Just before returning to their current hometown of Nashville and continuing their cross-country trek starring in the national tour of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, I had an opportunity to pose the latest round of my recurring celebrity interview Rapid Fire 20 Q to real-life marrieds Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo. The talented couple, who both gained national exposure thanks to a certain reality singing competition are currently headlining the latest national tour to hit the stage at TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center). After unavoidable weather delays, Young, DeGarmo and company are set to bring “Joseph” to glorious living color and sound at TPAC’s Jackson Hall beginning Thursday, February 19 and continuing for six shows through Sunday, February 22.
Since Young and DeGarmo not only share the stage as co-stars in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, but also share their lives as husband and wife, I thought it only appropriate that they share my Rapid Fire 20 Q with ten questions each.
Rapid Fire 10 Q with Ace Young, Joseph in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”
Jonathan Pinkerton: To start things off, I was thrilled when I heard you and Diana were not only starring in the current national tour of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, but that your current hometown of Nashville was among the tour stops. Having worked on “American Idol” myself the first couple of seasons, there’s a certain sense of pride when “Idol” alum continue to thrive. That said, what’s your fondest memory of your time on the fifth season of “American Idol”?
Ace Young: My favorite from “Idol” was the National Tour. It was nice to meet all my fans that voted for me on the show.
JP: As I mentioned above, you and Diana currently call Nashville home. You guys aren’t the only ones. Heck, from your “Idol” season alone, there’s Nashville native Mandisa, as well as transplants like Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington. Any plans for a mini “Idol” reunion when the tour stops in on Music City?
Ace Young: Nashville or not, we are always excited to see our “Idol” friends. We are more excited to have everyone at our home for dinner after the tour ends.
JP: Prior to starring as Joseph in the current tour, you made your Broadway debut stepping into the role of Kenickie in the revival of “Grease”. Of course Kenickie’s big song is “Greased Lightnin'”. How much fun was that experience?
Ace Young: Playing Kenickie was outstanding! It was sexy hearing all the women scream during grease lightnin. My highlight was opening the Macy’s Christmas Day Parade performing with the T-Birds and licking the front fender of a classic car.
JP: Licking the front fender…OK then. Not long after “Grease”, you took over the role of Berger in “Hair”. As fate (or is that a well-thought-out marketing strategy) would have it, your “Hair” co-star was Diana. Modern legend has it that you two met during rehearsals for “Hair”. Was it love at first sight? What’s the real story?
Ace Young: Diana and I did not know each other until we did the revival of “Hair” together. Diana is a bad ass. I knew I loved her from day one of rehearsals when she and I led a completely new cast of hippies with no fear. I will always appreciate Diane Paulus for casting us on our acting abilities and not using our “Idol” connections to promote the show.
JP: Now onto “Joseph”. How did your involvement in the tour come about?
Ace Young: I had a blast working with this production company in the past. They approached us with the Tony-winner Andy Blankenbuehler as director/choreographer. Year one of our marriage, working with the best, it was a no brainer.
JP: That’s right, you and Diana got married in the spring of 2013. Less than a year later, you guys began the “Joseph” tour. Has it felt like one big honeymoon?
Ace Young: Honeymoon? No, This is work. But we are fortunate to have a amazing cast and crew that make everyday enjoyable. My wife and I are excited to have some honeymoon time in a couple months.
JP: One of my favorite aspects of “Joseph” is the inclusion of so many different styles of music. I always like to ask…If you could switch roles with anyone in your show for one performance, what role would it be?…Which song would you look most forward to performing?…and why?
Ace Young: I want to be Simeon! Paul Castree tears the roof off the building with his amazing talents every single night. Why do I want that part? When you see the show it’s self explanatory.
JP: I understand costumer Jennifer Caprio created an all-new dreamcoat specifically for the tour. I love the stained-glass look of your dreamcoat. How does it feel to put it on each night?
Ace Young: Jennifer Caprio made a brand new, unbelievable dreamcoat for this production! Everything has a purpose. All 29 colors [referenced in the song “Joseph’s Coat”] are on the coat. There are no words to express how perfectly it fits my body. Everyone should feel a coat build specifically for them in their life time.
JP: At the core of “Joseph” is the underlying relationship between a man and his brothers. As seen in the show, familial relationships aren’t always easy. You yourself come from a huge family. How does being the youngest of five brothers help you relate to Joseph?
Ace Young: Being the youngest of five giant brothers was a huge help for this role! I’m 6’1″ and short when I am next to my 4 older brothers. They are as tall as 6’7″ to give you an idea. And Andy Blankenbuehler made sure to cast 11 brothers that all have their individual strengths. We are all different, like a real family.
JP: Ok, one last question before I chat with your lovely wife. Perhaps the most recognizable song from the show is “Any Dream Will Do”. From a successful stint on the highest rated reality music show, two major Broadway revivals, a new life as a husband, on to headlining alongside your wife on a national tour–it would seem that you’re definitely living the dream. What’s left to do?
Ace Young: I want to be challenged. I am looking to originate a new role in musical theater.
Rapid Fire 10 Q with Diana DeGarmo, The Narrator in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”
Jonathan Pinkerton: Alright, Diana, full disclosure….When I reviewed your performance in the 2010 national tour of “9 to 5”, I may or may not have picked apart your southern drawl as seen in the sizzle reel. That said, I immediately ate crow in that same article admitting my devotion to you after seeing you in the role here in Nashville at TPAC. I sang your praises and said Dolly Parton would be proud. With that out of the way, how much fun was it to bring Dolly’s iconic turn as Doralee to life during that tour?
Diana DeGarmo: I loved playing Doralee and it was a honor to work with Dolly for the 9 to 5 Tour. I got the biggest compliment of my acting career when Dolly said, “she does me better than I do!” I will forever cherish that experience.
JP: As I mentioned to Ace when we chatted, because of my association with “Idol”, there’s a special place in my hear whenever former contestants continue to soar. I’ll ask you something I asked Ace….What’s your fondest memory of your time on “American Idol”?
Diana DeGarmo: When I first found out I made it to the Top 12. That’s when I knew I was in the right place to kick start my career in entertainment.
JP: Also like Ace, you’ve enjoyed quite a varied career in musical theatre. Do you remember the first time you performed in front of a live audience?
Diana DeGarmo: The first time I really remember performing was at my kindergarten talent show. I was 5 and I sang the title song from the film “Beauty & The Beast”.
JP: When you took over the role of Penny Pingleton in “Hairspray”, you became the first “Idol” star to debut on Broadway. What do you remember about your first opening night?
Diana DeGarmo: No one laughed. I thought I was going to be fired and I was horrible. Then the next day I found out the entire audience was corporate French businessmen that didn’t speak English. The next night, I killed.
JP: During your “Idol” season, you performed Melba Moore’s “This is It”. Fast forward a couple of years and you co-starred alongside Melba in the national tour of Brooklyn: The Musical. How surreal was that full-circle experience?
Diana DeGarmo: Melba is a living legend. She was just as tickled pink as I was to work together.
JP: You play The Narrator in the current national tour of “Joseph”. It’s a role your familiar with, having starred in a regional production in Oklahoma back in 2009. Can you speak a little about the similarities and differences between a regional show and a national tour?
Diana DeGarmo: It’s like night and day except I have the same Judah played by Max Kumangai! Andy Blankenbuehler truly took this production of Joseph to a new level.
JP: Alright, I asked Ace if it was love at first sight when the two of you met during the Broadway revival of “Hair”. Without conferring with your husband….let’s hear your side of the story.
Diana DeGarmo: At the time I thought I was just really into the role…but yes, it was love at first sight. We both upped each others real estate.
JP: I have to ask….I know you did a staged reading for “Jawbreaker: The Musical”. LOVE that movie! Any news on that front?
Diana DeGarmo: When we do readings or workshops as a actor you only get that secluded time with the piece. After that there are so many steps, people, and other variables that have to happen before we even know what’s next. I love that show! I can’t wait to be a part of its future growth.
9) Awesome. All I wanted to hear was that there might be a future for “Jawbreaker”. Alright, back to “Joseph”. The Narrator is obviously such an integral part of “Joseph”. “Prologue”, which opens the show, “Pharaoh’s Story” and “Joseph Megamix” are three of my personal favorite moments in the show. What’s yours?
Diana DeGarmo: My favorite part is getting to work with my husband again. He and I are so creative together. It’s always a blast.
JP: Our time is almost up. One last question. I’ve heard that after the tour concludes in a couple of months, you and Ace are going to focus on your duets project? Can you give me any scoop on that?
Diana DeGarmo: I am dying to get into our home studio! We have come up with so many fun song ideas for both of us. I can’t wait to record them!
On Thursday, February 19, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” begins its Nashville run after an unavoidable two-day weather delay. Performances are scheduled for Thursday, February 19-Sunday, February 22. Thursday night’s performance begins at 7:30. Friday and Saturday evening performances start at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. The Nashville leg of the tour concludes on Sunday with a final early evening performance beginning at 6:30 p.m. Click Here for tickets. Not in Nashville but interested in seeing Ace Young, Diana DeGarmo and the cast of “Joseph” in your city? Click Here to visit the show’s official website for details and to purchase tickets for the remaining tour dates.
TPAC patrons who originally had tickets to one of the two previously cancelled performances should contact the TPAC Box Office via email at BoxOffice@TPAC.org for information on how to reschedule tickets to another performance of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”.
As Nashville prepares for the possibility of another wave of inclement weather, TPAC subscribers and ticket holders are encouraged to Click Here to visit TPAC’s website for the latest weather related announcements.
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