Nicole Scherzinger will return to the stage where she performed as a Wright State student to be honored by the university and give two talks for current performing art students who hope to follow in her footsteps.
The famed singer, actress and dancer will visit Wright State on Monday, Aug. 27, for several private events in the Creative Arts Center. The events are not open to the public.
She will participate in a question-and-answer session with students, faculty and university supporters. Joe Deer, chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures, will lead the discussion. Scherzinger will also talk one on one with students.
During her visit, Scherzinger will receive the 2017 Alumna of the Year Award from the Wright State Alumni Association. (She was unable to attend the ceremony last fall.)
“The awards committee, made up of Nicole’s fellow degreed and non-degreed alumni, selected her because of her international acclaim, multiple award nominations, including Grammy and Olivier, and platinum-selling albums combined with her frequent acknowledgement of Wright State University as an important influence in her growth and success,” said Greg Scharer, executive director of alumni relations.
As a student at Wright State from 1996 to 1999, Scherzinger performed in numerous productions, including Velma Kelly in “Chicago” and Julie La Verne in “Show Boat.” She decided to leave the university after consulting her professors about an opportunity in Hollywood that ended up launching her stellar career.
Deer, who taught Scherzinger when she was at Wright State, called her a standout student.
“Her obvious talent and, almost as striking, her kindness were undeniable,” Deer said. “I have had students with either great talent or incredible drive and focus. But Nicole is the rare student with both.”
Deer said he’s proud to call Scherzinger an alumna of the Wright State Acting Program and a real friend.
“Following her incredible career over these years is one of the great pleasures of my teaching life at Wright State,” he said. “So the chance to honor her as our outstanding alumna is really a perfect way to recognize a woman who has been successful as an artist, a popular culture phenomenon, and as a deeply caring and generous supporter of so many causes.”
The Grammy-nominated Scherzinger has accrued No. 1 singles on both sides of the Atlantic, selling 37 million singles worldwide, including 16 million records as a solo artist and 54 million albums as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls.
She won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2010, performed in the ABC remake of “Dirty Dancing” and joined Neil Patrick Harris to co-host his variety series “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris.” She has also been a judge on the U.S. and U.K. versions of the “X Factor.”
Scherzinger has made a name for herself on the West End stage, earning a nomination for a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance as “Grizabella” in a revival of “Cats.” Andrew Lloyd Webber called her recording of “Memory” the “best recording of anything of my music ever done.”
Deer was able to see Scherzinger perform in “Cats” in London.
“She was galvanizing — a real star,” he said. “I had to remind myself that this is the same person who sat in my classes, worked so beautifully in rehearsals and was one of the most respectful students I’ve known.”
Scherzinger starred in the acclaimed musical “Rent” at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, for which she received rave reviews, and performed with acclaimed Italian classical tenor Andrea Bocelli part of the PBS “Great Performances” series. She was also featured on Paul McCartney’s U.N. Foundation charity single “Love Song to the Earth.”
Outside of her work in the entertainment industry, Scherzinger is an ambassador for UNICEF and a global ambassador for the Special Olympics.