Musical theater is the passion of this high school student from the North – press enterprise

As Nathan Bravo grew up, he took field trips to elementary schools to see musical theater productions at Riverside City College.

“They would always make me happy,” said the longtime Moreno Valley resident. “But that wasn’t really until I got on that critical Broadway type show in college. It was my first time performing on stage and I immediately fell in love with it.

Bravo’s cousins ​​would often invite him to see their shows at the Riverside Children’s Theater, but he was never able to do so. When he was in seventh grade he saw their production of “Mary Poppins”. During intermission, an announcement was made that the company was looking for seventh and eighth graders to join.

Nathan Bravo as the Baker in North High School’s “Into the Woods” production. (Photo by Rosie Bravo)

“The show was fantastic and seeing kids my age doing what I loved doing, but seriously I knew I wanted to be a part of it so I begged my mom at the intermission and she signed me up,” did he declare. “I’ve been doing shows ever since. “

Music has also been an integral part of Bravo’s life.

“My dad was a DJ in his day and it made my house dance every day,” he said. “Music had always been there and it felt natural to go my way.”

Bravo attended John W. North High School in Riverside, where he participated in the drama program, but was also a member of the choir and dance team for all four years.

The first time Bravo played a main character on a show was in 2016, when he played Horton on “Seussical”. He won an award from the Inland Theater League.

“I am really proud to receive this,” he said. “It gave me proof that I can have a future doing what I love.”

In 2019, Bravo played Baby John in Performance Riverside’s “West Side Story”.

“It was my first professional exhibition,” he said. “It was so cool to take a new step in my college career in high school. Not to mention the realization that I was paid to sing, dance and pretend for two hours was amazing. I mean, who wouldn’t want this job? “

Bravo has won the Lucie Arnaz Awards twice, during her graduate years, among her favorite accomplishments.

“It was so surreal,” he said. “I dreamed about it and really worked on it months in advance before I even knew I was going to be nominated.”

After winning the first time in 2019, he was able to attend the National High School Musical Theater Awards, or Jimmy Awards, in person. It was an experience he described as a life changing.

Nathan Bravo as Usnavi de la Vega in North High School’s “In the Heights” production. (Photo by Rosie Bravo)

“I learned so much during my stay and I really regained my confidence,” he said.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Bravo was invited to attend David Green’s Musical Theater University, which allowed him to continue working on his craft at home. Because of this, he was also able to appear on a Palm Springs-based television show, “Front Row Center”.

Bravo will compete at UC Irvine where he hopes to become a better player.

“Broadway is of course the dream, but I wouldn’t mind becoming a drama teacher,” he said. “The teachers I have had, like Mrs Hightower (North Anna Hightower’s drama teacher), have really changed my life and I would like to share everything they taught me.”

Patrick Brien is executive director of the Riverside Arts Council.