Hey Guys, this is my “About” page. I wanted to include this page so that you could find out… well, more “about” me. I’ve tried to include as much as I can.
First, I was born in Alexandria, VA. I am the 5th born son to Leonard Napper and Eva Hayes Allen. I have 4 older brothers - Lander, Lennie, Carl and Kartez, and one younger sister named Sonjia. We moved to Woodbridge, VA when I was little. I do remember being the only black family in our town for a few years. We had some pretty awesome neighbors around us growing up.
Our next door neighbors Larry and Judy Seitz and our other neighbor Sue Carter use to invite us and the other neighborhood kids over every Friday and Saturday night. We would always perform skits for one another. Seriously, without knowing it, we were all doing improv. It was there where my love of acting was born. I was probably about 8 years old.
In school, I wish I’d done better. My grades were just average. All I wanted to do was go home, play with my friends and watch television. I was too young to understand, but I really wanted to act.
The FIRST musical movie thing I ever saw on TV (that I can remember) was seeing Gene Kelly dance. Didn’t know how they got those sounds to come out of his shoes like that but I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
When I graduated High School I worked at Wendy’s and then I started working construction and mowing grass for the Prince William County Park Authority. It was a fun job. I loved being outside. During my time there I visited a Dance Studio called “Dance Etc”. I met the studio owner Ann Boyle. I told her that I wanted to start taking dance lessons. I couldn’t afford the cost so I told her that I would “take out the trash, answer the phones, and clean the studio”, in trade for my classes. She said, “yes”, and my scholarship was born. I worked very hard because I wanted to be the best dancer ever. I continued to work for the Park Authority but never told anyone that I was taking dance lessons. I wanted to have a few months of dance under my belt before anyone knew.
Time passed and I continued dancing but moved on to a different dance studio. It was called “Terry’s School of Dance and Gymnastics”. The owner Terry Peyton was amazing. She had such a creative mind for movement. During my time at Terry’s I entered the world of competition dancing and won many trophies. I also got a job at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. as a graphic artist. Yes, the real Pentagon! In case you’re wondering… I LOVE to draw. Especially cartoons. Thought at one time I’d end up working for Hanna-Barbera!
Time passed and I ended up moving to New York City. That’s where I feel like my life really started coming together. It was a struggle at the beginning. I had little to no money most of the time and for a short period I was on public assistances. Thankfully I met my mentor Frank Hatchett in NY. He was an amazing choreographer and teacher. He honestly taught me HOW to teach and how to push myself to the next level. NY was and is an amazing chapter in my life. I thank God for it everyday.
In NY I continued to train as a dancer and actor and auditioned alot! My first television appearance was on ABC’s “All My Children”. I did background work for them. My mom and grandmother flipped out when they saw me on TV.
It was also in NY where I met my best friend Michael Boyce. We still remain best friends to this day. Over the course of our friendship, Michael has lent me over $10,000.00. I was a struggling artist when Michael and I first met. Because of him I was able to pay my rent, eat, and get my supplies for my daily day-to-day living. In case you’re wondering…YES, I paid him back. With interest!
It was also in NY that I met Brooke Shields. Brooke and I took Frank Hatchett’s dance class together and became great friends. It was because of Brooke that I first went to LA and started working on television at Warner Brothers. I thank God for Brooke everyday! Not sure where my career would be without her! My first job in television was working on her show, “Suddenly Susan”. It was there I learned everything I could about it - entrances, exits, hitting your mark, turning to camera, editing, timing, etc. It was the best training ground I could have ever asked for. I even got to choreograph for them a few times!
When my time on “Suddenly Susan” was over, I went on to MANY, MANY, MANY other shows based on my work performance. The directors and producers I had worked with in the past recommended me for other jobs. I then became a “dialogue coach”. Helping actors with their lines and learning the blocking for our guest stars. What an opportunity. Mann, I’m blessed. You couldn’t put a price tag on the things I learned. I ended up working for everybody! Disney, Touchstone, Warner Bros……and then came NICKELODEON!
I was back in NY and my phone rang. It was my good friend Will Bardelli. I had worked with him on “Suddenly Susan” “The George Lopez Show”, and “Nikki”. He was a camera coordinator for Nickelodeon and at the time, they were looking for a dialogue coach. He called me up and offered me the job. He called on a Friday. By Sunday night I was on my way to LA to start working for Nickelodeon! It was that quick!!!
On my first day, I started working on a show called “All That”. I was introduced to the actors on the show and we hit it off right away. It was fun but man did I stay busy! It was at Nickelodeon that I met the main man Dan Schneider. Dan was the mastermind behind the most popular shows in children’s television. I ended up working with Dan and my whole Nick family for years. Dan was (and still is) a great mentor in my life.
“Drake and Josh” probably gave me the most laughs. “iCarly” did MANY things for my career and television experience. I got to choreograph and draw many illustrations for that show. One of the biggest things that happened for me on that show was getting the opportunity to play “Ernie” in the now famous episode entitled, “iWas A Pageant Girl”.
My big television break came when Dan Schneider offered me the part of “Lane Alexander” the cool and hip Guidance Counselor on the TV hit “Victorious”. I also got to choreograph at least 90% of the shows episodes. What a ride! I loved playing the Guidance Counselor!
Most people think I’ve only done children's television but that’s just not true. I have done hundreds of television shows/projects “The Wayans Bros, Cosby, Ladies Man, Unfabulous, For Your Love and many others.
Today my life is going great. I’m currently in an Improv class that I love. I’m still auditioning and trying to work more as an actor and my choreography (I feel) keeps getting better. Not sure what tomorrow will bring but I somehow know that I’ll end up on another show (probably a sitcom) and my choreography will take a new turn. Very excited about my future!