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Famous Actor Visits Campus

Actor/Musician Thomas Nicholas Meets With O’Dowd Students Students interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry filled the theater on Dec. 8, when actor, singer, musician, producer, director and writer Thomas Nicholas made an appearance at O’Dowd.

A longtime friend of digital music teacher Starr Saunders, Nicholas, 30, was in town to perform with his band, the Thomas Nicholas Band (TNB), at Blake’s in Berkeley on Dec. 12. Saunders invited him to come to O’Dowd and talk with students about his work.

Nicholas also treated the students to an acoustic performance of the title song from his latest album, “Heroes are Human,” released in June. He played a couple more of the band’s original songs, as well Weezer’s “Say It Isn’t So.”

Earl Walls ’11 said Nicholas had great stage presence and that it was clear he enjoyed performing. “He wasn’t shy or worried about whether we were going to like it or not,” Walls said. A rapper, Walls said that’s the way he aspires to perform.

Nicholas told students how he got started in the business (his mom was involved in casting for movies and got him some bit parts starting when he was 6 years old) balanced his acting career and his education, and talked about the persistence required to secure acting roles.

It’s not unusual to go to as many as 200 auditions a year in the hopes of landing one to two films, Nicholas said. “It’s worth it because when I actually do get the film it’s a lot of fun,” he said. His lengthy acting credits include starring as Henry Rowengartner, the little leaguer who has dreams of playing in the major leagues, in “Rookie of the Year,” playing the role of Kevin Myers in “American Pie,” “American Pie 2,” “American Wedding,” and his favorite, “Rules of Attraction,” which also featured Jessica Biel.

As far as his music goes, Nicholas said he’s only been touring for about three years and doesn’t yet have a record deal. “Everything that I do musically I do on my own, including booking my own shows,” he said. “In the last three years I’ve booked 250 shows by myself and recorded three albums.” In 2011, TMB will perform in Germany, Denmark, Norway and the Czech Republic.

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