Nicholas Bouthillette is living out his dream.
The actor works for Feld Entertainment Inc., producers of the Disney Live! productions. He portrays James in "Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate and Princess Adventure," which is coming to Savannah on July 26 for two performances.
The production features two separate shows: "Sofia the First" and "Jake and the Never Land Pirates." A 90-city national tour will launch in Savannah.
As a child, Bouthillette saw that a performance of "Les Miserables" was going to be presented at a local high school and begged to go.
"I fell in love with theater ever since I saw it," he says.
He credits his parents for supporting a dream.
"My brother loves sports, so they put him in every sports team they ever had," he says. "I said, 'I want to be on TV,' so they put me in acting classes and told me to major in whatever I wanted. I picked broadcast communications in college."
He loves performing.
"I can't really do a lot of stuff behind the camera because I live in front of the camera," he says. "My acting is kind of like slapstick with lots of pratfalls."
Portraying Prince James, Bouthillette is the good guy.
"When Sofia's mother marries into royalty, I help Sofia adjust to life in the castle," he says. "My sister is not very nice, so I have to put her back into place."
The role requires that Bouthillette be both regal and studious, a departure from previous roles.
"I always played silly characters," he says. "This is a way I can grow as an actor.
"The best part of it all is waking up in the morning thinking I'm having people come see me perform on stage," Bouthillette says. "Those kids are exactly where I was at 8 years old. I want to make those kids feel the way I did back then.
IF YOU GO
What: Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate and Princess Adventure
When: 4 and 7 p.m. July 26
Where: Johnny Mercer Theatre, Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave.
Cost: Tickets are $20, $25, $30 VIP and $45 front row
Info: 912-651-6550, www.etix.com
"These children really think you're that character," he says. "That's very empowering. They're meeting their stars, their favorite cartoon character."
In the original storyline, Mickey and Minnie lead the audience on an adventure featuring Jake the pirate and Disney's first little girl princess, Sofia.
There's even an interactive pre-show featuring a lovable 6-year-old doctor for toys and stuffed animals named Doc McStuffins.
Children and their parents can sing "The Check-Up Song" along with Doc as she provides tender love and care.
Then the audience is whisked away to the magical world of Enchancia, where Sofia, her stepsiblings Amber and James, and the entire kingdom are preparing for the annual friendship festival. Sofia has the honor of delivering the perfect gift to her royal subjects at the celebration, and Cinderella visits the castle to help Sofia in her mission to find just the right present.
The final portion of the show is set in Never Land, where Jake and his Yo Ho pirate friends Izzy and Cubby are in a race against time to locate a mysterious treasure-filled volcano. They fly as they do battle with Captain Hook, with the help of Tinker Bell's pixie dust and special guest Peter Pan.
The production is based on some favorite children's programs: "Doc McStuffins," "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" and "Sofia the First." The Disney Junior series invites parents to join their children in watching the stories, which are designed for ages 2 to 7.
"The Feld Entertainment mission of providing quality live entertainment experiences that the entire family enjoys starts with Disney Live! because it is often a young fan's first theatrical experience," producer Alana Feld says.
"Children everywhere are falling in love with Sofia and Jake, and we are thrilled to bring these popular Disney Junior characters to the stage for the first time ever."
Bouthillette was just 8 years old when he started performing.
"I loved watching movies and television shows when I was a child, and I told my mother and father that I wanted to be famous one day," he says.
"That's when they let me try out for a production at a summer theater. I landed a lead role."
In high school, he won numerous dance awards.
"The toughest challenge has to be learning a show in a foreign language," he says. "It is a constant tongue twister. Another challenge is learning dance combinations in a short period of time because I need that muscle memory to set in ..."
At one point, Bouthillette was a competitive ice racer.
"An ice racer is a normal dirt bike with special screws that are placed in the tires for traction," he says.
"My uncle built dirt bikes and dune buggies. I saw him race a dirt bike on ice and wanted to try it.
"He let me borrow one of his motorcycles," he says.
"It's so exhilarating to ride a motorcycle on a frozen pond. I kept getting first place after first place. Whenever I tell people about this, they think I'm joking."
Bouthillette strongly supports the Special Olympics and special education.
"Individuals with special needs hold a very close spot in my heart," he says. "I've been friends with my neighbor since we were young. She's the most special girl you will ever meet.
"From the time we got home from school in the afternoon to when it was time for bed, we were inseparable," Bouthillette sats. "Her upbringing wasn't the greatest, so that is why I feel the rights for any special needs (person) should be met and understood by all."
One of the best parts of his job is the travel.
"I love every aspect of flying and driving," Bouthillette says. "Living on a tour bus is amazing because after a long day at work, I can just curl up inside my bunk and listen to music while the bus rocks me to sleep."
During his free time, Bouthillette likes to explore.
"I love to walk all over the town to see how people live their day-to-day lives in the city we are currently playing," he says.
"I was in Savannah three to four years ago and did a lot of walking," he says. "I really got to know the city."
Previously, Bouthillette performed in "Disney Live! presents Mickey's Magic Show," "Playhouse Disney Live!" and "Disney's Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever!" as Ferb. Before that, he was a parade performer at Walt Disney World.
Audiences will get their money's worth, he says.
"When you buy tickets, it's like buying two tickets in one," he says. "It's like two shows for one price.
"I prefer to sit in the balcony where you can see everything on stage," he says. "We have a lot of special effects. The Never Land section has people flying."