Adam and Braden Overett: Fame on ice and onstage

You may have seen Adam Overett ’96 in the stage version of Dirty Dancing or in the Broadway musical The Light in the Piazza. Or you may have enjoyed the theatrical production he wrote, My Life is a Musical.

You may have seen Braden Overett ’00 win the silver medal in the 1998 U.S. Figure Skating Championships or admired his design of Adam Rippon’s free-skate costume at the 2018 Winter Olympics … or possibly caught a glimpse of him in a 2018 Old Navy holiday commercial.

One brother a champion skater and fashion designer, the other a professional actor and composer, and both say their careers started when they were very young—when they were Colorado Academy students.

Adam Overett in rehearsal for his musical Mafatu, an adaptation of the book Call It Courage, which he first read for CA summer reading.

The writer/actor

For as long as he can remember, Adam knew what he wanted to do with his life: sing, act, and write.

“CA was there from the beginning of me as a little artist,” says Adam, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and now lives and works in New York City. “CA was always an incredibly nurturing place, where you felt like you could learn and do anything.”

A CA “lifer,” as he calls it, Adam can point to more than one pivotal moment in his development as an artist that happened on campus.

In First Grade, he learned a Halloween song in music class. He liked the song, and so, at home after school, he sat down and wrote several more verses to it. When he showed what he’d written to his music teacher the next day, she said he should be a lyricist. Then, she asked him if he knew what a lyricist is—he didn’t. Today he is a published lyricist.

“I love that moment,” Adam says. “I was a little kid following an impulse, and when I brought it to an authority, she encouraged me to keep going with it. That’s the kind of thing you get all the time at CA.”

He also remembers the time he wrote and performed in a one-person show, and several of his teachers came to see him perform.

“They didn’t have to come; they chose to. They wanted to support me and see what I was doing,” he says. “It’s an amazing feeling for a young performer to see people support them.”

And more than a decade after his graduation, when The Light in the Piazza came to Denver, several CA faculty members were in the audience.

The figure skater/fashion designer

Braden Overett

Braden started figure skating at nine years old and was skating professionally by age 11. His brother says he was a natural on the ice from the very beginning.

“He was always the star, winning championships when he was pretty young,” says Adam, who went to see many of his brother’s shows and competitions. “Figure skating is an art form that requires so much persistence, determination, and energy. Braden rocketed into the sport and art form.”

He worked hard to be the star. He remembers, as a CA Upper School student, studying and training from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. He trained at skating 3-6 hours a day, squeezing in workouts, practices, and rehearsals before school, after school, and in every spare period during the school day. He had a skating coach, a strength coach, a choreographer, an off-ice trainer, a sports psychologist, and an academic tutor.

His hard work paid off as he competed at 11 national and eight international championships and went on to become a national collegiate champion. He has performed in many figure skating shows and now, living in Los Angeles, applies his skills as a coach and choreographer—and was named 2007 choreographer of the year by U.S. Figure Skating and the Professional Skaters Association.

He also has his own fashion sportswear company and designs costumes for professional figure skaters. Oh, and his take on working with Olympian Adam Rippon?

“Adam and I go way back, and he’s the easiest client I’ve ever had,” Braden says. “He’s very funny, honest, and genuine. When you see him on TV, you’re seeing the real deal.”

In spite of his fame and accomplishments, Braden says he is “constantly talking about CA.” Having attended CA from Kindergarten to Second Grade and Sophomore through Senior year, he feels immense pride for weathering the school’s rigorous academics while training hard at skating.

“When you’re at CA, you’re part of such a culture that you want to go back,” he says. “It always makes me smile.”

Adam gives new lines to actors Stephen Mark and Tobias Wong in rehearsals for MAFATU at the Stella Adler Studio in New York City.

What fueled them to fame?

Since Adam and Braden both work in creative fields, they love sharing ideas and encouraging one another in their pursuits.

Once, Braden went to see a musical that Adam had written (actually, he went to five of the eight performances). Afterward, he gave Adam a thorough consultation (including sketches) on lighting and costume design for the production. They both laugh when they tell this story.

Incidentally, they also both mention that everyone in Denver should check out Union Lodge No. 1, the downtown pub managed by their youngest brother Colin—who attended Pre-K and Kindergarten at CA.

Braden and Adam believe CA played a huge role in their current success. In his volunteer work tutoring students now, Adam can fully appreciate the impact that consistent positive feedback had on him at CA.

“At CA there wasn’t a sense of a ceiling or a message that you can have fun with something but not to take it too seriously,” Adam says. “When you’re a kid trying to do new things, you’re so unsure. So to be told ‘You can do this’ is so important.”

In spite of the challenges of his grueling schedule as a young student, Braden says the environment at CA “always felt good and healthy.”

“I’m eternally grateful to CA,” Adam says. “It’s a model of what educational institutions should be.”