In the spring of 2012, while many of Adam Hyndman ’12’s classmates were anxiously prepping for job interviews or completing graduate school applications, Hyndman — an aspiring dancer, singer, and actor — was planning for a more unconventional post-Princeton path: a move to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming a professional performer.
“I was just oddly peaceful about taking this very nontraditional trajectory into the arts,” Hyndman says. “And I didn’t know how it was going to work out – I remember thinking, ‘I’ll move to New York and then I’ll figure it out.’”
After five years, several restaurant and bartending jobs, a stint working in public relations at the Marc Jacobs corporate office, and a handful of auspicious performances in off-Broadway productions and plays, Hyndman is living his dream of performing on Broadway as part of the ensemble cast in Aladdin, a role he’s had since mid-January.
As an anthropology major pursuing a certificate in theater, Hyndman recognized his passion for the arts while on campus, where he had roles in the Princeton University Players’ renditions of Ragtime, Songs For a New World, and Footloose; and sang with the Footnotes, appearing as a featured soloist when the group appeared on the NBC a cappella reality show The Sing Off. After landing a part in an off-Broadway operetta called “Marie Christine” in 2013, Hyndman entered the fast-track to New York’s theater scene.
From there, he appeared in productions ranging from A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theater, to an off-Broadway parody of 50 Shades of Grey called 50 Shades the Musical, to a role of a backup dancer in a Bollywood movie. But after he landed a principal role in Stephen Schwartz’ Children of Eden, Hyndman realized something had changed.
“That was my big-break moment,” he says. “There I was at the Kennedy Center, working with Stephen Schwartz and a bunch of Broadway stars who I used to watch on YouTube years ago, and here they were, playing my family members.”
Hyndman credits the constant rehearsals, necessary dance and vocal training, and strict exercise regimen required for these earlier shows with preparing him for the Broadway lifestyle, which calls for many late nights and relentless, high-energy performances.
“Aladdin is an acrobatic, very intense spectacle of a show,” Hyndman says. “For instance, everyone is kind of waiting for the big number, ‘Friend Like Me.’ And we certainly don’t let people down — it’s a 15-minite number, and the whole ensemble comes out decked out in gold and we’re tapping. And that’s the moment when I try to pinch myself and be really present and realize, ‘Wow — I’m here, tapping on Broadway.’”
Hyndman, who also plays the small role of Prince Abdullah in the show, says that aside from his now-constant struggle to get enough rest, life hasn’t changed much since his Broadway debut. He’s looking forward to performing with the Aladdin cast for the rest of the year and says he’s open to exploring other roles in the future, including in television and film.
“There’s no such thing as luck,” he says. “I believe it’s all about opportunity meeting preparation.”