Nicholas Afoa, Star of London’s The Lion King, on Finding a Brotherhood of Simbas

first_imgNicholas Afoa in ‘The Lion King'(Photo: Disney) Nicholas Afoa has only ever been in one professional musical ever and it happens to be that globe-trotting crowd-puller The Lion King. Having first played adult Simba in Australia, the 30-year-old New Zealander has now stepped into the same role at London’s Lyceum Theatre for a year-long run in the West End. caught up with the engaging performer about shifting from sports to the stage and his new life in a familiar show away from home.You were a successful rugby player back home when an injury necessitated a change of career, and now here you are starring in arguably the biggest musical of all!Yes, and I feel in a way as if my two passions have come hand in hand in terms of music and sport having both been a huge part of my life. Not everyone gets to make it in both areas, but I’m very lucky that they have both come my way.Did you feel you had to choose?Well, I always thought I would make it in the sporting arena but I was playing rugby in Singapore some years ago when I was 23 when my knee gave way underneath me, and that was pretty much the beginning of the end of rugby. I did rehabilitation and tried to come back [to the sport] but it was never really the same, so I needed to make those tough decisions. I had to make a living, so I decided not to play anymore.What happened next?I have a very loving and supportive family, especially my parents, and having grown up with this rugby dream, I had always been told, “Look, son. This world in sport is not always a given, and you can be injured and it’s all over.” The thing is, I never thought that would happen to me, so when it did, I was kind of like, “OK, let’s see what else is out there.”Did you go straight to the stage?The stage thing didn’t happen right away. I had many years of hardships trying to find out what my next purpose in life was. I went and got a BA in social sciences at university in Auckland [New Zealand] and worked for a while with troubled youth, which was wonderful because it was about giving back. When the opportunity to audition for The Lion King came along, that changed my whole outlook. I never thought it would happen like that.How did you prepare for your audition?I had YouTube’d it a million times and seen any scene or song that was available, and I had read a lot about some of the Simbas that had played the part in the past—like Jason Raize, and how beautifully he portrayed the character. I also watched quite a few others and came to see that there are so many different ways to play the role—so many different qualities—that it wasn’t just a carbon cut-out that they wanted. At the end of the day, they wanted the truth. You needed to look good and to be able to sing, but at the top of the list, you needed a certain truth.What is it about the role that you respond to?Simba’s journey resonates with everybody, which is why the show has done so well not just in America and England but all over the world. It’s universal and timeless.Does the experience feel the same here in London as it did back in Australia?Of course, it’s the same script and the same songs, but the energies are different so in some ways it has felt like an entirely new show. I got tears when I heard the first notes here in London because they reminded me of my friends back home and of my first professional experience in a theater show. But we’ve got a new Nala and Pumbaa, among many other cast changes, so it still feels fresh. After 800 performances, I’m finding new things. It’s great to be able to do that.Is there a community of past and present Simbas?It’s funny you say that: a few months after I started, I contacted all the Simbas and acquainted myself with them. It’s been really nice to connect with people I haven’t ever met but still feel I know because we share a role.Has any particular advice stuck with you?Jonathan Andrew Hume was great in allowing me to put a face to the name. We met up a couple of times, and he kept telling me to be gracious with myself and to give myself more time. I was anxious about doing a good job in the West End, and he assured me that they wouldn’t have asked me to come [to London] if they didn’t think I could do it.Does London now feel like home?Home will always be New Zealand, but for now, I’m contracted here for a year and after three months, I can already say that I could see myself here for another year or so. My wife and I will at some point decide whether London is a place where we could see ourselves [longterm], but I’m keeping my options open.How would you characterize your singing voice?I like to consider myself a crooner and really love Michael Buble and that sort of sound. I’m not quite a classical tenor and can’t hit the Pavarotti notes, but I’m not quite a classical baritone either. I guess you could call me a bari-tenor.Do you see yourself ever returning to professional sports?I don’t think given the impact and contact that come with rugby that my body—and especially my knee—could withstand that pressure. For now, I’m enjoying just running on a stage without people trying to tackle me; I like it like that. View Commentslast_img read more

Revision Eyewear Hosts Open House for their New State-of-the-Art Facility in Essex Juntion, Vermont

first_imgEssex Junction, VT (September 20, 2007)– Revision Eyewear, developers of purpose-built military eyewear, have moved their Williston, Vermont operations to a new state-of-the-art facility in Essex Junction, Vermont. The move was necessitated by Revisions dynamic growth in the marketplace for superior ballistic eyewear protection for the military and law enforcement agencies. The move to larger facilities allows Revision to continue on its growth trajectory. As part of the move, Revision also went live with a new ERP system that will provide Revision with increased scalability as the company moves ahead.August 29th, marked the official opening of the new office with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by Vermont’s Senator Leahy and Revision’s CEO, Jonathan Blanshay. A tour of the facility followed, followed by a facility tour.The following day, the festivities continued as Revision hosted Vermont Governor Jim Douglas in a ceremony announcing Revisions support of the Vermont National Guard Fallen Heroes Memorial with a ceremonial check of $50,000 presented by Jonathan Blanshay to General Tom Drew of the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation. A tour of the facility followed for customers, suppliers, local politicians, media, employees and their families.”The new facility in Essex Junction, will be Revision’s operational hub for assembly, warehousing, logistics, sales and customer service, engineering, quality assurance, internal ballistic and optical testing,” Jonathan Blanshay, President of Revision Eyewear Ltd. said. “Revision’s staffing requirements have grown significantly in the past year, reflecting Revision’s growth in both domestic and international markets as well as our product line expansion. The new facility and increased IT capabilities not only provides Revision with the springboard for additional growth but will also provide our customers with continued superior service.”Revision Eyewear designs and manufactures advanced protective eyewear such as the Sawfly” Military Eyewear System, the Desert Locust” Military Goggle, the Bullet Ant” Tactical Goggle, the Rx Carrier Vision Correction System, and the new Revision Eyewear Ballistic Visors developed for the Canadian Department of National Defence. All of Revision’s Eyewear Systems have been developed for maximum eye protection for high-threat and hostile environments while providing the wearer extreme functionality, comfort, and convenience.ABOUT REVISIONRevision Eyewear develops special purpose-built eyewear for military, law enforcement, and tactical clients worldwide. Revision products deliver the highest standards of protection, optical clarity, durability, compatibility and comfort. Clients include the U.S. Army, the Belgian Ministry of Defence, UK Ministry of Defence, Singapore Special Forces, and the Canadian Department of National Defence. Privately owned and ISO 9001:2000 certified, Revisions operational facility is located in Essex Junction, Vermont with offices in the U.K. and Canada. For more information, visit is external), write [email protected](link sends e-mail), or call 603-436-1748.last_img read more

LIVE: England vs South Africa

first_imgYokohama, Japan | AFP |  South Africa overpowered England 32-12 with a brutally effective forward display to win their third World Cup in Yokohama on Saturday.The Springboks’ victory was built on a colossal display by their powerhouse pack that allowed fly-half Handre Pollard to kick six penalties before Makazole Mapimpi’s 66th-minute try — the first the Springboks had scored in a World Cup final — and another from fit-again fellow flyer Cheslin Kolbe put the result beyond doubt.Victory ensured South Africa made it three wins from three World Cup final appearances and maintained their record of being crowned champions at 12-year intervals following their 1995 and 2007 triumphs. Share on: WhatsApp Saturday’s win also saw South Africa become the first team to win a World Cup having lost in pool play, with the Springboks beaten by reigning champions New Zealand in their Japan 2019 opener.last_img read more

Saint Martin’s Assistant Professor Receives Award for his First Book

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Saint Martin’s University Aaron Goings, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at Saint Martin’s University, has won an award from the Historical Society of Michigan for his first book, which focuses on the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike, one of the longest and most violent labor struggles in U.S. history.Goings and co-author Gary Kaunonen received the society’s 2013 State History Award for their scholarly work, “Community in Conflict: A Working-Class History of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike and the Italian Hall Tragedy.” The co-authors received the award for the book, published by Michigan State University Press, under the category of “Publications: University and Commercial Press” during a ceremony the historical society hosted earlier this fall in Kalamazoo, MI. It was one of four books to be recognized in this category.“It was certainly a pleasant surprise to receive this honor from the Historical Society of Michigan,” says Goings. “Myself and my co-author, who is currently in Michigan Technological University’s Ph.D. program in Rhetoric and Technical Communication, set out to craft a scholarly book on Michigan’s Copper Country history and to shed new light on the copper strike.”“Growing up in a working-class family in Grays Harbor, I have always been keenly aware of the importance of class and class struggle in the United States,” Goings adds. “It is my hope that this book has helped to return working people – their everyday experiences, their organizations and their struggles – to the center of Michigan’s Copper Country history.”An alumnus of Saint Martin’s (’02), Goings earned a master’s degree in history in 2005 from Central Washington University. He completed his doctorate degree in history in 2011 at Simon Fraser University. Goings’ main areas of research are United States labor and social history. Goings has taught courses on labor studies and women’s history. He also teaches U.S., World and Latin American history survey courses. During the spring 2014 semester, Goings will be co-teaching a course entitled “Working Class Literature.”last_img read more

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

first_imgFacebook1Tweet0Pin0 Published for Friday, November 15Those holiday bazaars are starting to pop up with some frequency now.  I’m feeling that shift is focus as we move further away from Halloween.  I’m excited to share some outstanding holiday stories with you over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, here is what is going on around Olympia this weekend.  Check out our full event calendar for even more activities.Get ready for the Hunger Games release with teen activities at the Olympia Timberland Library on Friday night.“American Roulette” continues its production throughout the weekend.  Read a review by one of our teen writers here.Enjoy a film through the Olympia Film Festival at the historic Capitol Theater.  Showtimes can be found here.Walk in nature at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail or the McLane Nature Trail.  See salmon spawning just a few minutes from downtown Olympia.Dig clams along Washington beaches.  Razor clam tide information can be found here.Tap your foot to some live music.  A complete live music listing for this weekend can be found here.Catch a performance of Olympia High School’s “Midsummer Jersey.”Grab an authentic Mexican meal through Mijas and support domestic violence survivors.Pick up a rare find at the Olympia Record Show on Saturday from 3 – 7 p.m.Chuckle along with comedians at the Lucky Eagle Casino on Saturday night.  The comedy festival is sure to cure any rainy day doldrums.Submit an event for our calendar here.ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at [email protected]  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.last_img read more