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Broadway & Parenthood 'Lion King' dad shares homeschooling tips

Nick Cordileone firmly fits into the role of cool dad. 

Nick Cordileone, left (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Currently cast as Timon, the meerkat that introduces “The Lion King” audiences to the “Hakuna Matata” song and mindset, Cordileone is touring the country with the Broadway production of the much-loved play. This week, he arrives in Baltimore with his castmates and his 15-year-old daughter.

For the past six years, the Hoboken, New Jersey-based actor has held two parts, homeschooling his daughter in the day and taking the stage at night.

This unconventional lifestyle has been a “huge blessing,” Cordileone says. “Travel is an education” and traveling with a teenager is “kind of great.”

There is much for teens to navigate and negotiate, he says, and having so much one-on-one time with his daughter, for example, helps him support her as she “uncovers the type of person she is going to be.”

“It’s less complicated when fewer teenagers are doing all that at the same time,” he says. “What she loses in not having a big peer group, she gains in focus.”

What is their day-to-day schedule like? The day starts with online lessons, followed by a little city exploration. Because the company generally stays in each location for two to three weeks, Cordileone and his daughter become like “mini locals.”

“It is tricky because the trap is to feel like you’re on vacation,” Cordileone says. “But we have to block off the time (for schoolwork).”

His wife teaches at New York University and visits them in each city. In between, FaceTime and other digital communications help. The family’s holiday tradition is to celebrate in someplace new every year. This Thanksgiving, they will be in Maryland with family, and for Christmas, they will be in Buffalo, New York.

Cordileone previously played roles in “Hamlet” and “Crime and Punishment,” but he has played Timon for the past seven years. 

“It’s so fun. I love how the audience responds,” he says. “It’s just a blast.”

“The Lion King” is at The Hippodrome Nov. 16-Dec. 10.

About Jessica Gregg

Jessica Gregg is the editor of Baltimore's Child. She is a happy rowhouse dweller and mother of two.

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