True triple threat Nick Adams has starred as “Felicia” in the Tony-winning original cast of Broadway’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert, “Whizzer” in Lincoln Center Theatre’s national company of Falsettos, and “Fiyero” in Wicked. You also know him from his work on the screen in shows like The Other Two and more.
He will next be seen as “Cooper” in the new queer-themed romantic comedy Fire Island The Movie alongside Bowen Yang, Margaret Cho and the film’s writer Joel Kim Booster. The film is set for release today, June 3, on Hulu.
The movie, a modern-day romantic comedy inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is set amid gay New York’s favorite summer vacation mecca – the Fire Island Pines. The story follows two best friends who set out to have a legendary, weeklong summer vacation, with the help of cheap rosé and a clutch of eclectic friends.
Having never shied away from who he is, Nick has long been at the forefront of being a part of telling powerful queer stories. This project is no exception to that.
This film is a major motion picture that highlights queer joy. In our recent chat with the actor, he shares his gratitude for being part of the ensemble cast telling this story – not only about love, but also shining a light on Fire Island and its rich history.
He also shared about his participation in the new studio recording of Drag: The Musical which was recently released in May and plans are already in the works for stage adaptation. The musical, by drag legend Alaska Thunderfuck, tells the tale of two rival drag bars that go head-to-head for survival amid financial troubles. Nick stars alongside Michelle Visage, Bob The Drag Queen, Jujubee, Peppermint, Margaret Cho and more.
Plus – as the world seems to be moving forward from COVID restrictions – he’s resumed concert work having just appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony. Let’s just say Nick Adams is a busy, busy, in-demand guy.
You can listen to our chat with the oh-so-talented Nick Adams and you can read some of our Q&A below (some editing for brevity and clarity).
Instinct Magazine: Nick Adams – how are you?
Nick Adams: I’m great. I’m just enjoying the ride right now. After two years of not being busy, it’s nice to feel I have a schedule of some sort.
IM: And your schedule is packed! You have the new film Fire Island The Movie coming out, you recorded Drag: The Musical, and I see you were a soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony! How was that?
NA: It’s such a singular experience to do symphony gigs because of the magnitude of sound behind you. It’s hard to articulate the power that it has and how it informs you as a singer. It was thrilling.
IM: Tell us about Fire Island The Movie. When did you shoot this?
NA: We began the first week of August 2021 and wrapped the last week of September, so about two months shooting. Some was on sound stages in the New York area but most of the film was on the Island. I think it’s a sort of love letter to the “choose your own adventure” aspect of the island. I think that’s part of the magic that Fire Island is.
IM: Was it weird, after the pandemic lasting so long, to be working – in person – with people?
NA: Yes and no. I mean, I was just so happy to be around people. And to be back to working and creatively exercising again. Our crew worked so hard to keep us safe. No one, thank god, tested positive, so we never had to shut down – and that’s all departments! But we were in masks anytime we weren’t shooting. The main reason we had to build some sets on sound stages was because of COVID safety, for the amount of people that we needed to have in one place at one time – to have the appropriate ventilation. The whole experience felt very thoughtful, very safe.
IM: Part of the story of Fire Island turns on the idea that once folks are out on the island, there can be a kind of social strata among the gays. Can you talk a bit about how that comes into play in the film?
NA: I think with Pride and Prejudice being the inspiration and source material for the film, but retelling it through a queer lens, allows us to look at social class within the gay community – which does 100% exist. And I think the microcosm that is Fire Island lends itself to exploring that story.
So, there’s two contrasting houses – that how the ‘class distinction’ is established. There’s the Ocean Walk house – the very affluent, massive, compound home – that’s where I stay. And there’s the Tuna Walk house – smaller, more 70s, more accessible, comfortable energy. They establish a difference in that regard immediately.
And also in the fashion as well. Like, I’m always in Versace, Gucci…I was trying on clothing in my first fitting with our costume designer David Tapper, and I was like, “Oh, I get who this guy is now.” I noticed myself changing my stance, and carrying myself a bit differently. He’s kind of a vain villain. I get to play one of the main antagonists and it’s so much fun. I get to be a ‘mean girl!’
IM: Tell us about the studio recording of Drag: The Musical. It was developed by RuPaul’s Drag Race legend Alaska Thunderfuck…?
NA: Yes. I recorded the album in October right after we finished the film. It’s kind of the reverse of how you usually develop a new show. A lot of the cast of the album are alumni of Drag Race, and they have a huge following and they’ve got great musical chops. And so it’s got a lot of hype and buzz around it thanks to their followings after being on that show. It’s really smart marketing to go after it from that angle.
It’s a really fun story about these two rival drag clubs across the street from each other. They run into financial trouble and they have to unite to try and save each other. I think this is the fourth time I’m playing a drag queen in a musical. After Priscilla Queen of the Desert, I tried to shy away from auditions that had anything to do with drag. But then I thought, “You know what? I must be good at this, so why not lean into my strength?”
IM: There’s so much great LGBTQ entertainment content today. Do you ever stop and think how different TV and films looked just ten years ago?
NA: I couldn’t agree more. I was talking with with my partner last night – we had just started watching Heartstopper – and after two episodes I said, “Can you imagine growing up and having access to watching something like this?” I think for my generation it was still taboo, you couldn’t explore who you were because of heteronormative constraints put on us as kids. I think it’s great to see representation everywhere, on every streaming platform.
That’s really part of why it’s important to me to be part of a gay rom-com that isn’t overly sentimental, and also not a tragedy. And it’s coming from a major studio. It’s really an honor to be a part of it.
Fire Island premieres on Hulu Friday, June 3. You can follow Nick Adams on Instagram here.