Versatile director leads the way

June 17, 2010

They say if you want a job done right, give it to a busy person. Well, Tim Nelson's one of the busiest, and he's been getting it done right for the past 30 years.

At the moment, Nelson — whose many titles include director and musical director of the Academy for the Performing Arts at Huntington Beach High School — is involved in a production of Lerner and Loewe's "Brigadoon." Involved, that is, to the point of directing, musical directing and playing the leading role once taken by Gene Kelly on the silver screen.

The show opens July 16 for two weekends at Westminster's Rose Center Theater, but before that curtain rises, Nelson will take 10 of the show's core cast members to New York state to join a chorus of performers he cast a few weeks ago.


"The show will play at Fort Salem (near Albany) over the July 4 weekend, then we come back here and join the chorus and specialty characters here in California for 10 days before we open at the Rose," Nelson explained.

Nelson and his Huntington Beach academy students recently finished another active school year, winning best show of the year for "Singin' in the Rain" at Fullerton Civic Light Opera's John Raitt Awards for Youth.

One of his prize students, Kyle Selig, won the best actor of the year award from Music Theatre West in Long Beach. He and Nelson will be in New York next week as Selig competes for top honors in the National High School Musical Theater Awards.

It has, as Nelson admits, been quite a year. A few weeks ago, his students won "most extraordinaire show" at the MACY Awards, Selig was named best vocalist and Jake Gonzalez won best supporting actor for "Titanic."

"I'm very proud of my students," Nelson proclaimed. "They are going to some major universities."

When the "Brigadoon" troupe returns from its "tryout" in New York, local audiences will see Nelson and his wife, Mary Murphy-Nelson, perform in "Brigadoon," even though they're not paired. Nelson will be romancing Melissa Cook, owner of the Curtain Call Dinner Theater, while Murphy teams with Vincent Aniceto, who just finished playing the title role in "The King and I."

For Nelson, it's a 30th-anniversary show. He started performing in local theater back in 1980 and has worked for virtually all of the professional and community playhouses in the area since.

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