NEW YORK — The national tour of the hit play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is being led by a young actor from Vermont with a special tie to the guy who won a Tony Award in the show.
Adam Langdon is a 2015 graduate of The Juilliard School of Drama, where he was mentored by Alex Sharp, who went on to beat Bradley Cooper and Bill Nighy for a Tony when he played the hero in “Curious,” a quirky, 15-year-old boy with an exceptional brain.
The play , based on an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel, is a swirling, kaleidoscopic story about Christopher Boone, an English teen with Asperger’s syndrome who tries to find a dog’s killer.
Sharp was a year ahead of Langdon at school and the older actor looked out for the younger one. When Langdon went to see his former mentor make his Broadway debut in “Curious,” he was impressed but daunted.
“It just blew my mind, the show, and I never thought I could do something like that,” said Langdon, 23, who grew up outside Burlington, Vermont. “He came up to me after the show and he was like, ‘This is a part you’ll do.’ And I was like, ‘I think not.’ There are wall flips and things and I’m just this skinny guy.”
Now, a few years later, Langdon has nabbed the role in the touring version, which kicks off in Rochester, New York, on Tuesday and will play in more than 30 cities, including Boston, Denver, Cleveland, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles. (Benjamin Wheelwright will play Christopher for certain shows.)
The play won five Tony Awards — including best play — and was adapted by playwright Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott, who also co-directed the Tony Award-winning “War Horse.”
“The same thing happens with this play, again and again, wherever we play it: People fall in love with this boy and they fall in love with his mind,” said Stephens. “They care for him and they recognize themselves in him. I think we’ll find the same openness wherever we go and that will be immensely moving.”
Like “War Horse,” the play combines graceful movements — it was the rare Broadway play nominated for best choreography — with projections and music to create a stylized ballet. (Some have called it Hamlet mixed with Cirque du Soleil.) Elliott won the best director Tony for her work.
“She’s really raised the level of what a non-musical can be with still having the people being the heart of the story despite the big theatrical elements,” said Maria Elena Ramirez, the Salt Lake City-raised actress who will be playing Christopher’s kindly teacher.
One of the tour’s stops will have special significance for the actor playing Christopher’s father. Gene Gillette grew up in Evergreen, Colorado, and the first play he ever saw was “Biloxi Blues” in 1986 at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
In May, the “Curious” tour will roll into Denver and Gillette will get to perform at the very place where he fell in love with acting. “It’s just so exciting to be a part of,” he said.
Ramirez and Gillette will be working on their British accents, but that comes easily to Langdon, whose mother is British and who studied in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
“I’m ready. I was raised on a diet of British comedies and pickled onions,” he said, laughing.