In 14 seasons, Fox’s “American Idol” has helped create pop superstars, Broadway stars and actors. But for Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, it wasn’t their shared reality TV experience but Broadway that brought the show’s first married Idols together.
The stars of “Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which begins its six-day run at Belk Theater Tuesday, met while performing in “Hair” on Broadway in 2010. They’re together again on stage. He’s Joseph. She is the Narrator.
“The very last thing you want to do right after getting married is spend a long time away from each other,” Young says. “This opportunity came at the perfect time.”
Their interest in “Joseph” wasn’t limited to being able to work together. The couple has long a passion for the second musical (and first hit) by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, which retells the Biblical story of the beloved yet exiled son of Jacob, his 11 brothers and a coat of many colors.
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Young, a finalist on the fifth season on “American Idol” in 2006, first saw it with his grandparents when he was 12. “Being the fifth son, I loved a show about 12 brothers,” he says.
DeGarmo, the runner-up of the third season of “Idol” in 2004, grew up performing in a children’s choir and says she always idolized the Narrator.
“Joseph” premiered as a short cantata in London in 1968 and enjoyed multiple runs in London’s West End in the ’70s before opening on Broadway in 1982. The show has little spoken dialogue but more than two dozen songs.
“The story is something everyone can relate with,” DeGarmo says. “This show is about family, second chances and dreaming. There are so many different musical styles. There’s something for everyone.”
Although Young proposed to his wife on stage during the show’s Season 11 finale, the couple “didn’t actually talk about ‘American Idol’ for the first two years of our relationship,” DeGarmo says. “The show was a huge life change for both of us. It was more of a mutual understanding.”
While “Idol” was originally intended as a launching pad for pop stars, the season 3 runner-up and season 5 finalist are among many alums – including North Carolinians Clay Aiken and Fantasia Barrino, Frenchie Davis and Constantine Maroulis – who found a home on Broadway.
“Musical theater has always been a part of my life,” says DeGarmo, 27, who debuted on Broadway as Penny Pingleton in “Hairspray” in 2006.
“It was a great surprise for me post-‘Idol,’” says Young, 34, who made his Broadway debut as Kenickie in “Grease” in 2008. “In entertainment, you never know what’s next.”
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‘Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Feb. 27; 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 28; 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. March 1.
WHERE: Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St.
DETAILS: 704-372-1000; www.blumenthalarts.org.