Pippin 2019: Nicholas Paradas and Payton Tabb Cast for Leading Roles


Elyse Nguyen

Senior Nicholas (Nico) Paradas and junior Payton Tabb perform “On the Right Track” during rehearsal of Pippin, the spring musical production.

Elyse Nguyen, Staff Writer

There seems to be a misconception that being cast for a leading role is every musical theater kid’s dream but it’s actually very difficult and a lot more goes on behind the scenes than people think. Hours spent outside of rehearsal practicing as well as hours spent working on homework to make up for all the time spent for the show. It’s a very difficult role but this year’s lead characters of the high school’s production of Pippin are definitely stepping up to the task. The lead roles have gone to senior Nicholas (Niko) Paradas as Pippin, and junior Payton Tabb as the Leading Player.

The two, who are already very busy with JC Singers, have put a lot of work and time into the musical with Tabb going as far as memorizing all of her music before rehearsals even began. She has also been coming to school multiple times over the weekends to work on choreography with her co-lead, Paradas, as well as other dancers in her smaller numbers.

“I like how challenging it is,” Tabb said, “all the lines that I have to memorize as well as keeping up my grades, still doing well in school, and still being able to perform to the best if my ability is, I think, making me a better performer.”

The same could be said for Paradas, who is also enjoying the opportunity to improve himself thanks to the freedom given to him by the directors. “I’m very happy that our directors take our recommendations into consideration,” Paradas said. “They’ll say ‘hey make up a dance and see if I like it’ and then we did and then they liked it so they put it in the show so that’s awesome.”

For  Paradas, the most challenging and important part of being a lead character is being coachable. Paradas’ role carries a heavy weight as he is in nearly every musical number and scene so it is important for him to be able to be adaptable to what the director’s want whether it be in his singing, dancing, or acting.

“That’s really what you have to do as a lead, you just have to be able to change whenever they want you to,” Paradas said. “It’s very physically and mentally demanding, but it’s also exhilarating and amazing.”

Although this is not their first time having central roles, with Paradas having played Farquaad in the school’s 2017 production of Shrek as a sophomore and Tabb having played Johanna in last year’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street also during her sophomore year, these are definitely their biggest roles yet.

However, the paths they’ve taken to reach this point have been very different, with Tabb’s first role as grass while Paradas jumped right into the role of Farquaad. Aside from their pasts, their future goals are very different as well.

Tabb dreams of “doing the whole New York thing” and becoming a full-time performer while Paradas aspires to go to K-State, try opera, and ultimately become a music educator working with young singers like himself now.

Aside from their differences, the two work well together and also both agree that getting cast as the lead is fun and that sometimes, it’s more fun to be a chorus member.

“I got to dance a lot when I was in the chorus whereas most of the time when I get speaking lines, I don’t usually get to dance because it’s out of my character,” Tabb said as she recounted a past role. “Some of my favorite musicals that I’ve been a part of was when I was in a chorus.”

“You get a little bit of everything and like she [Tabb] said, sometimes whenever you’re cast as a certain character, you don’t get to do everything,” Paradas added.

While being a lead character is a very demanding role in terms of effort and time, both Tabb and Paradas are enjoying their roles and responsibilities.

“It’s very fun and it builds so much character because it really is hard. Being able to push through the hard days, it really makes you a different person, for the better,” said Paradas. “Being a lead, it’s a blessing and a curse.”


The performance dates are March 7th, 8th, and 9th so be sure to get tickets, check out the show, and see Tabb and Paradas for yourselves.