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Fabian Jimenez Takes the Stage for the Last Time at NHS

On March 23, Nutley High School senior Fabian Jimenez spoke with the Maroon and Gray regarding his experiences as one of the school’s thespians. Coming off his recent performance in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Jimenez recalled his background as a singer and actor, discussed his inspirations and future plans. “Being transported to a different area that is totally different from you,” is how Fabian described the appeal he finds during performing.


When Fabian first started acting, his parents wanted him to focus on academics, particularly on technology.  However, after they watched Fabian perform, they realized that performing is his passion. Both of Fabian’s parents have an interest in music which is what got him interested in theater in the first place. When asked who he got his musical taste from, Fabian responded, “I would say both of my parents because I have more of a diverse taste because they both gave me hints of Frank Sinatra and Micheal Jackson, as well as a variety of different shows.” Fabian is not the only one in his family that has a passion for performing. “My brother is currently four and is the one who gets the most involved in theater and music,” he says. When Fabian is not preparing for a new show, he enjoys exploring new music, increasing his knowledge of music, and playing video games. 


Fabian has been involved with music and theater for about seven years and has always been a natural performer. Fabian started his theater career in the Parks and Rec plays and began acting in the Nutley High School shows a few years later. While Fabian is a performer,  he is still a typical high school student who has to manage schoolwork and theater. “I recommend taking a study hall,” said Fabian. “If I can, I try to do work in between classes so everything gets done.” Fabian has a challenging schedule, but he is able to handle it all. 


Fabian’s last role was the part of Leaf Coneybear and Dan Dad in Nutley High School’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Leaf has been a challenge to play for Fabian, who says, “All the roles I’ve had so far have been very similar to me, so I think Leaf is the hardest character I've ever played because I have to embody a child as a senior.” This year, the high school production had two casts. Because so many people had auditioned, there was no other option than to double cast roles. Fabian was one of the six main cast members to be double cast; alternating the roles of Leaf and Dan Dad every other show. After receiving the roles, Fabian began his favorite part of the acting process - the first stages of putting it all together. “Getting to start being that character before the costume and experiment with your new role is the best part,” he said. 


The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee hit the stage in March and it was a hit!  Fabian describes being back on stage for the first time in two years as “such a relief” and said, “I missed it because being a different character and exploring different possibilities is such a relief for me.”  Fabian explained that although there were lots of nerves on opening night, the cast found it very rewarding to perform a show that they had been working on throughout the struggle of covid. Fabian shares with the Maroon and Gray that his character helped him deal with stage nervousness. “My character itself is very energetic, so if I get it out beforehand I may be too calm onstage,” he says. Performing a role with both singing and acting came with its own challenges along the way. For Fabian, the biggest acting struggle is doing too much or too little. He says, “If I do too little, the jokes won’t be as well received. If I do too much, I can either hurt myself (for example falling off stage) or the jokes won’t make sense to viewers.” When it comes to singing, Fabian makes sure not to sing too forcefully so that the notes come out clearly.. 


Fabian has had lots of inspirations throughout his acting and musical career. He looks up to Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson and Aaron Tibet who is currently the lead in Moulin Rouge on Broadway. Fabian has also found inspiration at school. Mr. Gurrieri, his theater teacher freshman year, helped bring out Fabian’s interest in theater even more and was his director for the next three years. Even though Fabian may only be in high school right now, he dreams of being in a Broadway production of A Bronx Tale. “My dream role would be Calogero Anello in a Bronx Tale as it has been a huge dream of mine for a long time,” says Fabian. 


As his senior year draws to a close, Fabian is planning on attending Montclair State University in the fall. He committed a week before February break and is thrilled to continue his education in New Jersey for the next four years. Even though Fabian is still debating on what he would like to major in, if given the opportunity, would like to continue to pursue his career of theater in college, either acting or behind the scenes. For now, he is looking to expand his repertoire in preparation for college. Fabian says, “Each place is very different and I need to learn how to be in different moments of time for each role I plan to audition for.”


While it still hasn’t hit Fabian yet that The 25th Putnam County Spelling Bee was his last performance at NHS, he is glad to have performed it in-person, with his friends and family supporting him. The future is still unknown for Fabian, but it looks as though he will continue to do what he loves even if it is not as a career.  Fabian says, “I’m sad because I love to perform but I know I will get to do it again one day.” This may be the end of Fabian’s high school acting career, but his real life is only just beginning.