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 Idol Winner Taylor Hicks Gives Musical Theatre A Go

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PostSubject: Idol Winner Taylor Hicks Gives Musical Theatre A Go   Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:09 pm

Idol Winner Taylor Hicks Gives Musical Theatre A Go

Saturday, July 18th, 2009 | 1:52 pm

Canwest News Service

Singer Taylor Hicks is on the telephone from Philadelphia the day after the Michael Jackson tribute, commenting on the power of celebrity and the impact Jackson had on popular culture.

“There are very few entertainers like Michael Jackson who grew up with so many different generations of people,” says Hicks, 33, who was named the American Idol winner in 2006 and is now touring in Grease. (The Broadway musical arrives in the nation’s capital July 21 for a five-day run at the NAC.)

“He was a child star who had a tremendous amount of success at an early age and then he was able to sustain that success. There are very few people who get to do that. He was one of a kind.

“Jackson wasn’t an American pop icon, he was a world pop icon.”

The Birmingham, Alabama native knows about celebrity. The little-known R&B singer was catapulted into the limelight when, after 63 million votes were cast, he become the fifth-season winner of American Idol. He was a popular singer on the show and his down-home charm, winning personality and soulful voice earned him a loyal following. The fans who supported him were called “Soul Patrol.”

As with past American Idol winners, TV appearances, record deals and more media spotlight ensued, opening new opportunities for the singer.

His debut album was certified platinum, his memoir, Heart Full of Soul, was released in 2007 and the United States Postal Service even issued a limited- edition stamp featuring Hicks.

But late last year, he joined the cast of the touring show Grease, playing the smaller role of Teen Angel (played by Frankie Avalon in the 1978 movie). It’s certainly not a starring role in the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll musical and so the decision to take on the part was puzzling to some observers and fans.

“This is a wonderful starting point in musical theatre and acting,” says Hicks.

“The reason why I choose Grease is because the role of Teen Angel doesn’t really stray (from my roots). It’s a good role for me because it allows me to observe musical theatre from an introductory standpoint,” says Hicks, admitting he has no background in musical theatre.

The touring show is also a showcase for Hicks.

At the show’s end, Hicks performs an encore, Seven Mile Breakdown, the latest single from his CD The Distance.

“It’s a cutting-edge way of how an artist can release a record. It’s a wonderful integration,” says Hicks of the marriage between the rock show and a modern vehicle for promoting records.

Hicks says the experience of working with a cast in a popular Broadway show has been enjoyable.

“It’s a brand new experience for me, kind of a re-invention, so to speak,” says Hicks. He’d like to try other theatrical roles, but right now he’s committed to Grease and has extended his stay in the show through to June 2010.

As for this year’s American Idol winner, Hicks says he was just as surprised as everyone else on the final outcome. Clean-cut Kris Allen of Arkansas won out over Adam Lambert, the glam-rocker who was a popular favourite.

“I think the best two were definitely there at the end. That’s the great thing about the show, America got it right,” says Hicks, adding that both singers are destined for promising careers.

Ottawa Citizen

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PostSubject: Re: Idol Winner Taylor Hicks Gives Musical Theatre A Go   Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:09 pm

Thanks for the article, Jodie. I had not seen this one. :)
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