It's been a little while Theatre People, but we're back with a fantastic high school and community theatre director—Adam Delka.
I first began working with Adam on digital projections for his community productions of Damn Yankees, Beauty and the Beast and Wizard of Oz at StageWorks in Houston. We have some exciting plans for this upcoming season, but until then, I'm happy to introduce you to Adam—a kind and talented professional performer; and an insightful, visionary director.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
I grew up in a small town. There was not much for theatre available outside of the musicals produced at my school. My earliest memories and exposure to theatre was through classic movie musicals; Oklahoma, The Wizard of Oz, Grease, The Sound of Music. These shows opened my imagination and sparked a desire to perform, sing, and dance. As I’ve grown older, my inspirations have continually evolved. I am constantly drawn to the works of Sondheim and Fosse. I love a deep, dark, twisted, intelligent, and sexy show with a lot of movement and expression through body language. Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Company, Damn Yankees, Fosse (dance musical) all pop out in my mind as some of my favorites. I’m drawn to them and borrow ideas from them in almost every song I choreograph and/or show that I direct.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
My first year of teaching, I had no idea what Texas UIL One Act Play was. I was asked to direct the school’s competition play, and was handed a very thick manual of dos and don’ts for the competition. I had no idea what I was doing. I told myself...just do theatre. We advanced to the state level...which I had no idea at the time was such a big deal in Texas. I look back at that experience and smile remembering the feeling, the experience and the joy it brought to those kids and the community.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
Where do I start? I’ve seen lots of wardrobe malfunctions, wigs falling off, lines slipped, and all kinds of set and prop goofs. However, I will always remember the student playing the title role in Oliver, singing at the top of his lungs “Food, glorious food”, during the Mr. Bumble and Mrs. Bedwin scene. The only problem was that Oliver was in the bathroom...and there was a steady stream of pee and a flush during the middle of the song! His stinkin’ microphone was on. Hilarious, cringy, and all kinds of panic during the moment. Unforgettable!
Why do you love theatre?
Theatre is my love. It’s a place where my imagination and dreams can come to reality. I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve also loved escaping into a character, a story, a truth, or a fantasy...and all the in-between. I enjoy the process of making theatre as much as the performing in it. I feel a great success when I see a problem and get to creatively solve and invent a solution...and then get to see it enjoyed by audiences, casts, and crews. My true love for theatre lies in musicals. I’m a song and dance man. I’ve always held that in my heart. Theatre helped to grow me as a person, both professionally and individually. Theatre taught me about lasting friendships, hard work, failure, and success. I’ve learned how to work as a professional artist for my entire adult life, which is the stuff that dreams are made of. I get to teach young artists as well as afford the opportunity to direct, choreograph and perform during my “spare time." It’s a great life. Living the life as a theatre person is definitely not about the money. But life is fulfilling in so many other ways, and I’ve grown to accept that. Most theatre artists will never be rich or famous. But in someone’s eyes...maybe a student, a parent, an audience you will never have met, you will leave a lasting impression.
Theatre is for...
Every person I’ve ever encountered in the theatre world, students and adults alike, have been badasses! Theatre folk are the most creative, innovative, and brave individuals in the world. Theatre people are problem solvers, highly driven, and are the most fun-loving and accepting group of people in the world. Theatre folk are contagious. I highly recommend getting the theatre bug! ;o)
More about Adam
Adam W. Delka started performing with the Superior Thespians, in his hometown of Superior, NE. He is a graduate of the musical theatre program from the American Musical & Dramatic Academy (AMDA), of NYC. Adam also holds a Bachelor of Arts, music (BA) and a Master of Arts in Education, music (MAT), both from Austin College in Sherman, TX. Adam is a full-time teacher, director, choreographer and performer. He currently works as the Theatre Director at Fulshear High School. This is in addition to teaching private voice lessons, he also teaches classes at the Stageworks Acting Academy, the Tribble School for Performing Arts, and maintains a professional performance and directing career in the Houston theatre community. Adam received the Broadwayworld.com Houston award for 2013 Best Choreography with MJR Theatricals Little Shop of Horrors. He directed the HFAC production of Les Misérables, which received the award for 2014 Best Musical. He was awarded the 2015 award for best Choreography award for Evita, and was nominated in several categories in both 2016 and 2017.
Stageworks patrons saw Adam most recently as the Emcee in the 2019 production of Cabaret.
Additionally, Adam has had numerous professional and community theatre directing opportunities including A Christmas Story (Choreographer), The Wizard of Oz (Director), The Producers (Choreographer), Oliver! (Choreographer), Footloose (Director), Damn Yankees (Choreographer), Into the Woods (Music Director), Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Director), Evita (Choreographer), Les Misérables (Director), Company (Choreographer), Plaid Tidings (Director, Choreographer), Little Shop of Horrors (Choreographer), Peter Pan (Music Director), Annie (Music Director), Avenue Q (Assistant Director, Choreographer), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Choreographer), Assassins (Choreographer), Cabaret (Music Director), Glee on Stage (Music Director), Little Mermaid, Jr. (Music Director), Galveston the Musical (Choreographer), The Drowsy Chaperone (Music Director), RENT (Music Director), A Christmas Carol (Music Director), Stephen Sondheim’s Follies (Director, Music Director, Choreographer), High School Musical (Director, Music Director, Choreographer), Once on this Island (Director, Music Director, Choreographer), Gleeks! (Director, Music Director, Choreographer), Opal (Director), Confederate Letters (Director), Dear Edwina (Director, Music Director, Choreographer), Les Misérables (Music Director, Co-Director), Aida (Choreographer), Parade (Music Director, Co-Director), Urinetown (Co-Director, Choreographer), Ozapalooza! (Director, Music Director, Choreographer), and many other professional, community theatre and student productions over the years.
Professional performance roles include, Company (Peter), Plaid Tidings (Sparky), Assassins (The Proprietor), Cabaret (Emcee), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Andre Thibault), My Fair Lady (Colonel Pickering), Galveston the Musical (Attorney General), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Trevor Graydon), Forever Plaid (Sparky), Jekyll & Hyde (Sir Danvers Carew), Urinetown (Old Man Strong, Hot Blades Harry), Sunday in the Park with George (Jules, Bob Greenberg), The Drowsy Chaperone (George), Chess (Nikolai, Gregor Vassy) RENT (Paul), Jane Eyre (Bert), Company (Paul), Camelot (Sir Dinidan), A Christmas Carol(Ghost of Jacob Marley), Oliver (Mr. Sowerberry), The Producers (Kevin, Jack Lapidus, Stalin), Of Mice and Men (Rancher).
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