Nicolas Dromard has worked his way up from ensemble to lead in two high-flying musicals: Wicked, in which he jumped from swing in the first national tour to an acclaimed run as Fiyero in the San Francisco production, and Mary Poppins, in which he progressed from swing in the original Broadway cast to a star turn as Mary’s chimney sweep pal Bert. As the show moves toward its March 3 closing date, Broadway.com chatted with the Canadian-born actor about his rising career and dream role.
How does it feel to come full circle with Mary Poppins and close out the Broadway run as Bert?
Amazing! It’s such an honor. At first we were shocked and sad that the show was closing, but six and a half years on Broadway is a great run. The show has an incredible message and makes audiences so happy. To be able to say that I was the final Bert on Broadway is a privilege.
What’s fun about playing Bert?
I think Bert is one of the best male roles on Broadway. He’s the narrator, he sets the mood, and he’s omnipresent—he’s constantly on stage dancing. In what other role can you tap dance on the ceiling?
Right! What’s that moment like?
It’s a roller coaster ride. “Step In Time” is my favorite part of show. There’s an adrenaline rush, and I get butterflies in my stomach each time. They clip me in, and I just go for it. It’s such an impressive stunt: I’m walking up a wall, and 30 seconds later I’m back down. It goes by so quickly! I wish it was longer.
You’ve danced on ceilings all over America. Does the New Amsterdam Theatre feel different?
The set is different on tour—the Banks' home opens like a pop-up book, as opposed to the Broadway set, which is a three-story house! But coming back to New York was like riding a bike again.
What are your memories of playing Fiyero in the San Francisco company of Wicked?
It was so much fun. I left Poppins on Broadway in 2009 to join Wicked. Fiyero is a dream role because you get to kiss the blonde, you kiss the green, you swing on a rope and you take a bow! Bert is a beast of a role compared to Fiyero. It's very physical.
You were also in the ensemble of The Boy From Oz a decade ago. Any good Hugh Jackman stories for us?
Just that he’s amazing and I want to work with him again. He's so gung-ho; I’ve never seen someone work so hard. And his dressing room was always open—if your mom and dad came backstage after the show, he’d chat with them.
You were born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, and didn’t speak English until you were seven years old. Do you still speak fluent French?
Oh yeah, with my family. My grandmother doesn’t speak a word of English, but my parents do. They translated for the Canadian government.
At what age did you shed your French accent?
I still have a slight French accent, but I’m able to hide it. It still comes out when I’m tired or I’ve had a glass of wine or two.
You’ve played squeaky-clean roles for a stretch now. Any desire to be bad?
Of course! I’d love to be in Jersey Boys and play Tommy DeVito.