The recent announcement that the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! is to close early was, let’s be honest, not that big of a surprise to anyone. Following that news was the immediate speculation about what show would replace it at the Piccadilly Theatre. This week it was revealed that the touring production of Dirty Dancing would make the West End theatre its home. Starring Paul-Michael Jones and Jill Winternitz as Johnny and ‘Baby’, the touring production has been travelling around the UK since 2011, following its closure at the Aldwych Theatre where it had played for nearly five years. It is currently playing to audiences in Woking. To celebrate the West End return of Dirty Dancing, this week’s In Profile shines the spotlight on ensemble member Callum Nicol.
The Scottish performer was born and bred in Aberdeen, which is where he started his journey to a career on the stage. He began his training at the Karen Berry School of Dance in his home country before moving to London to continue his training at the London Studio Centre, where he graduated in July 2004 with a BA Hons degree in theatre dance as part of the Jazz Company. Since then, he has been racking up his theatre credits, making appearances in a multitude of theatrical stage productions, both in and out of the West End.
Nicol has performed in several West End musicals and is perhaps best remembered by fans of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. He was part of the original London production at the Palace Theatre prior to its closure on New Years Eve in 2011, appearing in the ensemble and covering Oliver Thornton in the leading role of Adam/Felicia. It was as a Priscilla cast member that he appeared in the annual MADTrust event West End Bares, performing a burlesque-style routine in the show and also raising over £1,600 for the charity to date. Priscilla: Queen of the Desert is just one of the West End shows Nicol has been involved with. He was also part of the stage musical of Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre, where he is soon to return to. He played Vince Fontaine and Teen Angel in the musical, as well as understudying the principal role of Danny Zuko’s second-in-command of The T-Birds, Kenickie. He has also performed extensively in Chicago, having been part of the West End company at the Cambridge Theatre and also for the 10th Anniversary Gala and the UK and International tour. He was a swing in the show and also played the role of newspaper reporter Mary Sunshine.
Nicol gained further touring experience as part of the 25th Anniversary UK and international touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Cats, in which he played Admetus, Macavity and Skimbleshanks. He can also add the Royal Albert Hall to his list of venues he has performed at, having been involved in Chess in Concert there alongside the likes of Kerry Ellis, Idina Menzel, Marti Pellow and Josh Groban in 2008, and the popular extravaganza of Classical Spectacular, which celebrates the very best in classical music.
His other theatre projects include the musical Vampirette at the Manchester Opera House, Dreamdances at the Peacock Theatre and Dance Overture at the Shaw Theatre and New Wimbledon Theatre. He was also a solo vocalist in Wonderful West End (BAF) and played the Prince in the panto production of Jack and the Beanstalk at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen. The highly skilled dancer has also made various television appearances, performing on such programmes as Everybody Dance Now and Grease is the Word, and can even include an on-screen role in the film Finding Neverland, which starred Johnny Depp.
Nicol is now appearing part of the touring production of Dirty Dancing, playing Robbie Gould in his ensemble role and also understudying the lead role of dancer Johnny Castle, having played the role onstage on a number of occasions. He is currently on a rest from the show as he recovers from spinal surgery following a back injury.
Callum Nicols is a true triple-threat stage performer who has amassed a widely varied and impressive list of theatre credits since completing his training. He should certainly be proud of what he has achieved so far and I can imagine that there will be much more for him to be proud of in the future.
You can follow Callum on twitter: (@callumnic)
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 11th May 2013