While Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have parlayed their “American Idol” wins into successful singing careers, many of the show’s popular finalists also have enjoyed success, among them Jennifer Hudson in film (“Dreamgirls”) and Katharine McPhee in television (“Smash”).
Diana DeGarmo, the runner-up from Season 3, and Ace Young, who made a strong showing in Season 5, have focused primarily on the musical theater since their “Idol” days.
DeGarmo was cast as Doralee Rhodes in the national tour of “9 to 5,” and Young appeared as Danny Zuko in a touring production of “Grease.” In 2010, the popular “Idol” contestants shared the stage in the Broadway revival of “Hair.”
Today, they’re showcasing their talents as the stars of the national touring production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The musical will play eight performances at the Civic Center Music Hall this week.
Young surprised DeGarmo with an on-air marriage proposal before the Season 11 “American Idol” winner was announced in May 2012. She accepted, and they married in June 2013. Today, these newlyweds travel together and have even taken their dog Rosie on the road with them.
“This has been such a wonderful opportunity for us during our first year of marriage,” DeGarmo said. “It’s a chance to do a lovely show that so many people can be inspired by. We were more than happy to jump on board.”
One of the title character’s biggest challenges is having to rattle off a laundry list of 29 colors that give Joseph’s elegant coat its distinction. This highly rhythmic musical number qualifies as one of the musical theater’s most daunting tongue-twisters.
“I didn’t realize there were more than about eight colors in the world,” Young said sheepishly. “So when I found out there were all these different shades, I was blown away. Not only was I learning the new names, I had to know what things like azure and ochre were.”
For this Biblical story about Joseph and his 11 brothers, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice created a wildly eclectic score that blends pop (“Go, Go, Go Joseph”), country (“One More Angel in Heaven”), rock (“Song of the King”) and French ballads (“Those Canaan Days”).
This marks DeGarmo’s second outing as the show’s narrator, a character who observes and also comments on the action. In 2009, DeGarmo starred opposite “Idol” finalist Anthony Federov in the Lyric Theatre production of “Joseph.”
“I grew up idolizing the narrator and thinking what a great role it would be to play,” DeGarmo said. “Learning it was quite a workout, because the narrator has a lot to say. But I love the role because I actually do get to watch the show.
“I get to look at people in the audience, crack jokes with them and make sure that we have that eye-to-eye connection. It’s a blast to see people light up and enjoy the show so much. That makes what we do so fantastic.”
The current tour, presented locally by Celebrity Attractions, was directed by Andy Blankenbuehler, a Tony Award winner for his choreography on the 2008 musical “Into the Heights.”
“Andy and his team really tried to dive deep into the layers of the show,” DeGarmo said of this production of “Joseph.” “They also got Andrew Lloyd Webber’s blessing to re-imagine some of the songs to bring them into 2014. As a result, we’ve been able to put our own stamp on the show both visually and creatively.”
‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
•When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. April 13.
•Where: Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker.
•Information: (800) 869-1451 or www.celebrityattractions.com.