Tony nominee credits Opera Fusion Executive Director with setting his path to Broadway

From the article: “Joshua Henry does whatever it takes, in ‘Carousel’ and as a father” by Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times, May 10, 2018

If, when he was 15, Mr. Henry had been given a glimpse of his future — the Broadway debut at 23 in “In the Heights”; his first Tony nomination, at 26, for “The Scottsboro Boys”; a second three years later, for “Violet” — it would have seemed foreign to him. The youngest of three children of Jamaican immigrants, who attended a small Christian school north of Miami where his father taught math, he’d always been musical. But he’d never seen professional theater and had no idea it could be a career.

“I had fully intended to work at an accounting firm like my mom,” he said. Then came an intervention that Mr. Henry credits with everything good that came after. When he was 16, his choir teacher, Birgit Fioravante, urged him to audition for the school production of “The Music Man.” He ended up playing the male lead, Harold Hill.  “Afterward, she took me aside and she was crying,” Mr. Henry said. “She was like, ‘You can do this for a living.’ And I was like, ‘Do what?’”

In an interview, Ms. Fioravante said that she’d worried about encouraging a student to follow a path where the odds against success are so steep. “I’d never done it before,” she said, “and I haven’t done it since.”  For a year, she gave Mr. Henry free private voice lessons at her house. She prepared him for his audition at the University of Miami, where he was admitted into the musical theater program and met his wife, who lived across the hall. More recently, Ms. Fioravante helped to train him vocally for “Carousel.”

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