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On a "Rockit" to Stardom

December 10, 2021

Junior Nathan Corbett has been interested in the performing arts since his first time on stage as a preschooler, and he has amassed an impressive resume of dozens of community theater roles over his 17 years. When the pandemic forced theaters to close and auditions to cease, Nathan was left with not much to do. Rather than take a break, he instead focused deeper on his craft. This more introspective time was about to prepare him for his next big break.

By spring and summer, theater and film production had begun to re-emerge, and Nathan searched casting websites for interesting roles. He took notice of one in particular—a movie project called “Rockit Crew,” based on a book with the same title.

“This one popped up and there was just something about it that kinda caught my attention,” he said. The producer was looking to cast the role of John, a high school-aged boy struggling with adversity—the last unfilled role for his movie.

While the Attleboro, MA resident has acted in short indie films before, this project was something more. “[I’ve] never done anything that has public attention or anything that has executive interest from producers and distributers, so this was a first,” he said. “It was nerve-wracking, to say the least!”

Nathan has also performed in nearly 40 live shows with Triboro Youth Theatre and The Un-Common Theatre Company in Massachusetts, an extraordinary number when one considers his age and factors in auditions and multiple rehearsals a week for each secured role. He says he enjoys the feedback from the audience, whether is a well-timed laugh or gasp.

"There’s something about a crowd that’s appealing. It’s really motivating to perform in front of a live audience.” He compares it to being an athlete in an important playoff game. “I feel like the audience is like the fans, and every time they applaud and they laugh or they cheer, it just keeps me going.”

Nathan is also an accomplished singer, participating in Access Broadway, a national competition and talent search event, where he has placed in the top five in voice multiple times in recent years. In addition, the honor roll student is taking AP classes and holding down a part-time job.

“I take good advantage of my study periods!” he laughs.

Yet, for someone so interested in theater, Nathan has only performed in two Saints productions, purely because of bad timing with the pandemic and other opportunities that arose. As a freshman in 2019, Nathan made his Saints debut with his performance of Hugo in “Tuck Everlasting.” and was beginning rehearsals for his next role in Saints’ annual one-act play, when COVID made its own debut in the spring of 2020. It would be another year before he performed in his second Saints production—a virtual presentation of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” as Snoopy. He decided not to audition for the winter play this year, as he had accepted a role as Buddy the Elf in “Elf The Musical” at Un-Common, which wrapped up at the end of November. Despite his infrequent appearances on Saints’ stage, the Academy has been a good place for him, he said.

“Saints has been a very life-changing experience, personally,” he said, admitting that he had bullying issues in middle school. “I’ve slowly become more comfortable with what I do and not caring what other people think. And Saints has really helped with that—certain teachers, certain friends have been very supportive.”

“Rockit Crew”
Without the traditional feedback from the director in an in-person audition, Nathan had to consider roles in a different way. “It gave me a lot of insight on how to approach a scene, how to pick apart a scene to see motivations and characters, their reasoning for saying certain things.” He found this especially helpful with film work, explaining that “in a movie, it is not as outgoing, not as big as you are onstage. Everything is in the slightest little facial expressions, or the breaths, or the way you’re saying words.”

He kept this in mind when he auditioned virtually for the role in “Rockit Crew.” In a quick series of events, the producer called Nathan the day after he submitted his audition to meet with them in person. Thinking he was going for a second audition, he was stunned when he was told he had the part. Nathan then spent the summer filming segments in Connecticut for the movie trailer.

The director and writers are currently promoting the movie to executive distributers who can then take it further to major motion picture studios, production companies, and streaming services. He is hoping that if the project is picked up to be developed into a full-length film, the director will keep creative control, which would mean he could keep the largely unknown actors he has selected in the cast. There are no guarantees.

“It’s a tense waiting game,” said Nathan.

“I really would like to continue the part. There was something about it that I really liked and connected with, and I really want to further that and be able to turn it into a movie. If I don’t, then I will just take what I learned from the experience and boost myself to other things.”

After all, there are other roles are on the horizon, but also college and his contemplation of a degree in music or theater. Whatever the path leads, this Saint will make it happen.

Check out the trailer for “Rockit Crew” on YouTube!