Meet Adam Pellegrine
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.
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.