In the past year, Adam Kaplan has graduated college and joined one of the hottest Broadway musicals. We recently learned more about this up-and-coming young performer.
What experience did you have growing up that made you realize performing is what you wanted to do?
Growing up, I would always sing around the house and I had an affinity for music. I wrote my first (and only) song at age four, called “Making a New Tree,” where I would rummage in the backyard picking up branches, and dead leaves and re-attaching them to “make a new tree…” When I was around seven my Dad took me to see West Side Story at The local high school. That was the first show I vividly remember seeing. I loved everything about it: the dancing, the singing, and the fact that they got to perform in front of hundreds of people. I wanted to be up there with them.
You just graduated from Elon University last spring, did you think you would be making your Broadway debut so soon after graduating?
No! I never expected it to be this soon, but I’m certainly not complaining! At school, our professors talked a lot about how your first couple of years in New York are all about “making fans,” auditioning as much as possible, getting acclimated, and adjusting to life in New York. I’m so incredibly grateful to be working at all, let alone on Broadway!
Do you feel that your training at Elon prepared you for auditioning and trying to make it on Broadway ?
100%. I can say with totally certainty that without my four years at Elon I would not be where I am today. I cannot speak highly enough of the program and my time there. I didn’t dance before I got to school—I hadn’t taken a formal dance class. They whipped my butt into shape. Do I have much more to learn? Absolutely! But my four years taught me a lot about myself, auditioning, being truthful with my performances and, most importantly, the value of community.
How excited were you when the opportunity presented itself to be part of Newsies?
I don’t think I’ll ever forget how I felt when I heard the good news. I’m young, and so it seems silly to say this… but being in Broadway is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life. It’s been my dream for as long as I can remember. I think that some people at home equated me saying that I wanted to be on Broadway with my brother saying he wanted to play in the MLB—a far-fetched dream. So the fact that I’m doing this incredible show every night, at age 22, quite literally living my dream, has yet to get old… I don’t think it ever will!
What has it been like being in a show with such a large fan base like Newsies? What is your favorite part of the show? Your favorite part of getting to understudy Jack Kelly?
The fansies are UNREAL! At first it was a bit overwhelming, but I was well warned by the cast about their love and support. Our show wouldn’t be what it is without the fansies, and we all recognize that. I think I had less than 300 followers on Twitter before I joined the cast, and I just reached over 2,000 the other day. I still have a ways to go to catch up to some of the other boys, but I love it!
My favorite part of the show is the sense of community on and off stage. We have just as much fun backstage as we do onstage—it is an amazing group of talented, kind individuals. But my favorite number is “King of New York.” Being one of the Delancey brothers, there are certain numbers I can’t be in. Luckily, I get to double as Mike, the newsie, and he appears in other sections of the show. “King,” however, is the first time where I get to fully join the world of the newsboys and dance Christopher Gattelli’s incredibly fun choreography.
My favorite part of understudying Jack Kelly…hmm… that’s tough! Jack is an incredible role. I don’t think that there’s any other role like it on Broadway right now. But, I guess my favorite part is getting to sing Santa Fe at the end of Act 1. I mean, damn, Alan Menken and Jack Feldman know how to write a song!
Were you a fan of the show prior to joining the cast?
I wouldn’t call myself a fansie, but I loved it when I saw it for the first time back in September. The show is electric, there’s no denying that. It was so clear that cast was having an amazing time up there, and that kind of energy totally affects the way the audience perceives and responds to the show.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time recently I have enjoyed sleeping. Man, this show is exhausting! I have a lot of friends from college who are in the city so I love catching up with them, and exploring the city. I’m a big foodie, so in my spare time you’ll probably find me eating. I also love to travel!
Prior to going into Newsies, what has been your worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap?
There has to be something better than this story, but right now this is all I can remember… My first show was Winnie The Pooh and I was the all-too-important role of the porcupine. My dad made my costume by attaching broom bristles to a brown sweatshirt and sweatpants. One of my few lines was in the “prologue” of the show, and when my line came I was just staring blank faced into the audience. The skunk next to me gave me a big nudge of his elbow to try to get me to say my line. Rather than thanking him, I shoved him back, quickly realized what had happened, and said my line.
What is your dream role?
Right now I don’t know that I have a dream role. For a while it was Tony in West Side Story, mostly because that was the first show I remember seeing—and who wouldn’t want to sing “Maria?” But I think my dream is to originate a leading role from the ground up: reading, workshop, etc, to Broadway. That would be the coolest.
Favorite show, other than Newsies, currently running?
I just recently saw Matilda, and thought it was absolutely brilliant. But, honestly, I am a sucker for Wicked. The music, the spectacle, the performances… It’s just so magical—plus I’d love to play Fiyero one day!