Nick Cordero, the Tony-nominated actor who created leading roles in the Broadway musicals Bullets Over Broadway, Waitress, and A Bronx Tale, has died after an arduous, lengthy battle with the coronavirus. The actor passed away July 5, 2020, at age 41.
"God has another angel in heaven now," wrote his his wife, Amanda Kloots, in an Instagram post. "My darling husband passed away this morning. He was surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth."
Throughout the past few months, fellow actor Kloots had been sharing updates about Mr. Cordero’s condition on her social media with requests for prayers, good vibes, and a daily dance to Mr. Cordero’s song “Live Your Life” with the hashtag #WakeUpNick.
Mr. Cordero first became ill March 20. While initially diagnosed with pneumonia, doctors at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles later determined he had the coronavirus. Mr. Cordero, who was put on a ventilator after a day in the ICU, became unconscious March 31. He had been responding to medication, but after a problem with bloodflow to his leg, he was taken into surgery April 12, and doctors ultimately had to amputate his right leg.
Mr. Cordero, who was born September 17, 1978, in Hamilton, Ontario, made his Broadway debut in 2012 when he stepped into the roles of Dennis and Record Company Man in the Tony-nominated musical Rock of Ages. He subsequently created the role of Cheech, the tap-dancing, theatre-loving gangster in the Woody Allen musical Bullets Over Broadway in 2014. In his review for The New York Times, Ben Brantley said, "Mr. Cordero never pushes for effect, even when he’s leading a homicidal dance number to '’Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness if I Do.' And somehow, this dopey, mass-murdering thug and the actor playing him stand out as being far more endearingly earnest than anybody else." For that performance Mr. Cordero received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, and a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance.
In 2016 Mr. Cordero starred opposite Tony winner Jessie Mueller in Sara Bareilles' hit Broadway musical adaptation of the film Waitress, offering humanity and depth to a difficult character—Earl, the abusive, desperate husband of expert pie maker Jenna. Later that same year, the actor created the leading role of Sonny in A Bronx Tale: The Musical, based on Chazz Palminteri‘s book, film, and solo show about growing up in the mafia with a book by Palminteri, music by Alan Menken, and a book and lyrics by Glenn Slater. In his New York Times review Charles Isherwood wrote that "the terrific Mr. Cordero radiates a cool charisma that mixes a surface geniality with shrugging ruthlessness." Mr. Cordero's work was again recognized by the Drama Desk with a nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.
In the 2018 Broadway Center Stage production of Little Shop of Horrors at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mr. Cordero played the sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello in a star-studded company that also included Josh Radnor as Seymour, Megan Hilty as Audrey, Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart as Audrey II, and original Seymour, Lee Wilkof, as Mr. Mushnik.
Mr. Cordero's numerous theatrical credits also include Off-Broadway’s The Toxic Avenger and Brooklynite, the first national tour of Rock of Ages, and regional productions of The Toxic Avenger and Pippin. He played Victor Lugo on the TV series Blue Bloods and was also seen on screen in Mob Town, Inside Game, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Going in Style, A Stand Up Guy, Lilyhammer, Don Juan, Apartments at 254, and Queer As Folk.
Mr. Cordero and his family later moved to Los Angeles, where he starred in the newly mounted production of Rock of Ages (the show that marked his Broadway debut). Rock of Ages closed March 14 due to concerns over the pandemic.
Mr. Cordero is survived by his wife, the aforementioned Amanda Kloots—the two met during their time in Bullets Over Broadway—and their son Elvis Eduardo Cordero, who was born in June 2019.