THE offer of a prime role in the Young Australian Broadway Chorus production of Cats is a dream come true for Nathan Derix-Brown, of Somers.
The former Padua College student, 18, plays the naughty Macavity in the National Theatre Melbourne production running for 10 shows, 17-25 January.
The new interpretation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is set in a crumbling English Music Hall during the Great Depression. It honours the era when T S Eliot wrote the original poems for his children in the 1930s.
Derix-Brown, who has trained with the Peninsula Ballet Ensemble, Somerville, under Sharyn Peters, for four years, says the dance-based musical has always been a family favourite.
“It’s all character work, with dance and song; I love the passion and the movement,” he said.
“I must have seen it at least 20 times – ever since I was a little kid. It meant a lot to my family as it was the only musical my grandmother ever saw on stage.”
Derix-Brown says he loves playing Macavity. “He’s the bad cat who commits all the crimes … He’s never actually caught because he’s never there but you just know he did it.”
Derix-Brown was enticed into dance by a friend at the end of Year 8. “I was told they were looking for male dancers at PBE and I’d always liked dancing,” he said.
“They were all so welcoming and took me in. I had no experience but I was able to work my way up to their level.”
Up until then he had performed only in Padua College plays Beauty and the Beast and Annie.
A performer for now, Derix-Brown has his sights set on a future in directing. He completed his VCE last year and has enrolled in a film and television degree course at Swinburne.