Ebbw Vale lad makes it in West End with Book of Mormon role
1:42pm Tuesday 13th August 2013 in News
FROM Ebbw Vale to the biggest West End and Broadway smash ever, singer and actor Adam Smith has officially made it.
The former Glyncoed Comprehensive School pupil, whose stage name is Evan James, is currently starring in the record-breaking production of the musical 'Book of Mormon', in London's Prince of Wales theatre.
With a singing father and an aunt mad about musicals, Mr Smith, 25, caught the acting bug at a young age.
"During the summer holidays me and one of my sisters Alex would go to my aunt's when our parents were working," he said.
"Aunty Pat, dad's sister, would watch Oklahoma! and South Pacific with us. My father Robert passed away two years ago when I was in drama school and he loved to sing, he loved Elvis, the Beach Boys and the Eagles.
"As kids we went to Saundersfoot every summer and there was many a singalong in the car," said Mr Smith, whose stage name comes from his aunt's maiden name, Evans, and James, his middle name.
As a teenager he joined Blaenau Gwent Young Stars drama group where he was mentored by Craig James who ran the group.
"He saw the most potential in me, I owe so much to him and got a lot of guidance from him," said Mr Smith, who praised Glyncoed Comprehensive as "one of the best schools I could have ever gone to".
A qualification in musical theatre studies at Coleg Gwent in Crosskeys followed, where Mr Smith started applying for drama schools in London.
Years later, and with more life experience, Mr Smith auditioned for Arts Educational, which has Andrew Lloyd-Webber as its president and the likes of Julie Andrews among its alumni.
For nine months he worked two jobs and managed to save £9,000 before being awarded a scholarship in his second year.
After starring roles in Aladdin, Westside Story and Singin' in the Rain, Mr Smith auditioned for 'Book of Mormon' in June 2012, and started as one of 30 original cast members in January.
"My job is to 'swing', covering multiple songs and all the ensemble. You have to learn all the material for the show and jump on if someone's off sick, which you only find out on the day," he explained.
"I've been on for the past seven weeks non-stop and the energy is very high, my cheeks hurt from smiling. It's physically exhausting but I love it."
The show is written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone who created 'South Park' and Mr Smith was fortunate enough to work with them for the entire rehearsal process.
A group of Coleg Gwent students travelled to London to watch the show recently, something which musical theatre course leader Cheryl Harper described as "inspirational".
"The day the show opened it broke the West End and Broadway records and made £2 million in a day," said Mr Smith.
"I feel very lucky to have left drama school and gone straight into one of the biggest shows in the world."