Nick Adams is hardly a Broadway new comer, but until now, the 27-year-old triple threat has garnered more attention for his impressive set of abs than he has his considerable chops.
That's all about to change.
Just as he prepares to wrap up his run as one of the Cagelles in the Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Folles comes news Adams will star in the Broadway adaptation of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, stepping into Guy Pearce's high-heels as up-and-coming drag persona Felicia Jollygoodfellow. It's his first time in a lead role, though turns in La Cage, A Chorus Line and Guys & Dolls have already scored him a devoted following.
The actor took some time out from his busy day -- he actually called while walking to the theatre for a matinee performance of La Cage -- to talk about the show, getting used to doing drag and why he aspires to have a career like Cheyenne Jackson.
The Advocate: Congratulations Nick. You must be thrilled Nick Adams: It's ridiculous. I'm so excited -- I can't even describe how it feels. Were you able to see the show in London before you auditioned? No, I'm only familiar with the film and with whatever I could find on YouTube. I read the script -- it's pretty close to the movie. It's just, obviously, more theatrical, but you get a good sense of it from watching the film. I wish I'd have the opportunity to see the cast in London before we start, but I don't think it's going to happen. The film is such a cult classic with gay audiences. Does that put more pressure on you to really deliver? I think I'm going to bring a lot of myself to it -- my first time watching it, I feel like I really connected with the Guy Pearce character. I don't know... I just had a feeling I was going to play it, and I just believed. I'm going to make it my own and I'm thrilled to be originating it on Broadway. That's the biggest dream come true for me. I'm going to have to work my ass off, but I can't wait.
You're still in La Cage, right? I am -- for three more weeks.
Doing that show must have been great training for Priscilla. It's been incredible. At my last call back for Priscilla, I was talking to them about how informative this process has been. It was really me doing my research, because I didn't really understand what being in drag really does for you. I understand now the sense of freedom it provides. When I'm all done up, it almost feels like I'm a clown in the way that I don't feel like myself. Within the show, especially, I felt a way that I wouldn't just being me... a gay man. It's been really informative, and I'm going to take what I learned from this show and take it to the next one.
Watch footage from the Australian cast below and read more from Adams on the following page.
You've done several shows on Broadway, but this is your first time out in such a central role. What are you most looking forward to about the show? Just having the opportunity to do something that's going to change my life. Every show that I've done has been a stepping stone to get to this place. I've loved every opportunity I've had and I think this is going to be the most fulfilling thus far. And it's a great show -- I just feel really honored to be given this change.
As an out actor, do you look to Broadway leading men like Cheyenne Jackson for inspiration? Absolutely -- I've just started in the last year and a half to dabble in some TV and film, and I think it's sort of the natural way it goes. If you have a successful theater career, it's a much easier transition. I've always just wanted to be an actor... in any genre. I'm hoping the opportunities open up even more than they already have. I aspire to be a Cheyenne Jackson because he comes from the ensemble and was an understudy and then a leading man. It's so surreal this is actually what's happened to me.
Do you think it's still an uphill battle to break into TV and film as a gay actor? I definitely do. That whole thing with Newsweek and Sean Hayes and the backlash that came from that -- I definitely feel like my career may have been different if I wasn't gay or was closeted, but I don't regret anything, and I've still been able to make a wonderful career for myself and not hide my personal life. It's been really important for me to enjoy my life and not worry about it.
- Priscilla will begin its out of town tryout in Toronto this October before heading to Broadway in 2011.