SunRidge student makes New York City debut

Sixth-grader Nicholas Novak was one of 50 young singers who took the stage at Radio City Musical Hall for its Sounds of Christmas program.

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  • | 10:07 a.m. December 13, 2018
Nicholas Novak made his Radio City Debut on Sunday, Dec. 9.
Nicholas Novak made his Radio City Debut on Sunday, Dec. 9.
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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When Nicholas Novak told his mom last year he wanted to audition for the school play at Lake Whitney Elementary, she was taken by surprise. Being on stage seemed out of place for her shy son, but it’s where he found his voice. That voice got him to the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York Sunday, Dec. 9.

“The play last year was when he really, really got interested in theater and performing (on stage) and things like that,” his mom, Deanna Novak, said, adding that he also was in the school’s chorus. “Quite frankly, we were shocked, because he was always super shy and quiet, so when he told us he wanted to audition for the school play, we were very, very surprised but very encouraging.”

Nicholas, 12, is now a sixth-grader at SunRidge Middle School. He was one of 50 young singers from around the country selected by Camp Broadway to sing in the Camp Broadway Kids Ensemble at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The ensemble performed a five-minute a cappella medley of classic holiday songs during the pre-show of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Nicholas Novak, center, was all smiles as he sang at Radio City.
Nicholas Novak, center, was all smiles as he sang at Radio City.

“I started to get interested in acting and singing just last year, and it’s been my passion ever since,” Nicholas said before leaving for the performance. “Over time, I learned to love the singing. At first, I liked the blocking — (which is) the walking, the talking and acting. It’s basically the talking and acting of the performance and how the characters communicate with each other.”

Deanna said Nicholas was cast for the role of Young Simba in Lake Whitney Elementary’s production of “The Lion King” last school year. Her son caught the acting bug after that performance, and it has helped him come out of his shell. In just one year since that performance, Deanna has witnessed a boost in her son’s confidence and self-esteem.

“The confidence that we’ve seen in him in just the past year that this has happened … is just amazing,” Deanna said. “My mom was like, ‘Where did this kid come from?’  because he was so painfully shy for so long. … (Now) he loves talking about what plays he’s doing.”

His Radio City debut may be over, but Nicholas won’t be away from the stage for too much longer. He will be auditioning in January for Acting Up Academy’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” 

“He has definitely found his passion, and it’s wonderful to see,” Deanna said. “To see the confidence build in him, that part to me has been amazing. … The way he carries himself and the way he jokes and talks is very outgoing.”


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