Idols on Broadway


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, RENT
2.  Diana DeGarmo (2nd, S3) – Hairspray, Oz The Musical (limited tour, 2009)
3.  Fantasia Barrino (winner, S3) – The Color Purple
4.  Taylor Hicks (winner, S5) – Grease
5.  Josh Strickland (auditioned for S2) – Tarzan (originated the stage role)
6.  Constantine Maroulis (6th, S4) – The Wedding Singer, Rock of Ages
7.  Ace Young (7th, S5) – Grease
8.  Frenchie Davis (semi-finalist, S2) – RENT, 2009 National Tour of Ain’t Misbehavin’
9.  Anthony Fedorov (4th, S4) – The Fantasticks
10.  Clay Aiken  (2nd, S2) – Spamalot
11.  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 Oscars
14.  Lakisha Jones (4th, S6)- The Color Purple
15.  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’

Were there any other?  By the way, Justin Guarini, runner-up to Kelly Clarkson (S1), almost made it to the musical Good Vibrations in 2004; Paris Bennett auditioned for Legally Blonde; and David Hernandez was ‘rejected’ by RENT two weeks after he was booted out of AI7.
Some alumni who I think would do good in Broadway or musical theater:
1.  Katharine McPhee
2.  Melinda Doolittle
3.  Syesha Mercado
4.  Mandisa
5.  Nadia Turner
6.  Phil Stacey
7.  Carly Smithson
On another note, Season 8’s Adam Lambert was once part of the ensemble of Wicked and also played a role in The Ten Commandments off-Broadway.

2 thoughts on “Idols on Broadway

  1. 1. tamyra seems familiar though I can’t place her face.
    2. so diana has a career after idol huh?
    4. taylor hicks on grease? i can’t imagine him singing you’re the one that I want”
    6. didn’t constantine visit manila 2 years ago?
    8. i thought (initially read) frenchie dy. ha ha ha
    9. i like federov.
    11. i hope latoya gets an album like milinda
    12. was amy adams the one with the pink locks?
    15. i so LOVE anwar.

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