My Mom: “Nikki, would you like to take ballet class?”
Me (age 4): “Ok.”
I was born and raised in Long Island, NY. From an early age I trained as a dancer and soon discovered a love for musical theater and a passion for acting. I idolized such triple threat performers as Shirley McLaine, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Debbie Allen, and was “over the moon” for quadruple threat Sammy Davis Jr.. Although I had other interests, television, movies, theater, and music are what always brought me joy and connected me to the world. So, I told my parents my career choice. Mom was very happy and not at all surprised. She shared my love for the arts, and was always my biggest supporter. Dad was practical and a tad concerned…
My Dad: “As long as you go to college and get a degree, you’ll have my full support.”
Me (age 15): “Ok.”
.. I was a girl of few words.
I received my B.F.A. degree from Howard University (alma mater of Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad and others) where I majored in drama and created lifelong friendships. One of my first professional jobs was a grueling but wonderful bus-and-truck national tour of Dreamgirls where I played Michelle and understudied Deena. I later went on to hone my skills in regional theaters across the country with musicals such as Sweet Charity, Hair, and Little Shop of Horrors.
I made my feature film debut starring opposite Eriq LaSalle (E.R.) and Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible, Pulp Fiction) in the Gramercy film Drop Squad, executive produced by Spike Lee. Not a hit…but a wonderful experience and boy did I learn a lot! Most importantly, I learned that I LOVE making movies!
Hairspray! What a fantastic way to make my Broadway debut. What girl wouldn’t want to be featured singing and dancing on Broadway in red beaded dress and work with an array of wonderful artists like Harvey Fierstein? I joined the cast just days before it won eight 2003 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Thank you to my husband and family for their love and support and for being a constant source of strength, comfort and balance in my life. A special thanks to my mom, who took me to my first ballet class and to see my first Broadway show.