Many actors and actresses shy away from showmances thinking they won’t last past opening night, but that is exactly why Nick Adams and Kyle Brown started one up. In 2010, the Priscilla Queen of the Desert castmates both found themselves recently single, in a new city and dancing together onstage. Wearing what seemed like a lifetime supply of spandex, Adams played the flashiest drag queen, Felicia, and Brown was in the ensemble. Like the disco-era, dance-heavy tuner, they just wanted to have fun during the show’s out-of-town tryout in Toronto. And who could blame them? They were young, hot and Broadway-bound.
Six years, two shows and an adorable dog later, they are still together, their showmance outlasting countless pairs of platform shoes. Their relationship has been tested, but whether Brown plays Adams’ understudy in the national tour of Wicked, or they work out at the gym, there is no competition or jealousy between these two consummate performers—just love, support and laughs.
Brown’s latest show, An American in Paris, closes today and the couple has their sights set on a new adventure that might just include the big move to L.A.
You met in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Did you know from the start that this “showmance” would last this long?
Nick Adams: I’m still not sure! No, I think we just approached it as something fun. It was an incredible time in both of our lives. It was [Kyle’s] first original Broadway show, and it was my first time originating and starring in something. It was so crazy.
Kyle Brown: And the show is so much fun to do.
NA: We were always in a good mood. I think that was part of it. I think that influenced our energy around each other. Then on top of that, anytime that I had to dance or be lifted with someone in the ensemble the choreographer [Ross Coleman] always [paired me with] Kyle, and we developed a little bit of a flirty dynamic. We had both just gotten out of relationships when we went up to Toronto for our out-of-town tryout, and I think it initially started as a distraction for both of us.
KB: I didn’t put that much thought into whether or not it would last. I was just like, “This is fun,” so the fact that it has lasted almost six years is the benefit of that.
Who made the first move?
KB: Let’s just say I made the first physical move.
NA: That’s true. We had off for a holiday or something and a group of us rented a house in Niagara. He and I were in the same car [on the way there], and I just remember we were sitting next to each other in the back seat, and he was being very forward, and I was like, “Oh okay.” I think that’s the first time that I really acknowledged that that was a possibility, and then on that trip he made a move.
KB: Before that it was just eye-flirting.
When you danced with each other, did it feel different than with a purely platonic dance partner?
KB: Yeah and especially because everything in that show was overtly sexual. The character Nick played was so fishy.
NA: He was such a slut. It was fun.
KB: It kind of lent itself to just go there.
What was your experience like doing Wicked on tour together? Kyle, was it weird to have Nick join in after you’d been with the tour for a year?
KB: I actually loved it. As soon as I found out he was coming out I was so excited because my person was going to be on the road with me, and he would get to experience all the things that I was experiencing. I definitely enjoyed the tour more with him than I did without him.
Kyle, you were the understudy for Fiyero and Nick came in as Fiyero. Was that hard?
KB: I don’t feel like we’ve ever had a competitive nature in our relationship, because I’ve always highly respected what he does and how he got to where he was in his career. That’s what attracted me to him in the first place during Priscilla. It was a talent crush essentially. I always tell people that when he came in as Fiyero and I was his understudy, it actually made it easier for me because I always knew when he was going to be out. I knew before stage management knew, so then I could prepare.
What is it about each other’s talent that you admire the most?
NA: I remember thinking that Kyle was such a great dancer in Priscilla. He had this really amazing point solo, wearing these crazy point shoes. He’s very tall. He’s got legs that go on forever and I was like, “Oh my God, that guy’s so good.” Then I found out that he’s a fantastic singer and a great actor as well. I just got to see him go on for Henri in An American in Paris, and I was completely blown away. I have rehearsed it with him a million times in our apartment, so to see that come to fruition was crazy. It was back at the Palace too where we essentially met, so it was an awesome moment. I’m attracted to people who have their hand in all areas of musical theatre, and I think that’s why we connect.
KB: There’s a ferocity that Nick brings when he’s on stage that is so captivating. That’s what drew my eye to him initially. In the rehearsal room he has this drive and work ethic and ambition. He’s never complacent. He’s always trying to be better than he was the day before, which I find highly attractive.
What challenges do you feel like you’ve met being in a relationship in the theatre?
NA: Well, like he said I’m not easily satisfied, and so if I was upset with my performance or anything that happened during the show he would get the brunt of it. He’d come to my dressing room during intermission and I’d be like, “Ugh. I was terrible.” I would keep it behind closed doors, but he was the one who saw all of that.
KB: To that end, because the [Priscilla] choreographer put us together all the time, when something went wrong it was usually with me.
NA: I’d be like, “What are you doing out there? You’re ruining the show!”
KB: The fact that he’s a perfectionist came out in many ways.
NA: That’s probably the hardest part about working together, too. On the other side of the coin it’s great to have the person there that’s closest to you and supports you the most and understands show business like no one else. I’ve tried to date people before who weren’t actors, to avoid a sense of competition and it never worked out because they don’t understand our type of crazy. If you’re not involved in this world you probably can’t understand the type of passion that it requires.
Nick you’re known for being one of the hottest talents on Broadway, and you are not afraid to show it! Kyle you are also very “physically fit” to put it mildly. Do you bond over fitness routines? And Kyle, do you ever get jealous when Nick is photographed or performs in a barely-there look?
KB: It’s part of our job to look good and be in shape. We go to the gym and work out together. Dating Nick has amped me up a little bit as far as my body image goes, but I don’t think there’s any jealousy because that’s obviously part of why I am attracted to him. Him looking like that does not hurt!
What do you guys think is the secret to a long-lasting showmance?
NA: We’ve lasted through two shows together. That’s a true showmance! I think you have to respect each other and respect the space that you might need in a show. We just support each other. Like Kyle said earlier, we don’t have that competitive nature with each other. We’re both competitive people, that’s why we are successful, but we don’t bring it home. We encourage each other, we help each other—we were just running sides together last night. Maybe there is not a set recipe for a successful [showmance], but whatever we’ve done seems to work.
What’s next for you two after An American in Paris closes?
NA: I start rehearsals on Monday for The Rocky Horror Show at Bucks County Playhouse with Hunter Foster.
KB: The day after I close.
NA: It will be an early night for me. I keep telling him I want to move to L.A., so maybe we’ll finally do that now that [An American in Paris] is done. I’d like to do a TV series out there and have a nice house and a yard and some sunshine. That would be ideal. I’m trying to make that happen.
Kyle, are you onboard with the L.A. move?
KB: I told him if you want to move to L.A. and make all the money, I’ll be a housewife.
NA: That’s his dream role.