As soon as the applause dies down at the New Amsterdam Theatre, Adam Jacobs (starring in the tile role in Aladdin) does something unexpected for a leading man in a Broadway musical. Instead of getting a cab to the Upper West Side or walking over to Chelsea like so many other actors do, he heads over to the subway and makes a 30-minute trip out to his home in Sunnyside, Queens.
It turns out that there's a whole enclave of young theatre professionals who live there. The attraction? More bang for their buck.
"My wife Kelly and I were living in Hell's Kitchen," Adam says, "but we wanted to find a place we could grow into. I was working in Les Misérables when one of the cast members suggested we check out Sunnyside. We'd looked at about 30 places over the past year, and when we got there we realized that we could get three bedrooms for the price of one in the city."
"And it's so pretty," Kelly Jacobs adds. "It's very convenient and family friendly. We like that it has a very neighborhood feeling."
In 2008, they bought an apartment in a beautifully restored 1920s co-op. "It's a little gem cloistered on a dead-end street," Jacobs says.
Here's what they got: A 1,300 square foot duplex (the living room and master bedroom are each a spacious 400 square feet) with three bedrooms (one of the bedrooms is now an office), two baths and a small outdoor deck.
When you walk into their apartment, the first thing they do is ask guests to take off their shoes. That's because their six-month-old twins, Alex and Jack, are just starting to crawl.
And once you're in the apartment itself it's clear that this is the home of two little boys. A swing sits in one corner of the living room, there's also a toy called a Jumperoo in another corner and more toys within easy reach. And they keep an inflatable pool for the boys to splash in out on the deck.
"The first few months after the boys were born it was a little surreal," Adam admits. "Being a Broadway star in the nighttime and during the day being a dad and being responsible."
Their style, both Kelly and Adam say, is "Tuscan." "Well, the living room is Tuscan," Kelly adds, "because the walls are made of stucco, and there are terra cotta shelves, with built-in bookcases, high ceilings and arched doorways."
Their furniture is a mixture of some pieces from Ikea and some from Kelly's family. In the den, which looks out on the deck, are lots of books, a collection of Playbills, a desk and shutters on the windows. Both the nursery and the master bedroom are downstairs.
Adam, who started out wanting to be a concert pianist, keeps a keyboard in the bedroom and still plays Chopin. He also helps out his sister by playing as she rehearses. "I wish we had the space for a baby grand," he sighs.
The eat-in kitchen, one of the rooms they did a lot of work in, is upstairs. "We re-did it, he says, "and refaced the cabinets."
Kelly's father put up a back splash from Home Depot that looks like copper but isn't. There are also brick walls in the kitchen, more built-in shelves and family photos on the fridge. They also put in new windows throughout the apartment and upgraded the bathrooms.
"So," Adam says with obvious pride, "this is our Disney home."
That's because both he and Kelly have worked in various Disney shows. He's played Simba in The Lion King, and now, for the first time in his career, he's not only originating his role in Aladdin but also heading the cast. "It's thrilling to be playing Aladdin," he says. "It's such an iconic role."
Kelly was in Mary Poppins for four years, with two of those years on the road.
And now here they are with their own home and family.
It wasn't easy getting here. Right after they met and started to fall in love, Kelly was committed to work at Tokyo Disney. Adam traveled to Tokyo twice to be with her. As soon as that was over, he did four national tours: Cinderella for eight months, a year in Mamma Mia!, another year in The Lion King on the road, and Les Misérables for a year and a half.
"It was tough being separated," he says, "but we had a rule that we would see each other every three weeks. Even if it was just for a couple of hours. And, knowing we'd see each other in three weeks helped. It was hard, but we made it work. Now that we know we made it through those tougher times — it just made the relationship even closer."
And today, Adam says, "this is the most exciting time in my life. I opened a Broadway show and we have twins in our family. It's been wonderful to originate a role and to have our first children at the same time. It's a double blessing."
See more here: