A career that has spanned nearly two decades started as a way just to get him out of the house.
His parents had a love for theater and the arts, but as any other 8-year-old child can attest, he really did not feel the same way. That, however, was soon to change.
“It was something to divert my extra energy,” Trevor Dion Nicholas said. “My dad took me down to the Mon Arts Center, he was like ‘Hey, try this class,’ and I absolutely loved it.”
Nicholas, a Morgantown native, graduate of Morgantown High School and WVU, is now on his second Broadway production. He has since relocated to London for work, but living and working abroad wasn’t new to him after going on tour while still in school at WVU.
“I was on tour with the musical ‘Big River’ and so we went all over the U.S., through some parts of Canada,” Nicholas said. “I was young and had no idea what the hell I was doing, but I had a great time.”
Until his move to London, Nicholas lived much of a nomadic lifestyle — constantly being on the move and going anywhere he could for auditions. This consisted of moving to Florida following his graduation from WVU, where he was cast in “Festival of the Lion King” as part of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
From Florida, Nicholas would go back and forth to New York for auditions, and at certain points after school, he once again lived in West Virginia. From there, he would make the trip north in hopes of landing a role.
“It was a lot of being willing to go wherever for auditions for the actual work,” Nicholas said. “If I booked a regional gig, it was like, ‘OK, I’m gonna go to Utah for six months to do this show. OK, I’m gonna go to Florida to do this show.’ It was very much a lot of that.”
Possibly the most important role of his young career came when he was cast as the understudy for the Genie in Broadway’s “Aladdin.”
“After a few months of me as a cover [in ‘Aladdin’], they asked if I wanted to come to London and open the West End production of that,” Nicholas said.
For three-and-a-half years, Nicholas portrayed the Genie and, for three-and-a-half years, his face was “all over” London on posters and signs advertising the play.
Following “Aladdin’s” run, Nicholas had five weeks before auditions for “Hamilton” began.
He went into the audition specifically for the role of George Washington and the process was spread out over a few months. His “flexibility and capability” were tested during the auditions, to show how he would react during a show, and he landed the role of the nation’s first president.
Nicholas made his “Hamilton” debut Nov. 18 and has since been doing eight shows per week. There are no Sunday performances of the show, but this is made up for with two performances on Thursdays and Saturdays and one every other day of the week.
The show has an open-ended run with no plans to stop — “who knows how long” it will run, Nicholas said — but being only three weeks into his new role, it’s all still very fresh and exciting to him.
The five-week gap in between “Aladdin” and “Hamilton” was the longest of his career, but knowing the love and passion he still has for his profession, he wants it to continue as long as it can.
“At some point, that 8-year-old kid that got so attached to that feeling of being on stage, that’s still all in there, and so it’s still exciting and exhilarating,” Nicholas said. “You get up there, the lights go. You feel the audience before you see them or hear them and that is the most addictive thing that I have ever experienced. It’s why I don’t think I could do anything else. That exhilaration of being up there and performing is what I live for.”