Q & A with “Cockroach” from Cirque du Soleil’s OVO
Glimpse into the inimitable insect world of Cirque du Soleil's OVO, and find out what life is like on the road for one of the performers touring with his family.
Combine the underground world of beetles, bugs and “All Things Insects” with a musical blend of bossa nova, samba, funk, and electro music—topped off with the intricate artistry of costume that mimics the life and work of insects—and you”ve got a recipe for family fun: Cirque du Soleil’s latest offering, OVO, debuting at Loveland’s Budweiser Event Center Wed., Jan. 11, 2017.
A title meaning “egg” in Portuguese, the OVO story begins when a mysterious one appears in an imaginative ecosystem, leaving its cast of creatures curious to learn more. Among those characters is Cockroach, played in real life by Chicago musician Nathan Lerohl, 40. A self-taught musician who went on to earn a master’s degree in Classical Solo Literature, the professional Electric Bass/Double Bass player began his first contract with Cirque du Soleil’s show Corteo in Japan in 2008.
Now married to wife Lorenna, 29, and dad to 15-month-old James, Lerohl tours with his family in tow, a journey the couple are documenting for a future book. Colorado Parent recently got a chance to catch up with the family man to ask about life on the road with a wife and young son.
CP: Why is this show a good one for families?
NL: Ovo is a wonderful show for families. First, it’s about bugs, and what little kid doesn’t love bugs? The bright colors, the music, the love story; it’s all a great backdrop to our life on tour.
CP: How do you “juggle” (pun intended) a demanding performance schedule with your wife/child along?
NL: It starts with planning each leg of the tour by city, researching everything from free parking and laundry facilities to our proximity to shopping destinations. Despite a fairly consistent work schedule, it’s still a struggle to organize the logistics of work travel with the demands of family time and something as simple as our son’s naptimes. But my wife and I do our best to ride the wave of challenges, not fight it.
CP: What’s the advantage of having your wife and child with you throughout the tour?
NL: I realize I’m the kind of artist who works better with family around me, so I’m grateful to have my wife and son along for most of the tour. Of course there are exceptions—like when we tour outside the U.S., when luggage, visas, and traveling with a baby present significant hurdles—but I’m lucky to have a partner who is up for just about anything to allow us to be together as a family.
CP: Do the grandparents get to visit James while you’re on the road?
NL: My wife is from Brazil, I’m from the U.S., and our son was born in Panama, so James has three passports already! So since we”re mostly touring in the States, my side of the family has been able to see us from time to time. Our Brazilian family hasn’t gotten to visit as much, though, but our home in Panama makes for a good halfway point. And in the meantime, our son lives among many adopted aunts and uncles, who can entertain him with amazing, super-human feats. We live and travel together as one big family, which makes me very happy.
CP: Will you plan to allow your son to tour with you once he’s old enough for school?
NL: Our son is only 15 months now, so formal education isn’t something we have planned yet. For now, we are lucky that our son is exposed to different languages and cultures, and I’m confident this experience will provide a solid and open foundation for his formal-education years.