BroadwayGirlNYC: American Idol and Broadway


BroadwayGirlNYC: American Idol and Broadway


It's one of the most common rejections on American Idol: "Sorry, but you're better suited for Broadway."  The contestants invariably cry as they're escorted from the audition room.  Few if any hear it as a compliment - they want the pop music contract, not to train for theatre.  But as we've seen over the past ten years, American Idol and the Broadway stage are not mutually exclusive - not by a long shot!  In fact, it's the opposite: every single season of the show has either borrowed talent from the New York theatre or created stars that have rocked musicals on Broadway and/or on national tours across the country.

To boot:

Season 1 of American Idol introduced us to future Broadway stars Tamyra Gray (RENT) and Justin Guarini (Women on the Verge, American Idiot).

Season 2 brought us Clay Aiken (Spamalot) and Frenchie Davis, who was controversially disqualified from the televised competition, but made a name for herself in RENT.

Season 3 gave us Fantasia Barrino (The Color Purple), Diana DeGarmo (Hair, 9 to 5 tour), and Katie Webber (Memphis).

Season 4 of American Idol gave us Constantine Maroulis (Rock Of Ages), as well as Anthony Federov (who starred off-Bway in The Fantasticks).

Season 5 introduced us to Taylor Hicks (Grease), Lisa Tucker (she was in the LA company of The Lion King before her turn on Idol), and Ace Young (HAIR).

Season 6 gave us LaKisha Jones (Color Purple) as well as Jordin Sparks (In the Heights).

American Idol season 7 brought us Syesha Mercado, who rocked the recently closed national tour of Dreamgirls.

Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert was in Wicked before he auditioned for the TV show.

And Season 9 of American Idol gave us @ToddyRockStar (Todrick Hall) as a semi-finalist (Memphis) - and other stars-in-the-making who will surely show up on Broadway in the months to come.

Last week, the contestants on Season 10 of American Idol were narrowed down to thirteen - ten voted in by the viewers, plus three that the judges kept on in "wild card" slots.  Being the Broadway freak you know I am, how could I keep from casting them in my head for roles in musical theatre?!  After all, you know some of them will end up there.

I'm no Bernie Telsey, but here are my best guesses for where these kids will end up. Broadway, here they come!!


  • Ashton Jones - Felicia Farrell in Memphis
  • Casey Abrams - Huey Calhoun in Memphis
  • Haley Reinhart - Sherrie in Rock of Ages
  • Jacob Lusk - Tick/Mitzi in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  • James Durbin - Drew in Rock of Ages
  • Karen Rodriguez - Extraordinary Girl in American Idiot
  • Lauren Alaina - Roxie Hart in Chicago
  • Naima Adedapo - Nabalungi in Book of Mormon
  • Paul McDonald - Fiyero in Wicked
  • Pia Toscano - Elphaba in Wicked
  • Scotty McCreery - Johnny Cash in Million Dollar Quartet
  • Stefan Langano - J. Pierpont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really
  • Trying
  • Thea Megea - Christine Daiae in Phantom of the Opera


To keep myself from going totally crazy with the options, I kept to shows that are currently running.  But I invite you to cast these thirteen performers in any show that has ever played in Broadway. 

Where will we see them next??

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