Nick Garrison was a versatile and charismatic actor, singer, director, and writer who delighted audiences with his performances in Seattle and beyond. He was best known for his role as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which he played in several cities and countries. He also appeared in many productions at Seattle Rep and other local theaters. He died unexpectedly on July 26, 2022, at the age of 47, leaving behind a legacy of art and friendship.
Nick Garrison’s Life and Career
Nick Garrison was born on November 9, 1974, in Kodiak, Alaska. He grew up in Seattle, attending the Northwest School. He studied in Paris for a year after high school, and then moved to New York City, where he worked as a waiter and a drag performer. He returned to Seattle in the mid-1990s, where he started his theater career.
He worked with various theater companies, such as Intiman, the Empty Space, Re-Bar, the 5th Avenue Theatre, and Seattle Rep. He was known for his ability to transform into different characters, from Shakespearean fools to glamorous divas. He had a powerful voice and a magnetic presence that captivated the audience.
His most acclaimed role was Hedwig, the genderqueer rock singer from East Berlin, in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He first played the role in 2000 at Re-Bar, and then reprised it in Chicago, San Francisco, and England. He returned to Seattle in 2004 for a sold-out run at the Moore Theatre. He received rave reviews and awards for his performance, which was described as “electrifying” and “heartbreaking”.
He also starred in several productions at Seattle Rep, such as Beard of Avon, Twelfth Night, Boom, Three Tall Women, and This. His most memorable role at Seattle Rep was Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, the German transvestite who survived the Nazis and the Communists, in I Am My Own Wife. He played the role in 2012, directed by the late Jerry Manning, the former artistic director of Seattle Rep. He received a standing ovation on opening night and a Gregory Award nomination for his performance.
Nick Garrison’s Death and Legacy
Nick Garrison died on July 26, 2022, while walking on a trail in Bothell. He was found by a passerby, who called 911. The cause of his death was not disclosed, but it was reported that he had been struggling with addiction and health issues in the past few years. He had also been caring for his mother, who had cancer.
His death shocked and saddened his family, friends, and colleagues, who remembered him as a talented and generous person. Seattle Rep artistic director Braden Abraham said, “He was a brilliant artist and a beautiful human being. He had a huge heart and a wicked sense of humor. He was a joy to work with and a joy to watch. He will be deeply missed by everyone who knew him.”
Nick Garrison left behind a legacy of art and friendship that will live on in the memories of those who loved him and saw him perform. He was a star of the Seattle theater scene, who brought joy and inspiration to many people. He was a true original, who never stopped creating and exploring. He was Nick Garrison, and he was fabulous.