Nick Cordero's Mentee Reflects on Their Past 'Heart-to-Heart' Conversations: His 'Legacy Lives on'

Nick Cordero died on July 5 from coronavirus complications at the age of 41

Joe Nalieth, nick cordero
Nick Cordero and Joe Nalieth. Photo: Vanguard Theater Company

Nick Cordero's theater family is paying tribute the late star in a special way.

In PEOPLE's exclusive preview of the Vanguard Theater Company's Fifth Annual Broadway Buddy Mentorship Cabaret on Thursday, Joe Nalieth, who studied under Cordero as part of the organization's mentorship program last year, looks back at their time together as he honors the actor in a touching tribute.

"There truly is no substitute for an old-fashioned heart-to-heart about dreams, struggles and the path an artist must walk with a person you idolize. Now I can go on for hours about all the qualities that made Nick so amazing, but I don't have to because everyone on Broadway has a Nick Cordero story," Nalieth says. "This man managed to make an impact on every life he came across. We can only aspire to live life as authentically as he did."

"Nick, you may have been taken from us too soon, but your legacy lives on in your iconic performances and in all the positivity you brought to the world," he continues. "On behalf of the entire Vanguard family, thanks for everything."

In addition to the tribute to Cordero, Thursday's virtual cabaret will feature an introduction from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as well as student mentees performing with Broadway actors from shows such such as Frozen, Dear Evan Hansen, Ain’t Too Proud, The Lion King and Aladdin.

Access to the online concert, which will be broadcasted on BroadwayHD to benefit The Actors Fund’s COVID-19 emergency relief efforts, can be obtained by "reserving a seat" with the Vanguard Theater Company.

Cordero — who starred in Broadway productions of Waitress and Rock of Ages, and earned a Tony Award nomination for Bullets Over Broadway — passed away on July 5 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he had been hospitalized for over 90 days due to complications related to the COVID-19 virus.

He is survived by his wife Amanda Kloots and their 14-month-old son Elvis Eduardo.

Earlier this month, Kloots shared a tribute addressed to her late husband to mark the one-month anniversary of his death.

Nick Cordero and Amanda Kloots
Nick Cordero and Amanda Kloots. amanda kloots/instagram

"Dear Nick, it’s been one month since you’ve been gone," Kloots wrote alongside a picture of the couple together on her Instagram. "I wish I could say it has got easier, but with each passing day I miss you more and more."

"I wish I could see you, hold you, kiss you, talk to you, hear your voice, get a hug, see you with Elvis," she wrote. "Your huge presence in our lives is missed every second of every day."

"I love you forever and always ❤️," she added.

In support of Cordero's family, a GoFundMe page was created to raise funds for his medical bills.

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