Can a Hurricane make it to Broadway? There is one former University of Miami student who certainly hopes so.
He is J Paul Nicholas and he is a rising actor and director plying his craft and applying himself in New York City, probably the toughest place to be a theater artist in the entire country.
A product of Miami Killian High, he earned an undergraduate degree from FIU in 1990, an MBA from UM in 1994, and moved to the Big Apple in 1999. Since then he went on to earn an MFA in 2003 from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Despite enjoying many successes along the way, at times it has been a struggle for Paul. But he has stayed true to his passion and loyal to the pursuit of his dream. And now, finally, people are starting to take notice.
In October 2012 he directed a revival of the Wendy MacLeod play The Water Children at Shetler Studios in NYC, which was favorably reviewed by The New York Times, Backstage and the notoriously tough John Simon.
Backstage said, “Director J Paul Nicholas delivers a clean, straightforward production” and John Simon said it was “niftily directed by J Paul Nicholas…move heaven and earth to catch it.”
Then in November in Philadelphia he performed in the world premiere of Lucile Lichtblau’s The English Bride at Theater Exile. J. Cooper Robb from Philadelphia Weekly said, “A searing performance: J Paul Nicholas is undeniably enigmatic,” and Debra Miller from StageMagazine.org said, “J Paul Nicholas is charming and convincing — even surprisingly sympathetic.” David Anthony Fox from Philadelphia City Paper said, “The character is likewise given a fine, nuanced performance by J Paul Nicholas, who manages to be thoroughly charming, and a little frightening all at once.”
So what’s next?
Broadway hasn’t called yet but Paul is currently working with playwright John Anastasi to develop his latest (as yet untitled) play, with hopes of an Off-Broadway production. In mid December he directed a three-day workshop of the piece, which culminated in a private reading at Manhattan Theater Club. And Paul continues to appear in the long-running NBC series, Law & Order: SVU as the public defender, Linden Delroy. This would mark his eighth season on the show.
Paul said someday he would love to return to his hometown and do whatever he could to help grow the South Florida theater industry, as well as contribute to the development of young actors. In the meantime he hopes to be seen on screens, big and small, and makes landfall on Broadway soon.