BWW Interview: CONSTANTINE MAROULIS to Be Joined by Frank Wildhorn at Birdland
Tony Award nominee and Jekyll & Hyde alum Constantine Maroulis will be returning to Birdland on March 9th for a 7 pm. This will be Maroulis' first trip back to Birdland since his sold-out concert on September 26, 2019, and he will be performing with his good friend, Frank Wildhorn. This new show will include highlights of his Broadway appearances, his touring career as a solo artist, and his American Idol days, as well as songs that influenced his musical tastes during his formative years. Extra special to this show will be as-yet unheard music from his new album of all original material, UNTIL I'M WANTED.
Until I'm Wanted will release later in 2020 but with some of those songs being performed live in one month's time, and a guest appearance by Frank Wildhorn, I couldn't resist getting on the phone with Constantine for a little one-on-one chat.
This interview has been edited for space and content.
Constantine! What's the new CD about, what's it like?
So, it's called Until I'm Wanted. We are going to be doing some hard copy printings of it, it's not exactly a CD. I would call it an album. Until I'm Wanted is the collection of rock and roll originals I wrote or co-wrote with some of the leading writers in music today, over the last few years. It's taken a minute to come together, but it's some of the work I'm most proud of in my career. Getting a chance to write with Sam Hollander, who's probably the biggest writer in music today or one of a handful... he did panic at the disco's "High Hopes" and so many huge songs, and he's a dear friend and we really connected on a song entitled All About You, which is one of the singles from the record. We're putting it out independently through a label called Noble Steed. We did a crowdfund on this record, which makes it even more special, involving the fans that have been so loyal to me for many years, creating an immersive level to the record. They've seen me perform a lot of the songs live, whether it's in a cabaret setting or full out with the bands. And I'm looking forward to getting back out there with the band full time, later this spring with a bunch of shows that we are going to be posting about. But me being back at Birdland is my opportunity to always break it down and do things quite simply with just a piano... my favorites from the Broadway canon and some of my originals. I'm going to be including my very special guest Frank Wildhorn this time around. The record is sort of my love letter to rock and roll. I always grew up worshiping the great frontmen and wonderful female rock singers of the 20th century. But I also was a theater geek, you know, and I sorta had both sides of me playing against each other at times. And then, when shows like Rent and, of course later, Rock of Ages came along there really were no rules, you know, rock and roll is such a big part of what is happening on Broadway these days. And although this is definitely an adult rock and roll record, I think you can get a sense of my theatrical side on there as well.
What does the title of the album mean to you?
Until I'm Wanted... it's something I've been saying... it's the title of one of the songs on the record. And I think I've always had an underdog quality, and I take that sort of chip on my shoulder into my work. You know, showing up sixth place on American idol and not winning the Tony award, you know, someone who's a father now and is in his early forties. It kinda just is a little license for me to keep going and keep working hard, putting out a good body of work and good material. It's not so much about just jumping from show to show, but doing things that really count, something that I could be remembered for
Whether you are doing theater or singing rock and roll, your fans have never wavered, they are there for you 100%.
For sure. And it's interesting to look back at the time I was on American Idol when 30 million people a night were watching the show and we didn't have social media or anything like that. That massive audience was overwhelming at times - trying to capitalize on it and create things that people would respond to and that would impact. But before you know it, it's the next season and the season after that... I had television deals and record deals come and go, and Broadway shows and other opportunities. And there is that core audience that has stayed with me. Now, I know when I walk through a mall in Minneapolis and I get noticed left and right, a lot of those people are not with me on a daily basis. They're not engaging on a daily basis, but it's sort of amazing to think you've made quite an impact at one point, whether it was 10 or 15 years ago, in front of that kind of audience, and a lot of them have stayed with you on a daily basis and you're still their number one. And that's amazing. We kind of joke and call them the 30 because there's always that sort of same 30 faces you see at every show and you've gotten to know them over the years on a personal level. And they're beautiful people and they've found their own community with each other. I think that's an awesome thing. They've become great friends with each other and they lift each other up and they have that common thread with, I guess, me in the middle. They've seen my daughter grow, you know, my daughter's nine and for more than half the time they've known me, they've seen my daughter grow up as well. I think they've loved being a part of that as well. And let's face it, a lot of them are sweet on the fact that I have a lovely daughter and she and I are so close.
And your daughter, she's very cool about the social media thing.
I love showing her off. And she's such a bright and smart girl. Her mom and I prioritize her schoolwork and it shows. We do so much work with her independently and she's an excellent student. She's in a very challenging school system and she's doing wonderfully. All the other stuff is just gravy. The fact that she's fun and charismatic and stylish and athletic and she's a great dancer -- she's really a good kid. And considering that she's got two rock and roll parents with a not so traditional dynamic, and the fact that we've overcome so much... We've come a long way and we are co-parenting so wonderfully and successfully, living a great life in the suburbs and working a lot. We just have this great daughter. It's been wonderful to see the progression of that for sure.
You and Frank have remained such close friends all these years. What's that dynamic like?
It's so funny. You know, I can't believe we haven't known each other even longer. We're very similar creatures. We're a couple of straight guys that love musicals, that love Rock and roll. We love sports. We love the ladies. He writes right in my wheelhouse, you know, bold compositions that I can really sink into...not only with Jekyll and Hyde, but so much of the other works that he's done. And we have big plans. He's got so many exciting titles. He's in a writing zone right now that may be his finest ever, and that's saying a lot because everyone loves to sing Frank Wildhorn. And his newer stuff, the directors that he's working with, it's even more exciting. I think he's just in this amazing zone right now and he's working on some great stuff and we're going to be showing off some of that stuff at Birdland on March 9th!
For information and tickets please visit the Birdland website
Photos by Stephen Mosher