BACKSTAGE TOUR NIKKO KIMZIN EMPOWERMENT AND LOVE THROUGH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
If you attended “Another Openin’ Show” in the 2017 Broadway Under the Stars performance, you likely remember Nikko Kimzin’s incredible performance of “My Shot” from the musical “Hamilton.” This summer, Nikko has taken on a greater role as Director of Community Engagement, Kids Camp, and Intern Program. It’s a big change, but once you get to know the kind of person Nikko is, it’s plain to see he’s not one to throw away his shot to truly get involved with Transcendence. Nikko first joined Transcendence last year after being invited by longtime friend Madeline Spencer, our Company Manager and Operations Coordinator. He loved spending the summer performing in our wonderful community and has said on more than one occasion that Sonoma looks like heaven on earth. When the devastating fires raged through Northern California last fall, Nikko was already back in New York. Despite being 3,000 miles away, he knew he needed to help. With the support of other Transcendence artists, Nikko produced the Sonoma Strong Broadway Benefit Concert in New York City and raised money for fire relief in our community.
This isn’t the first time Nikko has mobilized the troops. His dynamic, commanding personality drives him to dig deeper for an important cause. Several years ago, Nikko started Epoch Creative NYC, a nonprofit dedicated to giving artists of color a platform to showcase their talents. Epoch Creative NYC has helped many artists realize their dream and helped create a number of amazing projects including comedic shorts, webseries, videos, podcasts, and a sitcom pilot to be pitched to major networks. “When you’re a person of color in musical theater, you get put in a box,” Nikko says. “Three years ago, I grew out of that box. I didn’t want to do a seventh production of “West Side Story” or be some guy named Pablo who just stands in a corner. Rather than wait for the industry I love to change, I decided to take it into my own hands and make those changes myself.” This is exactly the special sort of passion and drive that has helped Transcendence thrive. Eager to bring this energy to Sonoma full time, Brad and Amy invited Nikko to be our Director of Community Engagement, Kids Camp, and Intern Program. It was a responsibility he was happy to accept.
As Nikko’s long title implies, he always has a full plate. But he says, “When you love what you do, it’s never work.” And love is something Nikko aims to bring front and center. His first mission was to identify ways for Transcendence to love on Sonoma. He believes it’s important to find the heart of what makes Sonoma unique and make sure that is reflected in the theater experience. Among other projects, like transforming our Kids Camp, Nikko has spearheaded engagement events with the La Luz Center. These events aim to encourage young people in Sonoma’s Latino community to release their inner creator, experience “I am so excited to be here,” Nikko says. “I’m passionate about bringing a more diverse audience to Transcendence, and knowing people like Amy, Brad, and Stephan are also passionate about that lets me know I’m in good company. I’m eager to learn what makes Sonoma tick and how Transcendence can step in and really honor the community we live in.” opportunities in theater, and find empowerment through diversity.
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