Beginning with small birthday parties in 1994, at the age of fourteen, to being recognized internationally in the field of film and TV production, award winning (Best Comedy at the 2017 B Free Awards on Brooklyn’s BRIC Network) TV producer Nicholas Lemon continues to create a brand of content for TV, film and theatre that appeals to adults, as well as families of all ages.
From 1994-2005, better known as “The Touring Years”, Nicholas Lemon and his company produced and performed thousands of hours of unique and creative stage productions all while crafting the look and feel of an ever evolving production that wasn’t your typical theatrical show. Each production combined a cast of "legacy characters" that were brought to life through the talents of skilled actors; popular music; dance routines; professional lighting; pyrotechnics; etc. Nicholas continued to push the creative boundaries of how a theatrical show was typically defined.
Within a few years of co-founding the company, Nicholas decided that the best way to up the production values was to approach various international music artists to create puppet likenesses of them as well as incorporating their works into the live shows. “Weird Al” Yankovic was the first on board. At the ripe old age of sixteen, Nicholas negotiated with the Graceland estate for the creation of two puppet likenesses of Elvis Presley: the Gold Lamé and the ’68 Comeback Special. Due to the fragmented nature of the licensing rights for Elvis’s music, Nicholas had to negotiate with a number of different Canadian, American and British music labels. Shortly thereafter permission came from Elton John and Janet Jackson, among others. All of the artists agreed to the details without charging Nicholas or the company a licensing fee due to the high quality of work that was coming from the company.
Within a few years, the popularity of Nicholas and the company were in such demand that, he was performing over 250 shows a year. Due to these continued successes, various opportunities to branch out from schools and other public venues grew to include social organizations such as Al-Anon Family Groups and local police departments, using the company as an educational tool on topics such as anti-drugs and anti-bullying.
Threaded throughout his young life was Nicholas' love of Jim Henson. At the age of eleven, Nicholas wrote a letter to the Jim Henson Company saying that he would like to work for them, even if it was just mopping floors, cleaning toilets or getting donuts for them. Jane Henson graciously replied with encouraging words to continue with his love of puppets and to pursue the skills that are needed to be a good puppeteer, along with a Henson book to encourage him.
Several years went by and with many performances under his belt, Nicholas decided to send another letter off to the Henson Company. This time a response came from Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who performed Elmo. He explained that if Nicholas sent a video of his puppetry skills they would look at it and possibly offer him an invitation to their closed auditions, the next time they had one. Over the years Nicholas has had the pleasure of attending, and being trained at, several Jim Henson Company and Sesame Street, invitation only, workshops.
Henson Training: sesameworkshop (NYC) - Sesame Workshop’s Puppet Workshop (5 day
The Jim Henson Co. (NYC) - Puppet Workshop (3 day
The Jim Henson Co. (NYC) - Puppet Workshop (2 day)
Having the skills to make it through all of these allows him to say that both companies have him on their short list of qualified puppeteers for film and television productions.
By 2009, Nicholas had taken over ownership of the company. During this time period, he decided there was a need to stretch his creative reach once again and contacted the Food Network about their popular show Ace of Cakes. He offered to make a puppet likeness of master baker Duff Goldman. Thrilled with the idea, the producers countered with Nicholas' company creating puppet-likenesses of the main cast. These puppets made two appearances on the series, and in his book Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes, Duff counts them as one of his top five favourite moments.
That same year Nicholas helped to open Just for Laughs at Toronto’s Massey Hall, in collaboration with The Second City Toronto. In a garbage strike sketch, written by Canadian Comedy Award winners the Shehori Brothers, he was rolled onto the stage hidden in a large blue recycling bin from which he operated one of his puppets that was voiced by the host of the Food Network's You Gotta Eat Here, John Catucci.
After deciding to refocus the direction of the company, Nicholas shot a concept pilot to answer the question he had been asking himself for a very long time: What if Monty Python’s Flying Circus was created by Jim Henson? Out of that one question, Some TV! was born. This one hour special combines the fuzzy facet of Jim Henson's Muppets with the stream of consciousness aspects of Monty Python's Flying Circus (plus a dash of the human condition) created something for mature audiences that might be occasionally naughty, but not crass or crude.
This first Some TV! special began airing on Rogers TV Toronto in March of 2016 and it quickly spread out to other stations across Ontario and as of July 2016, has had its third airing on the Emmy nominated The BRIC Network in NYC. Nicholas is currently in talks with other stations in both Canada and the US.
Presently, Nicholas has the pleasure of working with Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton in partnering with the city for various media campaigns that will help bring attention to important social issues: TTC etiquette; xoTO Campaign; Fire and Bicycle Safety; to name just a few. These campaigns will not only educate the public on these issues, but will do it in an entertaining way.
To be continued …