Adam Lambert was born Adam Mitchell Lambert on 29 January 1982 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Adam started life as a natural red head, with a love of dressing up and performing. Lambert’s family moved to California shortly after his birth and he was raised in Rancho Penasquitos in northeastern San Diego. He attended Deer Canyon Elementary School, Mesa Verde Middle School.
Luckily his parent’s Leila and Eber noticed his talent and put him into a theatre group as an outlet for his pent up energy. His very first childhood “gig” was at the age of 10, performing the part of Linus in San Diego’s Lyceum Theater’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”. He was also in Peter Pan”, “Big River” and “The Secret Garden”. After performing the Russian tenor role in “Fiddler on the Roof” Adam, it was discovered, could really belt out the notes and it was decided that he should have lessons with vocal coach, Lynne Broyles.
Adam says that he was very drawn to a wide range of music from a very young age. A lot of his early introduction to music came from his fathers record collection – which was extensive as Eber used to be a DJ. So Adam discovered a lot of 70s and 80s music while sitting in his loungeroom with his earphones on. Like his brother he was also taught some piano but he was never as passionate about the piano as he was about his vocal training.
I wanted to just do what I was already good at. Like soccer, I was having to work at it so I didn’t like it. I didn’t like to practice piano, it was so foreign to me. But there was something about singing — the idea of using my voice, I was very comfortable with that.
From 9 years of age he started performing with the Children’s Theater Network, which later became MET2.
He performed with both right up until he graduated from Mt Carmel High in 2000. While at school Adam (and his brother Neil) also often auditioned for various tv commercials and bit parts in television shows. Adam admits to only ONE commercial (for Century 21) but we think there’s at least ONE more!!! See this! – what do you think? :)) Adam says his brother Neil was more sought after for this work than he was.
In high school Adam continued to be involved a variety of performance activities. He was part of the school choir and drama club and also sang with a jazz band as well as being involved in a variety of other outlets for his talent and love of performance. He also continued to train as a vocalist with Lynn Broyles while learning all he could through his other performance activities. Of his time with the choir Adam says:
…in choir, we were like a classical choir. So we were doing a lot of Latin and various languages and it was all a cappella and very orchestral and complicated. That taught me a lot about using my ear and harmony.
Adam performed in productions of “The Crucible”, “The Music Man”, “The Secret Garden” and “Pirates of Penzance”. He even showed great comedic talent in the role of Bottom in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
In 1996, while in middle school at Mesa Verde, California, Adam took the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at San Diego’s Lyceum Theatre.
In 1998, at age 16, Adam was part of the ensemble cast of the Starlight Theatre, an outdoor theatre complany in Balboa Park. This was a semi-professional position where Adam was paid but was not part of any professional union. He performed in “Hello Dolly!” and “Camelot” and then the following season he was part of their productions of The Music Man, Grease and Peter Pan (where he played Captain Hook).
His 1999 portrayal of Uncle Archibald in Mt. Carmel High School spring musical “The Secret Garden” and his performance of “Lily’s Eyes” resulted in standing ovations at every show. Later the same year he performed the lead song “Pity the Child” as part of his role as Freddie Trumper in the musical “Chess” at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista, CA. And in April 2000 Adam performs at the Lincoln Centre in New York with the Mt. Carmel High School Classical Vocal Ensemble.
When it came time for Adam to graduate, in 2000, he was invited to perform at the Graduation ceremony for his high school.
He was accepted into California State University Fullerton in the Theatre Arts program. But then, just as classes started, so did rehearsals for the musical “Grease” presented by Moonlight Stage Productions, in which Adam was playing the role of Doody, the youngest of the Burger Palace Boys. He didn’t attend any classes for the first month. When he finally showed up, he was bored to tears and decided that college wasn’t for him.
I went into the school as a musical theater major because they had a BFA program for musical theater and right as classes began, I had started rehearsals for “Grease” at Moonlight and it was my first time playing a part. I was Doody and I was so excited that I got to sing my own song and that I was going to be in the show and featured and I was so distracted that I didn’t go to class at all. And so by the fifth week, I didn’t really want to go to school. The show had closed and I wanted to learn on the job. I thought I could get more jobs, and it was kind of wishful thinking. It was a little idealistic. Youth, you know…
He was eager to start his real life and announced to his parents that he was dropping out. His father made it clear that he would have to support himself and find a job, which he did. He worked for six months at Macy’s at the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, Orange County, before deciding to move to Hollywood to pursue a musical theater career. Adam says that at this point in his life he hit something of a low point. He recalls that he felt fat and ugly and very lonely.
In 2001 Adam was hired by Holland America as the lead singer on the MS Amsterdam cruise ship for 10 months. He performed in a 6-person musical revue while travelling around the world. After the end of his engagement, he returned to Los Angeles to pursue his career in musical theater. nctimes interview with Adam’s mum
During 2002 Adam performed in several Civic Light Opera shows in Orange County and Los Angeles. At this point he signed up with a manager to help him find various contractual singing and performance gigs .
In 2003 Adam joined the cast of the musical “On the Twentieth Century” produced by Reprise! and presented at the UCLA Freud Playhouse in Los Angeles. Bob Gunton, Carolee Carmello and Mimi Hines played the lead roles.
In early 2003 (April/May) Adam took on the role of Pakulski in the musical Empire at the Hudson Backstage Theatre, LA. He also understudies for the role of Ethan O’Dowd. The show plays to sold out audiences, getting rave reviews and nominations for three LA Theatre Ovation Awards. They win the award for Best Choreography. Playbill
In the second half of 2003, at the age of 21, Adam joined the cast of the musical “Hair” for their 6 month European tour (produced by Wolfgang Bocksch Concerts) taking in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam and Italy. He performed two roles in the play, Margaret Mead, the tourist lady, and a member of the Tribe. He also understudied for the role of Claude. It was during this tour that Adam underwent a major transformation as he started to find his own way in life. He started dying his gorgeous strawberry-blonde hair black, wearing guyliner and black nail polish and experimenting with his style.
Upon his return to US soil in March 2004, Adam landed the role of Charlie Dalrymple in the musical comedy “Brigadoon” at the Hobby Centre for the Performing Arts. His performance in “Come to me, bend to me” is a standout of the show. You can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJYyqzUr6jU Review here: HoustonPress
In June 2004 Adam took the role of Phil Mackey in the musical comedy “110 in the Shade” at the Pasadena Playhouse. Then in September he was asked to perform “Is Anybody Listening” for the 24th annual Chabad L’Chaim – To Life! Telethon.
From September to December 2004 Adam performed in the “Ten Commandments alongside Val Kilmer in the “Ten Commandments”. The show did not rate well but Adam’s solo performance of “Is Anybody Listening?” and his role generally in the show gets rave reviews from all quarters. Adam’s friend Alison Porter is also praised! (see NYTimes & Talking Broadway)
On December 15 2004, a 22 year old Adam performed his now infamous and startling break-out interpretation of “A Change is Gonna Come” at the Zodiac Show in the Henry Fonda Music Box Theatre NY.
During March to September 2005, Adam became a regular cast member in the national tour of the musical comedy “Wicked”. Adam was part of the ensemble cast and understudied for the role of Fiyero. The tour opened at the Canon Theatre in Toronto, Ontario then went to Chicago’s Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre and to the San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre. (Playbill & TorontoStage)
On August 29 2005 Adam performed at a special fundraiser called “One Night Only Cabaret with other members of the Wicked cast. He sang a duet (with Eden Espinosa) of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend”. The event was held at the Marines Memorial Theater in San Francisco. (SFBayTimes )
In November 2005 Adam sang moving renditions of “Shir Lashalom”, “The Prayer” and “As You Walk With Me” with Maya Haddi and Noa Dori at the 2005 “Celebration of Life” tribute to slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, held at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, CA. (Shir Lashalom is the song Rabin sang just before he was shot to death). [links??]
It was also in the latter half of 2005 that Adam went along to the Burning Man Festival for the first time. This was to have a profound effect on this young 23 year old’s outlook, his musical/career direction and his life generally.
See this link for videos of his performances.Credits alreference extensive “timeline” of Adams life up until he appeared in Idol
LA Times in depth interview with Adam. Worth reading for yourself!!