A Thousand Clowns: A to Z with actors Adams and Zadina

If camaraderie was a prerequisite for the A Thousand Clowns cast, actors Nick Zadina and Ben Adams certainly take their characters to a whole new level off-stage. At a recent photo shoot, Adams and Zadina joked with each other, sang together and radiated a bond not entirely different from the ones their characters share. In this upcoming Omaha Community Playhouse production, Zadina plays Murray, an oddball uncle who is required to change his way of life to accommodate his nephew Nick, played by Adams. Recently, the acting pair shared their experiences as actors, their inspirations and some embarrassing stories.

Ben Adams might not have as much experience as Nick Zadina or other actors who grace the Playhouse stage, but that’s probably due to the fact that he is in 7th grade. Nevertheless, Adams has been acting for the past six years, ever since his mother “made” him audition for the Omaha Community Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol. He admits that he loves acting now, and his proudest theatre moment was landing this role in A Thousand Clowns. When asked if he can relate to his character, Adams responded, “Well, yeah, we are both twelve years old.”

Adams happily recounted various embarrassing moments in his acting career, most of which involved falling, slipping or dropping things. In a scene in A Christmas Carol, Adams was in a dance sequence where he nearly fell into the orchestra pit and split his pants open. A hero who inspires Adams is Wilma Rudolph, an athlete who beat polio as a child and became one of the fastest women in the world in the 1960s. He has the belief that everything will be all right in life if we apply ourselves like Rudolph did.

Adams attends Beverage Magnet School where he is involved in show choir. In his spare moments, he likes to build models and read a lot of books. When he grows up, Adams has endless dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, actor, director, artist and editor, among other things.

Nick Zadina has an impressive acting résumé, but didn't begin acting as a child like Adams. After admitting his lack of athletic skills, Zadina said that he found his calling when he began acting as a senior in high school. He said he felt like he fit in, and this led to his participation in over 100 theatre productions since then. His proudest moment as an actor was his starring role in the one-man play I Am My Own Wife, in which he played over 30 characters. Zadina even had the opportunity to act in front of the playwright of that production, Doug Wright, at the Great Plains Theatre Conference.

You won’t find Zadina in any old role, as he aims for roles in which he can be bold. As for A Thousand Clowns, he admitted that he can relate to his character Murray’s philosophy.

Zadina finds inspiration from his wife, Erika, and Omaha Director Kevin Lawler, who was the first person to cast him in 1997. With many years of acting under his belt, Zadina admits to many embarrassing stories, with his clumsiness on stage being his number one nemesis. He described a humorous experience where he was running on stage during a dress rehearsal, and fell not once but twice while wearing a pair of new slippery shoes.

Zadina is the artistic director of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.2 Company, and is currently in school to get his Master’s degree in counseling. He also works at Boys Town National Hotline and dabbles with Magic cards in his spare time.

Adams and Zadina can be seen on stage in A Thousand Clowns at the Omaha Community Playhouse in the Howard Drew Theatre October 22-November 21. For tickets, call (402) 553-0800, visit www.omahaplayhouse.org or visit the Playhouse Box Office at 6915 Cass St.

Article By Lindsay Nystrom
Photos By Andrew Marinkovich at Malone and Company

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