Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nicholas Rodriguez

34-year-old openly gay actor Nicholas Rodriguez is one of the stars (Dan) of the web series Then We Got Help, and made his mark in the role of Nick on ABC’s One Life to Live in 2009. His soap opera character came between Kyle and Oliver in daytime TV’s first gay love triangle. All of the gay characters were written out of the show in the early months of 2010, but the storyline touched many people (clip at end of post). Rodriguez turned a four episode hire into a seven month stint.

Nicholas told MetroWeekly last year: ”In New York I had this one kid come to me and say, ‘I watched you propose to that boy with my grandma.’ This gay, 13 year-old boy was so excited that he got to see a man propose to another man. It was incredible.”

Rodriguez, the son of a football coach, is a talented singer, actor and entertainer who hails from Austin, Texas. The 6'1" Latino tenor made his Broadway debut as the King of the Apes in Tarzan and starred in a Washington DC production of The Light in the Piazza. He also starred as Curly (at left) in the musical Oklahoma!, a multiracial revival that became the best selling show in the history of Washington DC’s Arena Stage. Regarding his own ethnicity, Nicholas says, “My father's Mexican-American, and my mom's Cherokee and Welsh.”

Rodriguez’s partner of eight years is director Matt Lenz. “We first met when he directed me as Ramon in Love! Valor! Compassion! at the Zach Scott Theatre in Austin, Texas. He's incredibly talented and obviously good-looking. Matt's a really caring, funny person.

Matt Lenz: Nicholas is special. He's so grounded. He dreams, but he's also a realist. It's been thrilling to see him grow into a leading man. He plays Curly with such a masculine vulnerability. I'm so proud of him. Someone asked me, "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" I said, "I'm happily playing the role of Mrs. Rodriguez for a few days." And Nicholas is a great cook. He makes fantastic chicken enchiladas. I'm spoiled. I found a sexy guy who also cooks.

Nicholas Rodriguez: And Matt is the master of the grill. His steaks always taste good. For me, I love cooking, because it's similar to acting and singing. You have a recipe or a way to do it, but you can embellish it and get creative. I love the Food Network, and I'm addicted to Top Chef. After the D.C. stint, I'm taking a class at the Institute of Culinary Education.

Regarding his role as Nick Chavez on One Life to Live: “Mindblowing. Teenagers would find me on Facebook and say, 'I never saw a gay person on TV I could relate to, until you.' I got a letter from a grown man in Mississippi who lives there in a small town that he finds soulless; he watched clips from One Life to Live because he couldn't be as open as he'd like to be. It's incredible that people identified with it. Before I did One Life to Live, I always told people that, 'Yeah, I'm openly gay, but you won't find me at the front of the parade.' But now that I've played a gay activist and seen people's responses, I know it doesn't behoove any of us to sit at the back of the bus. Change can happen, but only if we stand up for it. Because of Nick Chavez, I've realized that my voice is important.

A scene from One Life to Live:

In his review of Oklahoma!, Patrick Foillard of the Washington Blade wrote: “Rodriguez again destroys the fallacy that gay actors cannot credibly play straight romantic leads. The chemistry between him and Gamble is palpable.” A clip from a promotion interview during the Arena Stage production of Oklahoma!, for which Rodriguez won a Helen Hayes award:


  1. Saw you as Lancelot at Two Rivers theatre and was transfixed - great job!

  2. Adorable...young..talented...and humble!?