A ‘Beautiful’ reunion of teacher and student


A young music school graduate got the best birthday present he could ask for when 11 of his former teachers came to see his starring debut in Philadelphia of the musical he’s starring in.

Paris Nix, a 2008 graduate of the Girard Academic Music Program, or GAMP, for short,is showcasing his talents as part of the ensemble in “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” running now through Sunday at the Academy of Music.

Nix, who hails from Philly’s Hunting Park section, attended the music magnet school, where he sang choir and performed in musicals every year.

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“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” made its Philadelphia premiere a day after his 26th birthday, on March 22, and his GAMP teachers simply had to see his return to the microphone.

“It was the best birthday present – on opening night – to have 11 of my GAMP teachers there…to reunite with them and come back to Philly to set out to do what I wanted to in high school,” Nix told Metro.

Nix said he auditioned for the part three times before he finally got it. He plays one of The Drifters in the musical and sings “Up on the Roof,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “On Broadway.”

“I went out and sang a bunch of material…I did the dance audition, and it was great call,” said Nix.

Diane Dannenfelser, music director at GAMP, said Nix came to the school in 2004 as a freshman and studied for four years. She hadn’t seen him in eight years prior to last week’s opening night.

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“We always knew he had a beautiful voice, but it was his senior year when we did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. When we gave him the lead, that’s when we knew he was absolutely magnificent,” she said.

“This quiet, shy, young man suddenly became an actor right before our eyes. It was wonderful. When he graduated, he got bitten by that bug. Now, here he is, several years later, and he’s beautiful.

“It’s so gratifying when you actually get to see kids go on and fulfill their dreams on a Broadway touring company – that’s the thrill,” said Dannenfelser.

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