Nick Adams Builds on his Body of Work

by Kevin Scott Hall

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday March 18, 2009

Nick Adams became instantly famous when he was booted to the back row in "A Chorus Line" last year. Today he's downstage in the current revival of "Guys and Dolls." Edge spoke with the hunk often described as having the best physique on Broadway.

Upstaging Mario

It can be intimidating to meet up with 25-year-old Nick Adams, currently in "Guys and Dolls" at the Nederlander Theater, who is often described as having the best physique on Broadway.

However, for our pre-show interview, Adams wore a bulky coat and loose-fitting sweat pants, displaying little of what made him famous after the tabloid kerfuffle during last year's Broadway run of "A Chorus Line." It was revealed that Adams was told to put on long sleeves and move to the back, as his biceps threatened to upstage those of star Mario Lopez.

Adams acknowledged that the story was true, but insisted, "There was no feud between the two of us. We're great friends and would even go to the gym together." In fact, Adams' friend, Courtney Laine Mazza, who accompanied him to our interview, is currently dating Lopez, a match that Adams set up.

"The fame that came from that was really overwhelming," Adams said. "I was just doing my job and then suddenly everyone was contacting me."

That exposure led to the covers of several magazines and a modeling contract with 2Xist underwear. "I'm getting to explore different aspects of the business that I wouldn't have been able to explore a year ago. My career was really kick-started."

Adams, who started singing as a child, was brought to his first Broadway show, "Chicago," by his father when he was 15. Serendipitously, several years later, after graduating from the Boston Conservatory of Music, where he studied musical theater, he landed the national tour of that same show-just two weeks after arriving in New York.

"I never gave myself another option," Adams said. "I always expected that if I put the work in, it would pay off." He paused, grinning widely and shaking his head. "Still, it's been a little faster than I anticipated."

That tour led to a stint in the Broadway production, the short-lived "The Pirate Queen," and then "A Chorus Line." He had done a Cincinnati summer stock production of the latter when he was 16, around the same time he started dancing.

Building his career

Given the demands of the choreography in "Guys and Dolls," in which Adams is put to prominent good use, especially in the Havana nightclub scene and the craps game scenes, it's hard to believe that he was first trained as a singer and actor.

"I play a gambler, a cop, a mechanic. I get to take on all these roles and I get to dance my ass off," he said of his current gig. Indeed, even in the relatively small role of the tough Liver Lips Louie, he makes an impression that is at odds with the soft-spoken, doe-eyed man I interviewed.

"The audiences have been fantastic, on their feet during the curtain call," Adams said (which this reporter can verify), expressing some annoyance with the largely negative reviews. He hopes it has a long, healthy run and plans to stick with it at least through his six-month contract.

"People expected that I would run out to LA when this fame thing happened," he said. "But a career is like building blocks. It's been a good climb for me and I love the journey of it all."

As for the pressures that come with that oft-discussed physique, Adams said, "Sometimes I have to remind the media that I was working on Broadway for a while before any attention was placed on my body. Life would be so easy if all I had to do was go to the gym to get a Broadway show," he laughed, acknowledging that he still takes acting, voice and dancing lessons.

"I keep myself in shape not only for the demands of the choreography but because I have been getting employment just based on that," Adams related. "And in times like this, I have to get income from every outlet possible."

He does go to the gym daily even when he doesn't always want to. "It keeps me motivated. When they hear you have the best body on Broadway-that's a lot to live up to!"

As for being openly gay, Adams simply said, "I leave the acting to the stage, I don't want to have to act in my private life." Thus far, his gay status seems to have helped his career: he has noted a huge increase in his fan base, especially since his cover on Instinct magazine, and said the producers of "Guys and Dolls" have noticed that a lot of people are checking up on his career.

Adams had a small role in last year's film, "An Englishman in New York" (based on the later years of Quentin Crisp) and he hopes to entertain more offers from television and film.

Until then, it's eight shows a week at the Nederlander. "When I walk to work and see the marquee, I still get that feeling of 'Oh my God, I'm doing this!' I don't think I'll ever see it as just a job."

Kevin Scott Hall is the author of Off the Charts! (2010, iUniverse) and the memoir, A Quarter Inch from My Heart (2014, Wisdom Moon).