Nicholas Podany: The local boy who knew he could — and did

| May 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
ALBUS POTTER (Nicholas Podany, left) has a heart-to-heart talk with best friend Scorpius Malfoy (Bubba Weiler) in the owlery at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

When young Nicholas Podany went to sleep each night at his family home in Windsor Square, it was to the sound of his mother, Amanda Podany, reading him imaginative tales, usually from his favorite Harry Potter books. From Kent, England, she would read each character in its own dialect, says Podany. “She was good!” he added.

It wasn’t always Harry Potter, though. Sometimes she also read him books from Artemis Fowl, the Magic Tree House series, and the Captain Underpants series.

Fast forward several years, and now audiences can watch the 23-year-old Podany play Albus Potter, Harry Potter’s son, in the Broadway production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.

From there to here

So, how did Nicholas Podany get from being the little boy listening to his mother reading him stories each night, and who hung out on Larchmont Blvd., to becoming an actor, musician and writer who portrays a character from one of his favorite book series in a Broadway production?

The short answer is a playful imagination, a lot of work and a little bit of luck.

For a more complete answer, we asked Nicholas’ parents Amanda and Jerry Podany: “Sometimes it seemed we only added water, stood back, made sure we were not in his way, and then watched him grow,” said Jerry.

“Okay, maybe more than water,” he conceded.

Nicholas’ creative expression began early, says Amanda.

“We thought at first that he might be a musician. He took to drumming very early (at about age two) and started taking piano lessons when he was six, and he later taught himself guitar and bass guitar. He was in a band in high school as the bass player and lead singer, and he still composes and records music. But once he started acting that was clearly his passion. There was no question that he would pursue it — nothing could have stopped him.”

SCORPIUS AND ALBUS (Bubba Weiler and Nicholas Podany) during a scene in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

Just as with his older sister, Emily, who is now a physician, his passions and personality were clear from the start. For example, when Nicholas was 11, his parents were waiting at the airport for their daughter to come back from college for vacation. People were standing around and waiting in the baggage claim area and checking their phones. “Nick had had enough of this boring scene,” says Amanda. “He walked to the doors where passengers would be arriving, faced the waiting crowd, and proceeded to sing and tap dance. And those previously awkward strangers laughed and applauded. That’s what it was like raising Nicholas.”


“When did I write my first song or my first play or movie? The trouble is I was ​constantly ​making things,” said Nicholas.

His first part was as Duke Orsino in a children’s production of “Twelfth Night” when he was six. The play was directed by Lea Floden, who teaches at Colburn School and worked with Nicholas in several productions through the Los Angeles Youth Theater until he was 13. Floden began to coach him privately until he entered Juilliard.

His first professional play was “On Golden Pond” when he was 14 years old at the Colony Theatre in Burbank, where he worked with Hal Linden. At 15, he had his first TV role as a recurring guest star on “Hart of Dixie” on the CW network.

Growing up Larchmontian

Though he went to the Open Charter Magnet School in Westchester through 5th grade, by Grade 6, Nicholas was walking to school at St. James’ with his own roller backpack. (“I know,” he jokes. “I was just ​that cool.”) He attended Brentwood School for middle and high school before going off to Juilliard.

Growing up in Windsor Square, Nicholas said he regularly went to the Larchmont Family Fair, had Sunday breakfasts at the Original Farmers Market and hung out at The Grove. Some of his favorite haunts included the former Blockbuster at 147 N. Larchmont Blvd. and what is now Erin McKenna’s Bakery, then known as Baby Cakes, at 236 N. Larchmont Blvd.

He rode his bike everywhere, he says, until he was hit by a car when he was eight years old while crossing Third Street.

“The collision broke my left femur, gave me a concussion, and put me in a cast and wheelchair for three months, but if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, I would have certainly not survived. As it is, as soon as I got out of my cast, I began tap dancing at the Colburn School downtown.”

A “triple-threat”

A “triple-threat” in the entertainment world is someone who can act, dance and sing. Not content to be a dancer and actor, Nicholas also was in a band that played original music, as well as Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, classic rock and other tunes. The band not only rehearsed at Swing House Studios in Atwater Village, but Nicholas says he also converted his parents’ study into his own mini-studio that he used to produce his Lego movies as well as make music.

In 10th grade, he was hired to perform in a play called “Hermetically Sealed” at the Skylight Theatre. “We performed for three months, during which time I realized that storytelling could be more than just fun; it could be a life. My life,” says Nicholas.

A man approached him after one performance and told Nicholas that after he watching the play, he would be contacting his son whom he hadn’t spoken to for five years. “And that sort of did it,” says Nicholas.

Albus Potter

In 2018, four months after graduating from the Juilliard School in New York City, he was notified that he’d be performing on Broadway as Harry Potter’s son in the eighth installment of J.K. Rowling’s series, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

THE CAST of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” during a school event with house banners.
All photos by Matthew Murphy.

“Now when I go out after a performance, I see kids in their favorite wizarding robes holding copies of my character’s wand. It’s better than a dream,” says Nicholas, who spent his own youth playing in wizards’ robes and enjoying the world of Harry Potter.

“While I was re-reading the series this most recent time for research for the show, my mom recorded herself reading the third and sixth books, and you know, Jim Dale [the official narrator of the Harry Potter books] is good, but he’s got nothing on Amanda Podany. I’m sure that listening to my mom read these stories every night as a child had a profound impact on my decision to become a storyteller myself. And she gave me a master class in dialect work; I’m basically just doing my impression of my mother’s young Harry Potter every night when I play his son, Albus,” says Podany.

Advice to aspiring artists

“Looking back, it felt like I just had this hunger to create constantly, and had no reason to ​not c​reate,” says Nicholas. “I never wondered whether the product was ‘good enough.’ I just kept making what I wanted to make and never stopped. I mean, I had a weekly TV show that I’d screen for my family called ‘Barbie McCentral,’ where I took my sister’s Barbies and filmed them as part of a news outlet / talk show. It didn’t feel busy; it didn’t feel extraordinary; it felt fun, and all I wanted was to do more.”

“It was a matter of giving him the resources he needed to express his creativity,” says father Jerry Podany, “which was broad. It filled every available space inside him and all around him, and in every corner of the house — along with his drums, guitars, drawings, and Lego stage sets — everywhere. He knew what he wanted from a very early age and it was clear that he was the happiest when he was immersed in those things.  Music, drawing and, of course, acting.  What he aimed for often seemed improbable, but equally often he achieved it.”

“My advice to aspiring artists?” asks Nicholas. “Don’t worry if it’s good enough, ’cause if you’re asking that question, it never will be. I still have that hunger to create, I think I have even ​more now, but that question always creeps up; ‘Is it enough? Am I enough?’ Creating, storytelling, auditioning, the grind of it all, can be frustrating if not downright suffocating at times. But keep going, keep making, and never ever take yourself too seriously.

“A working actor is a person who is getting ​paid t​o make pretend. That’s ridiculous! It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind of it all, that you lose sight of the fact that all of it is fun. It can be inspiring, heartbreaking, build a culture, define a generation, but mostly, it’s fun.

“The best advice I’ve ever received was when I met Ann Rutherford after doing a show in 9th grade. Ann took me by the hand and said ‘keep going, because it’s a wonderful life.’”

To keep up with what Nicholas Podany is doing, check out his website at

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Category: People

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