In the spotlight: UI theatre and vocal performing arts student ‘destined’ for the stage

Sophomore Will Adams, an experienced musician and actor, explains the transformative power musical theatre has had on his life.

University+of+Iowa+sophomore%2C+Will+Adams+poses+for+a+portrait+in+the+Voxman+Music+Building+on+Wednesday%2C+January+22nd%2C+2020.+Will+Adams+is+an+aspiring+professional+actor+currently+making+the+rounds+in+local+theater+productions+and+concert+performances.

Tate Hildyard

University of Iowa sophomore, Will Adams poses for a portrait in the Voxman Music Building on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020. Will Adams is an aspiring professional actor currently making the rounds in local theater productions and concert performances.

Addie Bushnell, Arts Reporter

Despite growing up in a nonmusical family and dedicating more than half his high-school career to baseball, University of Iowa sophomore Will Adams has always known he was destined for the stage.

“I’ve always had a passion to do something with theater,” said the 20-year-old vocal performance and theater arts major, who boasts an extensive list of artistic accomplishments.

Adams’ theatre career began in high school, where he performed as Emmet Forrest in Legally Blonde and Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Last year he joined well-known pianist, Jim McDonough, on a Christmas tour through Iowa.

McDonough, who Adams described as “one of Iowa’s finest pianists,” employed a 14-piece orchestra for his tour, and Adams was the youngest of eight vocalists. The tour traveled through Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, and Cedar Falls throughout December.

In September 2019, Adams performed the titular role in Iowa City Community Theater’s production of Pippin, an experience he described as “brilliant.” Adams explained that the process of exploring Pippin’s essence and personality was a vital part of fully bringing him to life on stage.

“When you put on a different wardrobe that’s not your own, and you step into the shoes of somebody else in a different story, you get to feel and emote the life and experience of that specific character,” Adams said. “It’s mind-blowing.”

Tate Hildyard
University of Iowa sophomore, Will Adams poses for a portrait in the Voxman Music Building on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020. Will Adams is an aspiring professional actor currently making the rounds in local theater productions and concert performances.

Adams spoke highly of the music and theatre programs at the UI, sharing how the many opportunities he’s had access to at the UI, as well as his professors and peers, who have helped him on his path to success.

“The people that I’m surrounded by are so supportive, and I support them right back, too,” he said. “I think it’s a huge group of people that really just wants to see the best out of each other. That’s what makes Iowa so great.”

Adams was cast in the upcoming musical, The Light in the Piazza. The show is co-produced by the UI Theatre Arts Department and the School of Music. The Light in the Piazza will be performed at the Coralville Center for Performing Arts from April 15-19. Adams will play the role of the Priest.

“[The] show is definitely about romance and love and how two different cultures and two different languages can find their way through that language barrier through love,” Adams said.

Adams believes musical theatre has helped him grow not only as an actor and artist, but as a person. He cited popular musicals such as Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton as catalysts for widening his perspectives on how people view complicated issues of morality, how they fight for change, and how they stay optimistic.

Adams urged others to attend and learn from musical theatre performances, not only in professional settings but on the local level as well, stating that artistic productions can help people understand what is going on in the world and why they should care.

“In times like today, one of the darkest times in America, actors and artists and playwrights shine the most,” he said. “I think that we use art to tell the stories of other people and to send a message that is far, far greater than just us speaking it in a conversation or presenting it in front of a crowd. I think that there is so much artistically that can be done to share a message with somebody that needs to hear it, that should hear it.”

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