We sat down with Jimmy Nicholas, who plays the enterprising Monty Navarro in FST’s production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. From his Dunkin Donuts addiction to the focus he needs onstage, Jimmy Nicholas is – like Monty – a complex character.
How would you describe Monty Navarro in five words? What, if anything, does Jimmy Nicholas have in common with Monty Navarro?
Earnest. Charming. Kind. Humble. Cunning.
I think Monty is the best of me and the worst of me, if that makes any sense?
He definitely dresses better than me, that’s a fact.
In your opinion, what makes Monty such a complex character?
He has such good intentions, and (it would seem) a good moral compass, but he keeps getting put in these situations that test the limits of those intentions. As a character, he holds up a mirror to the audience and says, “What would you do in this situation?” And based on audience’s reactions most nights, they somewhat agree with Monty’s reasoning for his murdering spree, as they cheer him on the whole way.
Do you have any pre-show or pre-audition rituals?
I have a confession—I’m completely and totally addicted to Dunkin Donuts’ Iced Coffee with Caramel and Cream. I have one before every show.
What is the most fun part of this production for you? What is most challenging?
I think the most challenging part is keeping up my energy, stamina, and focus. If I’m not completely engrossed in Monty’s journey on stage, 100% of the time, then why should the audience care about Monty’s journey?
Most Fun: Singing “Sibella” right into “I’ve Decided to Marry You,” hands down. It’s 15 minutes of perfection that I get to perform every night. I feel blessed every time I get to do it.
What would audiences be surprised to know about you?
I have 500 digits of pi memorized. Long story.
Why is theatre important?
We live in a world, thirsting for true connection, yet finding a desert of fake, inauthentic substitutes. Theatre is one of the truest forms of authentic connection we have. Between the actors, between the actors and the audience, and among audience members. It’s a beautiful and important thing, and I’m happy to be a part of it.