Nick Jonas
New Jersey's Pop Star Takes on Broadway
By Terri Akman

Nick Jonas as J. Pierrepont Finch in Broadway’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”

It’s hard to believe the little brother of the Jonas Brothers’ boy band is all grown up. At 19, Nick Jonas, who grew up in New Jersey, has carved out his own niche beyond that of a pop sensation.

Soft-spoken and surprisingly humble, Jonas is eagerly tackling new ventures.

Currently, he’s performing the lead role of J. Pierrepont Finch in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” on Broadway. Jonas has tough shoes to fill, coming after Daniel Radcliffe, a.k.a. Harry Potter, and Darren Criss of “Glee” fame. But he insists he’s up for the challenge.

“There have been so many amazing actors who have played the role, and I’m absolutely thrilled to do it myself,” Jonas says. “It’s one of those roles you can really take ownership of, because it is a leading role set up now for a younger leading man. It’s a great opportunity for me.”

To become a lean, mean, dancing machine, Jonas dove head first into the role, even changing his diet. “I cut out things that would weigh me down, because there’s quite a lot of dancing in the show,” he says. “I want to stay light on my feet and ready to give the best performance I can every night. I cut out red meat and started prioritizing eating more lean protein and things that will help me keep my stamina up during the show. I’ve also been drinking quite a bit of coffee.”

Jonas is no stranger to being vigilant about his health. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 13, he has always followed a careful diet. He even has a special pouch that holds both his mic and insulin pump during the show. “The disease affects me in a major way,” he says. “It’s something that I live with every day. I’ve always tried to speak openly about it and hopefully give some encouragement and inspiration to other people living with diabetes. I know how tough the fight can be on a daily basis. A lot of people need to hear when they’re first diagnosed that they’re not alone. It can be overwhelming.”

Lending his voice to diabetes awareness is just one of the many things on the young celebrity’s hectic schedule. A triple threat as an actor, singer and dancer, he says he doesn’t have a favorite discipline. “Each one of the opportunities I’ve been able to pursue has been so different and requires a different skill set.”

Jonas was discovered when he was 6 years old in the oddest of places. “I was with my mom who was getting her hair done,” he recalls. “I was hanging out in the salon waiting for her to get finished and I was singing, as I always did at that age. A woman came up to my mom and said, ‘Your son should see this manager.’”

The manager began sending Jonas out on auditions and at 8, he landed a role in “A Christmas Carol” on Broadway.

“I always loved performing and singing, so to be around other people who were passionate about the things I was passionate about was really good for me at that age,” he says. “It was so exciting in a lot of ways, and I think shaped who I am as a person today.”

Since his Broadway debut, Jonas has appeared in many shows, including “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Beauty and the Beast.” He says his favorite role was playing Marius in “Les Misérables” last summer in London. Jonas had played Gavroche in the same show on Broadway when he was 11. “Playing Marius was a goal of mine and one I had dreamed about playing since I was in the show playing the young boy when I was a kid.”

Bitten by the Broadway bug, Jonas can see himself taking on new roles in theater. “I’d like a project I can be involved in from the early stages,” he says. “From a workshop to seeing it come to Broadway one day would be a really exciting opportunity. There are a lot of dreams in my heart that I’d love to tackle one day, and being involved in the producing side of theatrical production or a film project would be amazing.”

The Jonas Brothers: Kevin, Joe and Nick

Despite his affection for the Broadway stage, many of Jonas’ fans know him best as the youngest member of the Jonas Brothers’ band. Debuting in August 2007 with their self-titled album that included the hit single “S.O.S.,” the brothers became a boy band sensation. Though Jonas is taking a six-month break from the band while on Broadway, he looks forward to getting back into the studio with his brothers.

“We are all really lucky because we do genuinely like each other,” he says of his brothers. “A lot of people are shocked to hear that, but we do enjoy spending time with each other. We are very blessed to do what we love together.”

Jonas is quick to point out that despite his placement in the band, he isn’t the baby in the family. “We have a younger brother, a guy named Frankie,” he says of the 11-year-old Jonas. “He’s the youngest, and he’s still a Jonas brother even though he may not be in the band.”

In addition to performing in the Jonas Brothers’ band, he also fronts the group, Nick Jonas & the Administration. The band released its debut album, “Who I Am,” in early 2010 and has toured the United States and South America.

Jonas also enjoyed his role in the new TV hit “Smash.” “I shot the episode in October of last year,” he says. “It’s an amazing show and one that I was truly honored to be a part of. Working with Anjelica Huston and Debra Messing was a dream come true. The role that I play, a guy named Lyle West, sets itself up for a recurring situation, but it’s up to them. If they have me back, I’d be honored.”

Somehow, Jonas still finds time to fit in a little play among all his work. He’s a huge sports fan, and growing up in North Jersey, his allegiances are for New York teams. “Watching a Yankees game or playing ball myself is a way to keep active and spend time with friends,” he says. He is still enjoying his team’s Super Bowl win. “I had a big Super Bowl party with my cast mates and we were all celebrating quite a bit after the Giants’ big win.”

Having spent time in Los Angeles, Jonas is happy being back East where he can enjoy the different seasons. “There are some really great people in New Jersey with really good hearts,” he says. “They live to give which is a really nice thing. You can always have that connection with a Jersey person when you meet them out and about.”

Jonas also enjoys going to movies and isn’t bothered by overzealous fans. “Fans are amazing and show their passion not only in supporting different projects, but also in the way they come up to us,” he says. “When they see me out and about and show their support, it’s a real blessing to me. It’s always encouraging when people are fans of what you do.”


So much more than a cute boy band

While many fans recognize Nick Jonas as a teen heartthrob from his days with the popular Jonas Brothers, the 19-year-old has an extensive resume with credentials outside the pop-music world.

Age 8: Young Nick makes his way to Broadway, playing the role of Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol”

Age 9: Earns a role as Little Jake in Broadway’s “Annie Get Your Gun” with Reba McEntire

Age 10: Continues to find success on Broadway, this time starring as Chip in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Age 11: Nick has a busy year on the stage – he first stars as Gavroche in the Broadway production of “Les Misérables,” then appears as Kurt in “The Sound of Music” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J.

Age 12: Signs a recording contract with INO Records and Columbia Records; releases self-titled solo album “Nicholas Jonas”

Age 13: The Jonas Brothers’ first album “It’s About Time” is released and reaches platinum status; soon after, Nick is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while on tour promoting the album

Age 14: Now a teen star, Nick plays himself on the “Hannah Montana” TV series; meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers sign to Hollywood Records and their second album “Jonas Brothers” is released and reaches #5 on the 200 Billboard Chart in its first week

Age 15: Appears in the 3-D concert film “Best of Both Worlds Concert,” the made-for-TV movie “Camp Rock” and the reality TV show “Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream;” releases third Jonas Brothers’ studio album “A Little Bit Longer” and the band receives a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist

Age 16: The film “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” hits theaters; the reality DVD “Band in a Bus” is released; the Jonas Brothers’ fourth studio album, “Lines, Vines, and Trying Times” is released; and Nick has a small role in the film “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”

Ages 16-17: Nick stars as the character Nick Lucas in “Jonas L.A.,” a Disney Channel original TV series

Nick Jonas starred as Marius in London's production of “Les Misérables” in 2010

Nick Jonas starred as Marius in London’s production of “Les Misérables” in 2010

Age 17: Nick makes his debut on London’s West End, playing Marius in “Les Misérables” and releases the album “Who I Am” with his solo band, Nick Jonas & The Administration; he also appears in the made-for-TV-film “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam” and the 25th anniversary concert of “Les Misérables” at London’s O2 Arena

Age 18: Stars as heartthrob Link Larkin in the Hollywood Bowl’s production of “Hairspray;” guest stars in TV sitcoms “Mr. Sunshine” and “Last Man Standing”

Age 19: Nick makes a guest appearance on the TV series “Smash;” launches a South American tour with his band, Nick Jonas & The Administration, and stars as J. Pierrepont Finch in the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” on Broadway

April 2012
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