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Review: Nick Adams Joins the BGMC for Episode Two of the 'Celebrity Spotlight' Series

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Oct 15, 2020
Nick Adams
Nick Adams  (Source:Screencap / Boston Gay Men's Chorus / YouTube)

The Boston Gay Men's Chorus continues its "Celebrity Spotlight" series with "Episode Two: Nick Adams."

Adams, a graduate of the Boston Conservatory, made a return to The Hub from the Broadway stage, where he found immediate success when he left Boston for New York at the age of 23 and landed jobs with "Chicago" and "A Chorus Line." Since then, he's gone on to originate the role of Felicia in Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott's jukebox stage musical version "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and starred as Whizzer in William Finn and James Lapine's "Falsettos" in a production directed by Lapine.

Adams joins the BGMC's Music Director, Reuben M. Reynolds III, and Reynolds' husband, Bill Casey, for a light-hearted and informal conversation that frames the audio and video recordings of Adams' performances with the Chorus for its show "POPular" in June of 2016. (Full disclosure: This correspondent is a longtime member of the Chorus, though currently on a three-year hiatus, and while I would ordinarily not write a review of a project I was part of, these videos focus on guest stars of the BGMC, with the Chorus itself not in the spotlight. It's from that perspective that I'm writing these reviews.)

While the audio quality is not always as crisp and immediate as that in "Episode One: Alex Newell," tending to sound a little distant and echoey (the result of the venue where the concerts took place), it is as good as it can be, having been remastered, and it's fine; what's more, Adams' voice is more than big enough to compensate. The first number, a jazzy rendition of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricuss' "Feeling Good," is accompanied by still photos, since the video was corrupted, but the editing is so smooth and fluid that this feels like it could have been a stylistic choice.

The second number, Peter Allen's "I Go to Rio," is suitably spicy, showcasing Adams in a festive costume with, possibly, the boldest and most colorful sleeves he's ever worn. (Reynolds recalls Adams' first reaction when he saw the costume: He remarked on how heavy it was. You'd never know it, though, from Adams' lighter-than-air hoofing.)

Next up is a thunderous rendition of the Culture Club classic "Church of the Poison Mind," as arranged by the Chorus' Principal Accompanist and Assistant Music Director Chad Weirick. But nothing compares to the charm of Adams showing up in a Britney Spears T-shirt to give his unique reading on the Spears sing "Toxic," a solo he came armed to the Chorus and ready to deliver.

It all leads up to a grand finale of Adams belting out a rollicking rendition of the Donna summers classic "Hot Stuff" - which could have been the title for this installment of the "Celebrity Spotlight" series.

Between numbers, the episode is liberally illustrated with news interview snippets and show clips featuring Adams, but the touchstone always remains the warmly familiar discussion between Adams, Reynolds, and Casey, who talk about their longstanding friendship, Adams' bond with BGMC choreographer Michelle Chassé (who, we're told in one memorable anecdote, came rushing up to the stage with scissors in hand to make an adjustment to Adams' costume for "Church of the Poison Mind," cutting off the sleeves and midriff of his cleric's shirt - the results were scorching), his storybook career (including how he met his partner, Kyle Brown while performing in "Priscilla"), and his coming out... which was followed by his refusal ever to go back into the closet. Broadway was just going to have to accept him as he was, and, wisely, it did.

The Boston Gay Men's Chorus' "Spotlight Series - Episode 2: Nick Adams" premieres at YouTube at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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