BWW Interviews: Constantine Maroulis Talks Solo Cabaret in January

It's hard to believe that 2013 is already drawing to a close. Holiday decorations line the streets of Houston, Thanksgiving is already nothing but a distant memory, and everywhere people are looking forward to the beginnings of 2014. Luckily, for Houston audiences, our 2014 will start not with a whimper but a roar. Broadway's favorite rocker, Constantine Maroulis, will soon take the stage at Houston's The Music Box Theater for a series of solo cabaret performances that are sure to electrifying. In anticipation of his performances, I recently talked to the performer about his career and the upcoming shows.

BWW: Last time we talked you were heading into Houston for JEKYLL & HYDE. What was it like touring the nation with that show?

Constantine Maroulis: It was a tremendous thrill for me to take on such a challenge like JEKYLL & HYDE. I've always been a fan of the story since I was I a teenager, reading sort of scary books and Gothic literature. I grew up loving everything from comic books to Sci-Fi, and I think our production of JEKYLL [& HYDE] sort of melded all of those worlds with a cool Steampunk edge to it. I also think we stripped it down to its core so much that it was almost a little bit too much for some people, you know. But, I do feel like when you do revise a show-and that's what we did, we called it a revisal more than a revival-you're supposed to bring your own energy, point of view, and bring your own sort of aesthetic to the whole thing. For me, it's been an awesome experience. Sure, I wish we could have been more successful on all fronts once we got back to New York, but it's a tough business. I think we had a great run on the road and in New York, got some great notices, and really thrilled like a million people along the way. So, it's pretty cool.

BWW: As you mentioned, you took JEKYLL & HYDE to Broadway too. What was it like playing the iconic roles on the Great White Way?

Constantine Maroulis: I feel like I had been preparing for that opportunity my whole life and my whole career, really. I grew up with great teachers who set me on a good path early on. I think it's the type of role that you have to have some life experiences for. I had great direction from Jeff Calhoun and a tremendous cast. It was brilliant bringing it to Broadway, to the Marriot Marquis where I saw Raúl Juliá when I was in high school. He really changed my life with MAN OF LA MANCHA. That was a great revival. I feel like we did wonderful work on JEKYLL [& HYDE] and I'm sad to see it end.

BWW: Regarding your solo cabaret concert, how different is preparing for that type of show compared to preparing for a multi-person theatrical production?

Constantine Maroulis: That's a great question! You know, for me, I've always grown up as an all-around sort of entertainer. I grew up loving the great vocalists like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. They were multi-talented guys. They were beautiful storytellers with a song or with a script.

I always feel like I approach all projects the same way, really. I try to a.) entertain and b.) really just be honest and true to the work, put on a great show, connect to the audience, whether it's a stadium, an arena, a beautiful theatre, a black box, a club, or a shitty, smoky bar somewhere. You know, whether there's a dozen people there or a thousand, it really is about just a great moment in my life entertaining, doing what I love, connecting with my audiences, and I do a lot of different things, so I can bring in a loud rock band and we can have a wonderful night like that, I can do a piano/vocal thing, an acoustic thing, or a loose cabaret thing where we talk about where the songs came from, maybe the writers. I enjoy doing all of that stuff.

This specifically will be connected to me doing my masterclass/audition workshop with the Houston students. I've been to Houston many times now. It's one of my favorite cities by far. I've come there with so many of my projects, from American Idol and RENT to [THE] TOXIC [AVENGER], JEKYLL [& HYDE], and ROCK OF AGES. It's one of those sort of towns that really, you know, has been a part of my whole journey as a professional over the last 10 to 12 years.

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David Clarke David Clarke has had a lifelong love and passion for the performing arts, and has been writing about theatre both locally and nationally for years. He joined running their Houston site in early 2012 and began writing as the site's official theatre recording critic in June of 2013.