Local grad makes it to Broadway
When Sacred Heart Prep alum Nic Rouleau started performing at age 8 in a Peninsula Youth Theatre production in Mountain View, he had dreams of making it to Broadway. Little did he know he would achieve that goal by age 24.
Now 25, Mr. Rouleau is working six days a week as the standby for one of the lead roles in the Broadway hit "The Book of Mormon." Since July, he has appeared as Elder Price more than 40 times at the Eugene O'Neill Theater.
The Tony award-winning musical is an irreverent take on Mormon missionaries working in Africa, as portrayed by the creators of the television show, "South Park."
The musical is sold out through the rest of the year, and Mr. Rouleau expects it to run in New York for many more years.
His contract extends through September, and after that he's hoping "to do the role more full time" in New York. A nationally touring company will be bringing the show to San Francisco in November, and include one member of the Broadway cast, he says.
The blond, 6-foot tall tenor says, "I love performing for people," but acknowledges "it's a tough business; you have to put in a lot of hours."
Mr. Rouleau sang a capella with the quartet Pulse at Sacred Heart Preparatory during his four years there. After graduating in 2005, he went on to study musical theater at New York University's Steinhardt School. An agent signed him on after seeing Mr. Rouleau in a student production his junior year.
He then worked in summer stock theater in New London, New Hampshire, where he recalls, "We made $40 a week, we built all the sets, made all the costumes, rehearsed during the day, and performed at night."
After college, Mr. Rouleau spent a year playing Woody in "Toy Story" for Disney Cruise Line. The following year he toured the country playing Emmett in "Legally Blonde."
A year ago he won a ticket lottery to go see "The Book of Mormon," and remembers walking out and telling a friend he wanted to be in the show someday.
Then, he says: "It really happened quickly. I was in the right place, at the right time, and knew the right people." He auditioned and landed the part of standby.
"I always have to be alert and ready to go on," he explains.
One night he learned at 11 p.m. that he was going to be making his Broadway debut the next day. He notified his parents and they took a red-eye flight cross-country to make it there in time.
Last month when Menlo School drama teacher Beth Orr took a group of 30 students to see the show, Mr. Rouleau played the starring role.
"He was really, really entertaining," says freshman Rebecca Shoch of Woodside. "The best part about him was his facial expressions. They were very exaggerated."
As she prepared for her own part in Menlo School's production of "The Taming of the Shrew," she says she found the musical "different but inspirational."