenic Design
Outstanding Lighting Design
Outstanding Sound Design

The Library – 1
Outstanding Lighting Design

Our Lady of Kibeho – 2
Outstanding Director
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play

Punk Rock – 2
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Outstanding Lighting Design

Elizabeth Teeter in THE AUDIENCE, 2014 Best of Theatre Lists, and more!

Congratulations to Elizabeth Teeter (Mary Poppins), who will be returning to Broadway to play Young Elizabeth in The Audience, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth!

Congratulations also to Mothers and Sons and City of Conversation, both of which made Advocate.com’s Top 10 New York Theater of 2014 list! Check out the full list HERE!

City of Conversation and Our Lady Kibeho both made Huffington Post’s Best of Theatre 2014 list! Congrats to both productions! Check out the full list HERE.

It was announced today that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock will open on Broadway in December 2015! Read the full article HERE.

The Von Trapp kids from The Sound of Music LIVE were featured on NBC Nightly News for their concert at 54 Below! Check out the video below:

 

Kinky Boots will be holding a nationwide open casting call for the Broadway and touring productions! Click HERE for details!

Zachary Unger (Newsies) will make his next concert appearance on December 20! Get more information HERE!

Parents of currently featured kids and alumni: To find out how to contribute to the website, click HERE!

And here are pictures from the kids of The Lion King, Les Miserables, Fun Home, and Matilda!

SOUL DOCTOR Opening Night, Mia Sinclair Jenness’s Birthday, and more!

soul-doctor-bal

Congratulations to Dylan Boyd, Hayden Wall, and the entire cast of Soul Doctor on opening night tonight! Break legs!

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We also want to wish a very happy birthday to Mia Sinclair Jenness (Les Miserables). We hope your day was great, Mia!

Tonight, three shows close: On a Stool at the End of the Bar, Our Lady of Kibeho, and Punk Rock. Congratulations to all three on their closing performances and fantastic runs! To Zachary Brod, Niles Fitch, and Sophie Shapiro–we can’t wait to see what’s next!

Tonight, at 7/6c, ABC is airing “Backstage with Disney on Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years.” Tune in to check it out!

Click HERE to check out photo coverage of the kids (and adults!) of Matilda recording “One Good Thing” for the Carols for a Cure 2014 album!

Click HERE to check out pictures of Abigail Shapiro (Liberty, How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Emerson Steele (Violet), and more rehearsing, performing, and behind the scenes of the concert version of Andrew Lippa’s A Little Princess! The concert was presented December 8, 2014, at 54 Below, but you still have one more chance to see it coming up–December 16, 2014! Click HERE for tickets!

Click HERE to see pictures from the lab of August Rush, featuring Grace Capeless (Matilda, A Christmas Story), Ethan Khusidman (Soul Doctor, Chaplin), and Deandre Sevon!

Check out this new video clip from the Annie movie, featuring Eden Duncan-Smith (The Lion King):

And here are pictures and videos from the kids of Matilda, The Lion King, Fun Home, Les Miserables, and Kinky Boots!

Special Thanksgiving Schedule for Broadway/Off-Broadway Shows, A LITTLE PRINCESS Behind the Scenes Video, and more!

Make sure to look at the special schedule for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows this week because of Thanksgiving, especially if you’re planning to see a show this week! You can see the schedule HERE.

Check out this great behind-the-scenes video of Abigail Shapiro and Andrew Lippa, preparing for the A Little Princess concert at 54 Below!

Another great video to watch: Jake Lucas (Peter Pan LIVE, Newsies) and his siblings made their own promo song for Peter Pan LIVE!

And here’s a video from Timothy TV Cao (Matilda) of the kids of Matilda the Musical singing the National Anthem at the Giants game!

 

Check out the Capezio website, where Kayla Mak (Radio City Christmas Spectacular) is featured!

And here are pictures from the kids of Our Lady of Kibeho/The Lion King and Peter Pan LIVE, and lots of pictures from the Matilda kids at the Giants game!


 

Day in the Life of Abigail Shapiro, ROBIN HOOD Coming to Broadway, and more!

Abigail Shapiro Abigail Shapiro (Liberty) shared a day in her life with Playbill.com! Go with her throughout her day HERE as she spends time with her family and go behind the scenes at Liberty.

The Heart of Robin Hood, the prequel to Robin Hood, is coming to Broadway in March 2015! The A.R.T. production featured Andrew Cekala (Pippin) and Claire Candela (Once at NYTW). The upcoming Canadian production, which will transfer to Broadway, features Anna BartlamMeGuire McRae-King, Jared Yap, and Tristan Mackid. No word on if they will transfer with the production. Opening night is set for March 29th.

A new promo for Making of Peter Pan LIVE has been released. It looks like John Allyn and Jake Lucas will be featured! Watch below:

And here are pictures and videos from the kids of Matilda, The King and I, Liberty, The Lion King, Our Lady of Kibeho, and Peter Pan LIVE!

Sam Poon (Macbeth) singing a Beatles tune!
 


 

A LITTLE PRINCESS Concert Casting, OUR LADY OF KIBEHO Extended, and more!

Additional casting for the concert presentation of Andrew Lippa’s A Little Princess at 54 Below has been announced. Congratulations to Emerson Steele (Violet), Emma Howard (Matilda, Violet), Paige Brady (Matilda), Ava Ulloa (Matilda), and Mavis Simpson-Ernst (Evita), who have all been cast. Check out the page for the event HERE.

 

 

Congratulations to the cast of Our Lady of Kibeho on the show’s extension through December 14th!!

It was also announced that Rachel Arianna (Number the Stars), among others, will appear in the next A Time to Shine cabaret. Congratulations, Rachel!

Congrats also to Analise Scarpaci (Matilda), who booked a new voiceover gig!

Please give a warm welcome to Brett Gray, who will be a Ben alt. in Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

Check out an exclusive video of On a Stool at the End of the Bar HERE!

Check out this article about Broadway Stars in Concert, featuring many kids from different Broadway shows. Proceeds from the event will benefit the 12.14 Foundation.

Check out photos HERE from the reveal of Christopher Sieber’s portrait at Sardi’s, featuring the kids of Matilda!

Also check out this adorable article about Sophie Knapp (Once)!

Check out this video of Lilla Crawford (Annie, Billy Elliot) from the Into the Woods movie!

Finally, check out these photos from the kids of The Lion King, Peter Pan LIVE, Matilda, A Christmas Memory, Liberty, and Broadway Kids Care.