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December 4, 2019

Adelphi Theater Grads Get Raves

Samuel Adams 08' Playing Mozart in Musical

Sam Adams ’08 as Mozart in the Folger Theatre production of Amadeus

Samuel Adams ’08 learned he had landed the role of Mozart in Amadeus at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C., while sitting in a train station. He’d just left the audition and was heading home to New York City.

“They called me on a Friday to tell me I got the part,” Adams said. “I had to be there Monday.”

He had auditioned on short notice when the role came open just three weeks before the first rehearsal. “I canceled everything, threw my stuff in a suitcase and got down there,” Adams says. He learned the entire script in a week. “Every second I was awake, I was listening to Mozart and running lines.”

Adelphi’s theater program has been turning out stellar graduates for years, most notably Jonathan Larson ’82, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and composer of Rent. It’s an outstanding program with a faculty with topflight professional credentials. It also makes the most of Adelphi’s proximity to New York City, sending students to see productions as part of its curriculum and placing students in internships at leading companies.

Samual Adams 08' Playing Mozart in Musical Amadeus

Adams onstage with fellow alum and Adelphi adjunct professor of theatre James Joseph O’Neil ’88, who played the role of Count Orsini-Rosenberg

Adams’s training paid off. He has earned rave reviews for his part in Amadeus, which opened on November 13. The Washington Post praised his portrayal of Mozart, saying that “Adams, in the tradition of such previous owners of the role as Tim Curry and Tom Hulce, captures the character’s combination of innocence and arrogance.”

Adams says his time at Adelphi helped give him the skills to land the role. Nicholas Petron, professor and chair of the Department of Theatre, was a mentor for him.

“He instilled a work ethic in me,” Adams said. “He worked at the kind of pace that prepared me for the real world of theater.”

Richard Garner, PhD, dean of the Honors College, had an impact on Adams, too. “He’s one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met,” said Adams, who was a student in the Honors College. “Meeting him on my first campus tour clinched the deal. I didn’t visit another school after that because I knew Adelphi was for me.”

Adams isn’t the only actor and Honors College graduate to gain attention lately.

Luke Hofmaier ’12 (pictured with his co-star) was nominated for a top award for his performance in the play Now Circa Then.

Luke Hofmaier ’12 was nominated in October for a 2019 Berkshire Theatre Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for his performance in Now Circa Then at the Chester Theatre Company in Chester, Massachusetts.

Hofmaier also considers Nicholas Petron a mentor who helped him become a successful actor. “Nick was brave enough to let us explore,” Hofmaier said. “He let us fail, and that gives you tough skin, which you need in this business.”

Margaret Lally ’82, associate professor of theater, shaped Hofmaier’s acting skills, too. “She held us to the same professional standards you would be held to on Broadway,” he says. “She insisted we do more than our best work and challenge ourselves. You weren’t afraid to do it because she made you feel comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

She encouraged him to take chances as an actor. In his sophomore year, he had a small role as a beat cop in a departmental production of Street Scene directed by Lally. To get into the character, he spent the time he wasn’t onstage walking nonstop backstage so he could feel his character’s sore feet.

“She never told me to do that, but it was such a creative atmosphere that I was inspired to explore the life of this person beyond what we saw of him onstage,” Hofmaier said.


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