InDepth InterView: Ace Young & Diana DeGarmo Talk JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT 2014 Tour, SAMSON & DELILAH At 54 Below, New EP & More
Today we are talking to a terrifically talented twosome who have found success sharing the stage both in entertainment endeavors and in life itself - real-life triple-threat couple Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo. Discussing many details of their two upcoming major musical productions - first, a special live concert presentation of the new musical SAMSON & DELILAH at cool NYC cabaret venue 54 Below this week, followed by the release of the brand new concept album; as well as the upcoming new national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's classic family-friendly Biblically-themed musical JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, kicking off in a few short weeks - Young and DeGarmo share their passion for the arts and their unwavering commitment to their craft. Furthermore, the attractive and fit duo share how they are preparing for their upcoming Biblical roles and how they first became involved with the respective projects themselves. Additionally, both shed some light on their notable AMERICAN IDOL heyday, while also sharing backstage stories from the intriguing list of credits on their impressive resumes thus far. Plus, DeGarmo offers thoughts on the many in-development musicals she has had a hand in developing, from Sheryl Crow's forthcoming DINER to the similarly screen-to-stage adaptation of JAWBREAKER, not to mention her memorable work in THE TOXIC AVENGER Off-Broadway, the recent revisal version of CARRIE and more. As if all of that were not enough, Young and DeGarmo also recount memories of starring on Broadway together in HAIR as well as reflect on their turns in GREASE and HAIRSPRAY, while also casting a glance back at some favorite early roles, as well. Everything mentioned plus first news on the couple's new self-penned EP titled YOUNG & FREE as well as much more awaits in this career-spanning conversation with two of musical theatre's most popular and affable modern stars!
More information on SAMSON & DELILAH at 54 Below is available at the official site here. More information on the new tour of JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is available here.
Any Dream Will Do
PC: You two first fell in love when you were in a show together, correct?
DD: Yes. We got cast in HAIR together and we were able to actually talk to one another there - we had met very briefly at an audition in Orlando and then we auditioned together for HAIR together. I got to be one of his mini-Sheilas that he tried out for the show with and we became fast friends, very quickly.
PC: Was it a particular thrill to get to work with a visionary director like Diane Paulus on HAIR?
AY: Oh, yeah. And, the most amazing thing about Diane is how hands-on she is!
PC: How so?
AY: She was truly with us every hour of every single day while we were rehearsing - any questions that we had, we could run them by her. It didn't seem like we were ever talking to a higher authority or a god or anything, she just wanted the best product possible and she wanted the best performance out of every single person. I mean, I've done shows in the past where I didn't even see the director! [Laughs.]
PC: Not to name names...
AY: Yeah - I mean, I would learn the track and then just run it. But, with Diane, she really made it great for us - she was out there watching every single show. Every single one.
PC: Replacement performers aren't always offered that privilege.
AY: They're not - exactly. We only had two weeks to learn the entire show before our first actual performance, but she was with us the whole run that we did, too.
DD: We were definitely thrown into the deep end and she wanted to see if we could sink or swim - that kind of deal - but, working with Diane was totally magnificent. And, of course, having the original Broadway cast still there for us to see the show with was a wonderful tool for us - because, you know, when you do a show originating a role, you are kind of going in blind, but when you can step into shoes of amazing performers like Will Swenson and Caissie Levy... I mean, they are true masters of their art!
PC: I take it you are a fan?
DD: Totally. They're amazing. So, seeing them in the show, we knew exactly what Diane was looking for - and, then, she gave us the freedom to do what we wanted with the show. She was very excited that this was our tribe now and our show - we didn't have to mimic anyone; we just had to make sure to be in the right places and that no one got hurt. [Laughs.]
PC: Approaching HAIR, were your reticent at all about the famous nude scene and whether or not you could go through with it?
AY: Well, originally, Diana and I had not seen the show yet, so we went to see the show specifically to follow our tracks, but I knew in the back of my mind - and it's true for Diana, too, I think; we were thinking, "Oh, my god! Are we really going to do this nude scene?!"
AY: And, as we watched the show, that one scene was done so tastefully that it was literally, like, art - body art. And, so, we looked at each other as the leaders of this tribe of 30 people and we said, "Yep. We're gonna be naked!"
PC: It is an elemental part of the show.
AY: It is.
PC: You both are in tip-top condition, clearly. What was your regimen? I see on Twitter that you two frequent Shake Shack...
DD: Let me tell you something, Pat: Ace has the metabolism of a 13-year-old! He was literally eating during shows - because the show is such a workout, he would be eating two Chipotle burritos between an afternoon and an evening show and I would be eating, you know, two Wheat Thins! [Laughs.]
PC: And a grape!
DD: And a grape! [Laughs.] The show was a great workout for both of us, but it's so interesting to see though, you know, girls versus boys and how they stay in shape. In this case, Ace definitely had the genes in his corner.
PC: It's also interesting to note that Will and Caissie are now set to share the stage again in LES MISERABLES coming up - so, their chemistry will hopefully carry on there.
AY: I know, isn't that awesome?!
DD: I think that as an actor it's really special to find someone that you work well with and I think they probably feel that way about it and of course we do - and we also happen to be married, so we get the chance to do the shows together as a couple, but, also, as actors, we kind of get the chance to have an experience doing a show that is a little bit more special, I guess you would say.
PC: And it continues on now with JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT.
AY: Yes. With JOSEPH, we have been working really hard on it - we know that we are going to hit the ground running. As soon as we finish the SAMSON & DELILAH show at 54 Below, the next day is our first rehearsal with the cast of JOSEPH in New York. So, we are literally going to be stepping right into it. We've been preparing, though.
PC: Have you two been approached by Diane about performing in PIPPIN down the line, as well? You two both fit the roles of Pippin and the Leading Player perfectly, needless to say.
DD: We are always open to new experiences and new jobs - always! Since we are actors, it's like being a freelancer - we are always open for new jobs! I think that when they were casting PIPPIN for Broadway, they already had certain actors in mind, but the joy of our business is always timing - timing is everything. So, you never know - we would certainly love to be a part of it. That's on our must-see list when we come to New York to do SAMSON & DELILAH, actually.
AY: Yeah, we are finally going to get to see it now, but I'm not sure if physically I would even fit the role anymore. Since I am going back into the loincloth - or, well, really, it's a kilt - I have been hitting the gym pretty hard and I've put on about 40 pounds of muscle in the last few months so that I could be a little bit different from all of the other Josephs. I really want to bring something different to the show.
PC: How so, specifically?
AY: I mean, even when we were doing HAIR, I remember watching Will Swenson - who was nominated for a Tony for it - and I remember sitting there thinking, "If I don't do this my own way, I am going to be compared to Will Swenson." And, Will is great and I love him to death, but I couldn't do it his way - I couldn't do the lines the way he did them or deliver the jokes the same way; I had to create my own character. I couldn't do any of the things that he was doing.
PC: You had to make it your own.
AY: Yeah. I remember that after our first week of running it that Will and Caissie and everybody came to see it, and, after the show, Will came up to me and gave me a big hug and said, "I wish I had your voice," because he loved the screams and stuff that I was putting in, just to be different; and, I said, "I wish you weren't so damn good so that I didn't have to put in all the stuff that I am doing!" [Laughs.]
PC: Will is also half of another famous Broadway couple, of course - he and Audra McDonald. Are you two fans of theirs, as well?
DD: Oh, of course! They are such a great couple - and so supremely talented! Such great people - lovely and refreshing.
AY: Yeah - Audra is so sincere. She came when we were in rehearsal for HAIR and hung out and gave us hugs. She's so amazingly human and down to earth.
PC: I have to ask, as two fellow AMERICAN IDOL alums, were you fans of the recent Carrie Underwood THE SOUND OF MUSIC: LIVE!? Do you think live TV musicals could become a thing?
DD: I absolutely love it! We both think it is so fantastic - especially because it brings musical theatre to the masses. You know, not everyone can jump on a plane and come to New York or afford to see a tour when it comes to their hometown, so the fact that people got the opportunity to turn on their TVs and see amazing Broadway-level performers, from the comfort of their own homes, we think is brilliant.
DD: And, to all the haters out there, we loved THE SOUND OF MUSIC and people should back off - stop drinking the haterade. It was awesome to see so many of our friends working - all the people from our industry - and they all did a great job. It was not a small feat - to take on such a huge show, with huge stars and with millions of people watching. I honestly think they did a great, great job.
PC: JOSEPH actually seems an ideal fit for the format.
DD: Yes! Let's start a campaign! Ace & Diana in JOSEPH live on NBC!
PC: On that topic, tell me about the new JOSEPH tour and what we can expect from this new Andy Blankenbuehler edition of it. Are you familiar with the Donny Osmond DVD edition?
AY: I am. We actually became friends with Donny when we went to see he and his sister do their show in Vegas last year - we went backstage and talked to them after the show and everything. And, now, it's amazing that we get to do JOSEPH - and with his blessing.
DD: I have to say, the most amazing thing about doing JOSEPH is that so many people have beautiful memories of the show and can really relate to it - they say, "Oh, I did it when I was in school!" or, "I saw the show on tour when I was young!" or "I grew up loving the video and the album," or "Oh, my kids love that show!" or "I always take my parents to see that when it comes around." Just so many people have connections with JOSEPH, so it is great to be a part of something that you don't really have to sell to people at all - they already love it.
PC: It's pre-sold, as it were.
DD: Yeah - exactly. And, now, we are so lucky to be working with Andy on this new production of it - he's another creative genius, like we were talking about before with Diane. We will be bringing JOSEPH fully into 2014 with this version and he is allowing both of us the opportunity to create our own versions of Joseph and the Narrator. You know, this show has been done numerous times and has been touring for decades around the world, so there are sort of generic boxes for each character and we are sort of blurring those lines a little bit now and bringing Ace and Diana into it - and letting them be a little bit Ace and Diana! [Laughs.]
PC: You will be putting your own stamp on the parts, then!
DD: Definitely! Definitely.
PC: Joseph may have the two best-loved songs, but the Narrator has a true vocal workout with this score. How are you preparing for singing it eight times a week on tour?
DD: Well, I actually grew up singing the music for JOSEPH...
PC: No way!
DD: Yeah! I was in the choir for two years when the tour came through Atlanta - that's how I actually met one of my vocal coaches, who is still sort of my go-to theatre vocal coach; he was running the children's choir back then. So, of course, I grew up idolizing the Narrator and loving all of the music. I am really lucky that the show fits - and I don't want to pretentious saying this, but I don't think I do - in the perfect place for me as a vocalist. It is right in the heart of my vocal cords. And, the other great thing is that we are going to be selling our new EP at every stop along the tour and we are going to be doing a few little other dates at some venues mixed in with our dates, so we will be getting our music out there in addition to doing JOSEPH.
PC: What exciting news.
DD: What's also great about that is that I get to give my voice a little break from doing the JOSEPH music and go sing a little Diana and Ace music.
PC: What can you tell me about the new EP? Is this the duets project?
DD: Yes. The EP is a combination of songs by both of us and then just us separately. It's called YOUNG & FREE.
PC: I see on Twitter that Diana was concerned about banjoes being utilized...
AY: Yeah, the album is called YOUNG & FREE, and, you see, we never stop writing and recording, so that is how we kind of keep our voices up in between shows. But, with this album it has been kind of funny because, with me being a more R&B/rock type of person, Diana was dying that there was a banjo on a song we did - I love banjo! I mean, we're in Nashville now and around all of these amazing instruments and these amazing musicians and it has just inspired us with all of our songwriting to take it to more of a live level instead of such a production-focused level.
PC: You both have worked with legendary songwriter Desmond Child in the studio, correct?
DD: Yes! That's funny you mention that - Desmond did a whole album with Ace and Desmond wrote my first single, actually. When Ace and I first met and talked during HAIR, we said to each other, you know, "Wait, you worked with who?! No way!" [Laughs.]
AY: Yeah, my first album after AMERICAN IDOL I did with Desmond - we paid for it together and we literally were together working on it every day for a year and half, just writing. We wrote in New York, Nashville, LA, Sweden - we wrote with some other amazing songwriters like Diane Warren, too. It really helped me as a writer to understand how other writers think. At that time, I had already written with Daughtry - we wrote his first single together - and then I wrote another single for an artist overseas, so I came out of IDOL having two #1 singles; Daughtry's rock song was #1 here in the States and a R&B song I wrote was #1 for another artist overseas.
PC: What a coup!
AY: Yeah, it was pretty amazing. But, really, the best part of that was that it was an opening for me to get with other writers - and Desmond really opened his arms to me and definitely just took me into his whole world and let me understand, on a personal level, how the process really works. It really helped me grow as a writer.
PC: You originally wrote a song for a soundtrack when you were only a teenager, correct? For THE LITTLEST VAMPIRE?
AY: Well, what happened was that I actually flew out to LA and I was knocking on doors trying to get a record label as a 17, 18-year-old kid and I had this EP of songs I had written and produced myself back in Ohio. So, I remember that I went to Jive Records - I snuck in past the receptionist and went down a hallway that went left or right and I went left and walked to the end of the hallway and walked into an office and sat down in front of a guy named John McCue and he said, "May I help you?" and I said, "Yep! We have a meeting. I was supposed to give you this CD." And, after that, he looked at me like I had just stolen the stereo out of his car. [Laughs.]
PC: Not a warm reception, then?
AY: He knew that I didn't have a meeting - he definitely knew it. But, he also knew that this young, athletic kid was sitting there with a CD that he had made and had somehow gotten through the security at Jive Records - which is very hard to do, let me tell you - and it turned out that when we sat down and listened to the CD that he liked it. I remember he played the first song and he kind of liked it and then he played the second song and liked it and then he heard the third song and he said, "You know, I actually might have a place for this song right now in a movie that we are doing." So, I said, "Cool!"
PC: How fortuitous!
AY: Yeah - it really was. After that, he said, "Can you sing it for me live?" and I said that I definitely could and that I could also do standing back-flips and I could dance and I studied hip-hop dancing and all this other stuff. So, he said, "You can do a standing back-flip?" and I said, "Yep!" and he said, "In my office, right now?" and, I said, "Yep!" And, so I did it - and some other dances and stuff for him and his secretary, who came in and was like "I didn't even know there was anybody in here!" I moved the table and everything and did the back-flips - he really loved my energy and we are still friends to this day.
PC: What a fabulous memory.
AY: He's a great, great guy, So, a week later, he calls me and says that he liked my song "Reason I Live" and asked me if he could put it in this movie of his called THE LITTLEST VAMPIRE and I would be the only unsigned artist on the soundtrack, and, I said, "I think so," and he said, "You get paid," so, I said, "Sure!" [Laughs.]
PC: You became a professional songwriter right then.
AY: Yep. That was my first paycheck in music, which actually got me to pack up my stuff and move out to LA.
PC: You write, Diana, as well, do you not?
DD: Yes, I do. Actually, all of the songs on our new EP were written by the two of us. Ace and I also wrote a song for my character when I was on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS - you know, being a girl, I didn't really feel comfortable by myself going to record it, so I took Ace with me and we ended up befriending the music department there and next thing you know Ace and I are writing a song for my character on the show. So, that song ended up on my last EP and we made a music video for it, too.
PC: On the topic of album projects, what can you tell me about the upcoming SAMSON & DELILAH shows at 54 Below promoting your new concept album?
DD: The SAMSON & DELILAH shows will basically be a concert-style presentation of the material. It will be mainly just us singing the songs so that people can hear them - since it is a concept album, we are just trying to get the idea out there and show people what SAMSON & DELILAH: THE MUSICAL is all about.
AY: The nice thing about SAMSON & DELILAH is that the team behind it are real hustlers - they really want it to happen. The score is so beautiful and it has actually existed for about 20 years now. Broadway Records has now agreed to release the album and Joel Moss produced it...
DD: Who, ironically, worked on the anniversary album of HAIR...
AY: Yeah. It was really nice to be with a producer like Joel who really understood a good performance. We had a lot of time to really work on the score and knock these songs out, but it went a lot faster than we had expected it would because of the fact that we meant it when we sang it and he really knew how to capture it all. So, the whole process is going a lot faster than any of even thought it would, I think. We're putting the album out early this year and I would not be surprised - based on the power of these songs and this material - if the show is ready to go by this time next year, when we finish up JOSEPH.
PC: How wonderful to have the score already recorded, as well.
AY: It is. And, everyone who buys a ticket to the 54 Below shows will get a discount on the CD, which will be available that night, I believe - and they will be available online by then, too. And, we have a copy already and I can tell you that it sounds really great! We can't wait to get out there and let people hear it, too. Plus, it worked out perfectly with me gaining this weight and cutting my hair! [Laughs.]
PC: Which is quite an elemental part of the story of SAMSON & DELILAH, of course.
AY: Right. In SAMSON & DELILAH, his strength is his hair and when she cuts it, he can no longer protect his people.
DD: And, let me just say, Pat: I did not cut his hair! I liked his hair however he liked it - it wasn't me who did it! Disclaimer, disclaimer! [Laughs.]
PC: Have you been accused of having hand in shorning him?
DD: The funny thing when you are with a man that has lots of fans - particularly female fans - it gets sensitive! You know, you don't want anyone to ever think you made someone do something for your own reasons. You know, Ace is a Gemini like myself, so I think we both feel like we are artists who like to change it up from time to time. I remember when we finished doing HAIR, he said to me, "I think I'm going to keep it long," and I said, "OK." And, then, right before we got married, he said, "I think I'm going to chop off my hair - it's like a 1000 degrees!" So, he did. And, I've cut my hair now, too - I cut it like two months ago now.
PC: Diana, you've participated in numerous other musical workshops recently, as well, have you not?
DD: Yes, I have! You know, I've been with JAWBREAKER for a long time - sometimes you are just with a show in its workshop to help it through to the next level or something, and that's fine - but, when you feel like you can be part of the show for the long haul like I feel like I have been with JAWBREAKER, it's a special feeling. I mean, I've been with it for two years now! And, I truthfully hope to God that it goes to Broadway - I think it is just amazing! It's a blast of a show and a fantastic character to play - and definitely not something anyone would imagine me playing, I don't think! [Laughs.]
PC: You can say that again! Has it been a challenge to play outside your wheelhouse like that?
DD: It's been a great challenge for me as an actor - I feel like I've really been able to sink my teeth into that role. And, I recently did another workshop, for DINER, which was amazing - it was a completely different animal from JAWBREAKER, which I had just done a few weeks prior to that.
PC: What more can you tell us about DINER at this point?
DD: Well, with DINER, I was somebody coming into a whole group of people who had pretty much been together for a long period of time already. But, working with Kathleen Marshall and Sheryl Crow and Barry Levinson?! Are you kidding me?! What?!
PC: That's quite a line-up! What role did you play?
DD: I played Beth - the Ellen Barkin role in the movie. And, I loved it - I really, really did. It was amazing. You know, readings are always taken with a grain of salt - you never know if you are going to hear anything after that - but, either way, I feel like I have learned a lot and met a lot of wonderful people. And, please let me say, I got a hug from Kathleen Marshall, Sheryl Crow and Barry Levinson all in the same day - and that was something pretty special!
PC: Ace of course did GREASE on Broadway with Kathleen, too, once upon a time.
DD: I know! We got there and and Kathleen and I started chit-chatting and whatever and she said, "I can't believe you're with Ace - no way!" It was a really funny moment.
PC: Did you enjoy your GREASE experience, Ace, looking back on it now?
AY: Well, you know what was really fun about GREASE was that they let me pick what part I would play. So, first, I did it on Broadway - my first Broadway show - and I played Kenicke because I really wanted to do the "Greased Lightning" number. I wanted that song and I wanted to act like a jerk because people knew me as a nice guy from IDOL or whatever and it was so much fun because everybody ends up liking you anyway! Then, after that, I did the tour with the same production and I played Danny, so I got to see the two different tracks. It was very interesting to play the two different parts.
PC: Will this be your first time playing Joseph in JOSEPH?
AY: It is. But, JOSEPH is actually the first show I saw when I first came out to LA - I moved in with my grandpa when I was 21 and stayed with him for a year; he played the saxophone in big bands back in the day. So, he took me to see a show - date night with him and grandma - and we went to see JOSEPH in the round. So, it's a show that's very dear to my heart, not only because it was the first show I saw when I came to LA but also because my grandpa has since passed away.
PC: You have actually played the Narrator before, haven't you, Diana?
DD: Yes. Back in 2008, I did JOSEPH in Oklahoma City as part of their summer stock-type of program and all of the local musical theatre college kids were part of the ensemble. And, let me tell you, those folks were working their tails off! They were amazing. So, I finally got to play the Narrator for the first time there - which was a blast. And, what's so funny is that so many of the kids that I worked with in Oklahoma City are now on Broadway and it's going to be so great to bring the show back to Oklahoma City on the tour - I've already heard from some of them, saying, you know, "Oh, you're coming back to Oklahoma City in JOSEPH! This is so exciting!" Everything just comes full-circle, all the time!
PC: The tour is scheduled for at least the next several months, yes?
DD: Yeah. We're not allowed to say what the full plans are yet, but we will be coming to a place near you, hopefully!
AY: Right. We have the first several months already scheduled and we have a lot of exciting stuff planned.
PC: Are you looking forward to the unique grind of touring?
AY: Well, the thing about this tour is that we are actually getting holidays off! Unlike Broadway, when families go see theatre, if you are in a show on tour you usually get to go home and be with your family then. So, we have a lot of free time - we do three weeks and then do a week back home a lot of the times. It's basically the best show schedule we've ever had. [Laughs.]
PC: And it allows you to do things like SAMSON & DELILAH.
DD: Yes, we are having a very Biblical year, aren't we?! [Laughs.]
PC: To say the least!
AY: Very, very Biblical!
PC: Will the JOSEPH mega-mix be a part of the new JOSEPH tour?
DD: Yes! We are doing the JOSEPH mega-mix and I am so happy because that is one of my absolute favorite parts of the show. The whole show is like a party, but I feel like the mega-mix is just insanely fun and a great way to end it.
PC: Will there be any changes put in place?
DD: Well, for "A Pharaoh's Story", we are kind of doing the Diana DeGarmo version of it. It's one of my favorite songs to sing ever and I am so excited that I get to sing it for the next 300-and-something days. I really am.
PC: "Close Every Door" is one of Lloyd Webber's most beloved ballads, as well. Are you anticipating performing that every night, Ace? Are you generally new to Joseph's material?
AY: Yes, I am new to these songs. "Close Every Door" is always the one song that I remember from the show back when I saw it, though, so to be singing it now is amazing. And, on top of it, I get to run around the stage and have fun while the Narrator is working her butt off. I get to sing "the" song and have my wife be in the show with me in such a great part. It's amazing.
PC: Do you have a routine in place to keep your voice in tip-top shape to sing such a taxing role eight times a week, Diana?
DD: Well, honestly, I am not too concerned - let's be real, this is not as big a sing as WICKED or even JAWBREAKER; for those shows I would probably be living like a nun...
AY: She wouldn't even be able to talk to us right now...
DD: I'd be signing you! [Laughs.]
PC: Signing instead of singing.
DD: Exactly! Exactly. But, honestly, I love the fact that JOSEPH is not the typical musical theatre show where you have to hit everything precisely every single night the exact same way - we have a little more leeway; and, a little more artistic freedom and more room for storytelling, too. So, I can kind of play with it - which sort of keeps me from going crazy. Of course, when Ace and I do a show together we can do whatever we want, but in musical theatre you usually can't adjust keys or anything once the show is set. So, I feel like JOSEPH is more in the recording artist-style, so I can stylize some things when I want from time to time. Of course, when we get into tech we will see what happens, but I am really excited already. I feel fairly confidant, but I don't want to put the cart before the horse, either.
PC: Have you memorized the lists yet - all the colors and brothers, especially? What exactly is ochre?
DD: [Big Laugh.] Yes, I have! I looked it up and ochre is like a putrid brown-green color - it's not very pretty, Pat! I was so happy yesterday when we were brushing up on things and I remember all of the colors, right out of the gate. The brothers, though - I love how there are all of these complicated names, then, "And Dan!"
PC: Andrew Lloyd Webber recently announced a movie version is in the works, so would you two be open to auditioning for that?
DD: We would love to! I think we're both going to be auditioning for the whole next year, actually! [Laughs.] Honestly, I actually would really love to see more musical theatre actors do the movie adaptations of shows - I think that would be really great to see.
AY: And, you know, with live things like THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the audience is getting it for free - and, hey, it's better than infomercials! You can't really hate on something like that - what are you really losing? I mean, you got to see a Broadway-level show for free, how can you possibly complain about that?! As far as Hollywood musicals go, if you pick an actor who can sing it then that is great, but when you have a Broadway singer sing that part and the actor lipsynchs to someone else and no one knows they are not singing? There seems to be a big problem there.
PC: Not to name any names! Diana: are you still involved with THE TOXIC AVENGER since that always seems to be eyeing a Broadway bow in some season soon?
DD: I have kept up a great relationship with the creative team and the Production Company from TOXIC AVENGER and if they called I would love to do it in New York again, especially on Broadway. I mean, I had a blast when we did it and I loved working with Nancy Opel - how could you not? But, as with many things in our industry, you can't hold your breath - you can't count your chickens before your eggs are hatched - but you just never know. If you asked us six months ago if we would be on tour with JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT and doing a concert version of SAMSON & DELILAH the week before that and releasing an album of it and an EP of our own songs, we probably would have thought you were crazy. You just have to go with the flow. We are super-stoked to do SAMSON & DELILAH at 54 Below, though - the guy who wrote it, Ron, is one of the sweetest, nicest people ever and we feel so honored to be able to do this for him. This is such a huge dream for him and to see how excited he is when he gets to see us do the material is so inspiring. And, then, to get to do JOSEPH right after that - a musical that is so beloved by so many people, with such an amazing director as Andy Blankenbuehler - is just so exciting for us. We can't wait.
PC: Lastly, I wanted to ask Diana about her upcoming film, ALTO.
DD: Yes, I just did a movie that we shot in Brooklyn called ALTO - it's a lesbian mob comedy. I play an Italian singer-songwriter who isn't too far from myself, actually - except for the lesbian part. It's a great coming-of-age story and they are submitting it to all the film festivals over the next year so I am very excited to see where it goes from here.
PC: This was absolutely spectacular, Ace and Diana. All my best on SAMSON & DELILAH, JOSEPH tour, the new EP and everything else!
AY: Thank you, Pat! This was great.
DD: Aww, thank you so much, Pat! This was so much fun. We had a blast.
Photo Credits: Walter McBride, Chris Isaacson, People, etc.
From This Author Pat Cerasaro