By Richard Schultz, March 12, 2015.

Since 2007, Adam Pellegrine (pictured) has toured off and on in the sleek version of the Broadway musical Chicago. He's part of the current tour's sexy ensemble, that's bumping and grinding its way across the nation with numerous sell-out performances.

The story follows murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, who find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.

With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and a book by Ebb and Bob Fosse, Chicago is the No. 1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history and is now in its 19th year on Broadway. The original Broadway production opened in 1975. The 1997 revival won six Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical. The 2002 film, directed by Rob Marshall, won four Oscars and starred Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.

With such an impressive history, Pellegrine, who portrays Harry and prosecutor Martin Harrison, is having the time of his life in a production he describes as “smart, sexy and sleek."

Pellegrine grew up in rural Alabama, outside of Birmingham, was influenced by his uncle who was a professional dancer on the television show “HeeHaw." His mom rented performance-themed movies from the local library to introduce him to the arts. After high school, where he performed in shows, he graduated from the University of Alabama with a double major in theatre and dance. During his senior year, he was cast in an off-Broadway show and finished his degrees online. A cruise ship job followed and he eventually relocated to Los Angeles.

Echo chatted with him while the tour was in Naples, Fla., and here's what he had to say about taking the stage in Chicago.

How's the Chicago tour going?

Pellegrine: The tour is going very well. We just played Buffalo, which was unbelievably cold, but we saw near capacity audiences. It is such a cool and terrific piece of theatre. We break the fourth wall. Every night is new show where the audience is the additional cast member. The onstage interaction is always dynamic.

Some nights you find something new that is dirtier, grittier and sexier.

Echo: Tell us about the characters that you portray?

Pellegrine: Chicago is the definitive triple threat show. Everyone sings, dances and plays roles. I play Harry who is a good-time guy in a relationship with Go to Hell Kitty. He's a big horny lug of a guy. I also play Harrison who is the prosecutor that is out to get Roxie and Thelma. He doesn't buy Roxie's act.

Echo: What has being part of the show meant for you?

Pellegrine: I have had amazing opportunities to travel. In 2009, we went to Bangkok for a month. It was my first excursion into Asia, where the culture is so bright and vivid. And the audiences are so very vocal in their reaction. They loved the show!

Echo: What is your favorite part the show?

Pellegrine: It really depends on the specific performance. It's certainly memorable during the Roxie number when she says, “I'm going to get me a bunch of boys." All the boys come onstage and the audience goes wild.

Echo: Have you toured to Phoenix before?

Pellegrine: One of my fondest memories comes from the time when I was in the national tour of Urban Cowboy and we played Phoenix. We were following the rodeo circuit, which brought us to Phoenix. It was a loud raucous party onstage, which continued after the final bow. One of the crewmembers mentioned that Chita Rivera was also in Phoenix touring in her show, The Dancer's Life. I dashed off in my pajamas to the stage door and convinced the doorman to let me in. I met her daughter and then met Chita, who is an idol of mine. She was so sweet and generous with her time. She shared insights on having a career: Never give up; train, train, train; and always believe in yourself. Her advice has stayed with me and had an enormous impact as I continue to pursue my career and dreams.

Echo: Speaking of dreams, what roles are on your wish list?

Pellegrine: I would definitely like to play the master of ceremonies in Cabaret. It's a great story with an enduring message. Also, I want to play the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors.

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Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein


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Gilles Toucas

Michael Feinstein will commemorate Judy Garland’s life on March 20 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.


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I think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with Spring around the corner — as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would.

If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood.

Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept.

1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness.

Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about.

The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps.

The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best day. That should help to keep things in perspective.

2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work.

Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.

Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it.

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement.

3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit.

I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time.

The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software).

So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you.

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