I have been reading Broadway news earlier today and for several times I came across names that are too familiar. Those names belong to American Idol alumni, winners and finalists alike, who made raves in musical theater. I only know of the stints of Tamyra Gray, Diana DeGarmo, Fantasia Barrino and Taylor Hicks. But there are still others.
For those who follow each season of the popular TV show American Idol, we would often hear Simon commenting on a contestant’s performance as ‘too Broadway’ or ‘too theatrical. Unexpectedly, Broadway has been a recipient of good graces from AI’s rejection such that these ‘rejects’ (read: non-winner, most of them) pumped up the box office of each of the shows they were in and brought in younger audience. Most commentaries I’ve read points to AI as the audition stage for future Broadway stars. Somehow, AI paid ‘tribute’ to Broadway and showtunes in general by having the final six of Season 7 sing the songs of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. (heard of him?!) It’s interesting how the showtunes were sung in a more pop-py way while some of the contestants then (remember Jason Castro’s Memory?) struggled hard.
Curious as I am on matters of Broadway, I took notes and here’s a rundown of AI alumni who made it in musical plays on and off Broadway (in no particular order):
1. Tamyra Gray (4th, S1) – Bombay Dreams, RENT2. Diana DeGarmo (2nd, S3) – Hairspray, Oz The Musical (limited tour, 2009)3. Fantasia Barrino (winner, S3) – The Color Purple4. Taylor Hicks (winner, S5) – Grease5. Josh Strickland (auditioned for S2) – Tarzan (originated the stage role)6. Constantine Maroulis (6th, S4) – The Wedding Singer, Rock of Ages7. Ace Young (7th, S5) – Grease8. Frenchie Davis (semi-finalist, S2) – RENT, 2009 National Tour of Ain’t Misbehavin’9. Anthony Fedorov (4th, S4) – The Fantasticks10. Clay Aiken (2nd, S2) – Spamalot11. LaToya London (4th, S3) – The Color Purple (Chicago run)12. Amy Adams (10th, S3) – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Tour)13. Jennifer Hudson (7th, S3) – Dreamgirls (film version), went on to win Golden Globe and Oscars14. Lakisha Jones (4th, S6)- The Color Purple15. Anwar Robinson (7th, S4) – RENT (Tour), Godspell (Syracuse)16. Ruben Studdard (winner, S2) – 2009 National Tour of Ain’t Misbehavin’17. Trenyce Cobbins (5th, S2) – 2009 National Tour of Ain’t Misbehavin’
1. Katharine McPhee2. Melinda Doolittle3. Syesha Mercado4. Mandisa5. Nadia Turner6. Phil Stacey7. Carly Smithson