Matt Nesmith says he got bit by the theater bug while doing a production of “How to Eat Like a Child,” as a sophomore at Lincoln Southeast.

His appetite for the stage quickly evolved from the kiddie menu.

He tried everything from plays to musicals, including a production of “Jesus Christ, Superstar” at Pinewood Bowl one summer. He eventually chose to major in opera when he enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He would graduate from South Dakota State and go on to become a professor and coordinator of the musical theater program at the University of South Dakota.

“It was a circuitous journey,” said Nesmith, who will star in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” which runs Thursday through June 27 at TADA Theatre, 700 P St.

Nesmith’s three-hour trek south from Vermillion, South Dakota, will reunite him with TADA co-founder and artistic director Bob Rook, a childhood friend of sorts.

The two knew each other and spent time together only because their late fathers — Jim Nesmith and Richard Rook — were best friends. But, because Bob was a few years older, they didn’t run in the same circles.

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