Performer Nick Adams has made a career out of music. After earning a BFA in musical theater at the Boston Conservatory of Music, he joined the national tour of the musical Chicago before becoming a part of the Broadway cast.
He contributed to many hit revivals, including A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls, and La Cage Aux Folles. Adams famously originated the role of Adam/Felicia in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert that premiered on Broadway.
Television and film credits include Sex and the City 2, Smash and As the World Turns. His world is turning fast with new projects before and after an upcoming benefit in the Windy City.
Windy City Times: Start off with your background.
Nick Adams: I was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. I went to school in Boston. I have been in New York for 12 years.
WCT: Did you always love musicals?
NA: I started doing shows in my hometown in a little community theater when I was nine. I fell in love with it.
I was a really shy kid. I felt isolated, like a lot of theater people do, but I found a community that celebrated something I was good at. I never really considered doing anything else. I didn't make a choice of my profession. It was just understood that this was what I was going to do with my life.
WCT: Do you have a favorite musical of all time?
NA: It is hard to pick, but I grew up loving Chicago and A Chorus Line. They were the two shows I was obsessed with.
When I was in college as a young gay I had show posters on my walls from those two musicals. They are two Broadway shows I have done. It is pretty wild how that manifested.
WCT: You are living the dream. If there was a musical about your coming out what would it be called?
NA: Isn't It Obvious?
WCT: That's a good name for a musical! [both laugh] When did you come out of the closet?
NA: I went to a Catholic high school. Not that my parents gave me any indication that they wouldn't be a hundred percent accepting, but I didn't have the self-awareness that kids these days have. I wasn't exposed to any role models in that regard. I felt it wasn't normal so I tried to be what normal was at the time.
I did summer stock when I was 16 and lived in Cincinnati by myself for four months. I figured out who I was at that point as much as I could. By the time I was a freshman in college I was around people that were like me so it was not an issue.
I then shared that part of my life with my parents. They were very grateful I was finally ready to talk about it. It wasn't a big deal at all. I was fortunate.
WCT: When you landed the role in Priscilla, did you know it would be life changing?
NA: I knew in my gut that show was going to happen and that role was mine. I knew it would be my opportunity to move on from the ensemble. I set my sights on it and did everything in my power to make it happen.
My agent at the time had an office in Times Square. I had just done a commercial. I had to come in and fill out some tax paperwork. I came in and there was a stack of papers. I was initialing the bottom and flipped a page. Typed out was, "We have the offer for you to play the part of Felicia in Broadway's Priscilla." I am getting emotional just saying it. I just started sobbing. I will never forget it. I framed it later.
It it every actor's dream to create something from the ground up and star in a new musical. It was everything I could have wanted and more. It was so fun to perform and it resonated with people in our community. The magnitude of it was much greater with the way it impacted people. Fans still say to me today that show gave them the courage to come out or be proud of themselves. That was the biggest takeaway from the experience. It was't just a good time. It touched people.
It was absolutely life changing. I don't know if I will ever have that much fun in a show again. I hope I do, but I don't know how anything can top it. It was fabulous and a wild ride.
WCT: How was working with Kelsey Grammer in La Cage Aux Folles?
NA: Kelsey is a gracious, generous human being. He was so nice our first day of rehearsal. I grew up watching Frasier and Cheers. I didn't know what to expect, but by the second day he knew all of the ensemble. He made conversations and connections with everyone. At the beginning of every show he did an energy circle with us onstage before it started.
When I left La Cage to be in Priscilla he hosted a farewell party for me at the bar next door to the theater. He remembers me even years later and says he's proud of me.
WCT: Describe your upcoming show in Chicago.
NA: I am doing a handful of songs from shows I have been in or just love. There is some Priscilla in there of course. I will be joined onstage by some of the cast members who did Priscilla at Pride Films and Plays earlier this year. It will be fun for me to share that with them. I am really looking forward to it.
I love Chicago. I did a summer with Gus Giordano before I went to college. My first national tour after college was Chicago that started there and I did Pirate Queen there. I love the town and I am happy to help out our community.
WCT: What are you working on for the future?
NA: I just closed a run of Evita up in Boston at the North Shore Music Theatre where I played Magaldi with Constantine Maroulis, who was a classmate of mine in college before American Idol.
I am currently in Hunter Foster's Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Bucks County Playhouse. I am now rehearsing for The World Goes Round, which is the annual benefit for Abingdon Theatre Company in New York. I close Rocky then come out to Chicago.
When I return I start a musical called Mary and Max. It is based off of an Australian movie that was a claymation film with Toni Collette. It is a beautiful story. I go right from the airport when I get back to work on it.
WCT: Who knew an Australian accent would be so crucial to your career?
NA: I was happy to pull it back out again!
Join Adams and the Pride family at the fall benefit "Simply Sensational" on Monday, Nov. 6, at 4139 N. Broadway, with ticket information at PrideFilmsAndPlays.com or 800-737-0984.