Nick Saverine moved from the East Coast to Wichita in 1980, unsure he had a future in show business.
“I had gone to New York and I found myself working and not able to study to advance my career,” the New Jersey native recalls. After Saverine came to Kansas to perform as part of the Wichita Music Theater’s summer resident program, he made connections that kicked his career into high gear. And he developed a continuing affinity for the Midwest. “I hooked up studying voice at WSU, and stayed in Wichita for several years. I just loved the city.”
In 1986, he applied for and won KCT’s first Elizabeth B. Koch Fellowship Award of $23,600, enabling him to make a crucial move and hit the musical stages of Europe.
Two weeks after he arrived in Berlin, he won a role in the Franz Lehár operetta “Land of Smiles.” He stayed in Europe “on and off ” for 15 years, performing in Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Moscow and Warsaw, in such shows as “Cats,” “Les Miserables,” “Phantom of the Opera” and Roman Polanski’s “Dance of the Vampires.”
He came back to the States to notable success, appearing on Broadway and in touring productions. He now lives in Philadelphia, where he appeared in “State Fair” this fall.
Through the years, he often felt the need “to get back to Kansas to recharge my batteries.” He is invited back frequently and has appeared on nearly every musical stage in Wichita: the Mosley Street Melodrama, Cabaret Oldtown, Crown Uptown Theatre, Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita Community Theatre, Opera Kansas and Stage One. He also has directed and designed sets for Music Theatre for Young People. Most recently, he starred as Jean Valjean in Wichita Music Theater’s 2008 production of “Les Miserables.”
“For most of my adult life, Wichita is where I’ve spent the most time,” he says. “Out of all the places I’ve been, Wichita is home. What I am today is a direct result of living here. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for the support I received in Kansas and from the Koch Cultural Trust.”