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Greasy Constantine Can’t Save Broadway

January 11, 2009

 

Malista.com

Photo: Malista.com

I wonder how many emails Joe Dziemianowicz, the writer, will be inundated with from Greasy Constantine’s fanbase. It’s not an entirely unfavorable article, but it does state the fact that Constantine Maroulis cannot save Broadway when Rock of Ages moves there in April. Even when waitresses are plying the audience with drinks, the chances are slim.

And ‘m not sure about Ruben Studdard portraying Billy Flynn in Chicago, but Melinda Doolittle as Mama Morton could be amazing. Is Studdard really right for the role of Billy Flynn? And as far as Idols on Broadway go, he did forget to mention Ace Young in Grease, as well as LaToya London in The Color Purple. Did these contestants not “fill the seats” or are they just not more widely-known names?

Maybe people aren’t spending money on the theatre these days. And hard-core NY theatre goers who have the ability to see any show they want and whenever they way, probably aren’t going to spend their money on relative fluff such as Grease or Legally Blonde, for instance. Spring Awakening, which won a bunch of Tonys, was forced to close. With its Rufus Wainwright soundtrack, edgy storyline (German teens having sex!) and critical acclaim, did it not sell well enough to keep the seats filled? Perhaps Broadway producers are aiming to fill the theaters with shows having more “universal appeal” — i.e., the crap tourists will waste their money on. West Side Story is coming back to Broadway, another classic musical everyone knows…

Quite ironic, really, since in recent years, the movie musical has experienced a rebirth of sorts with the popularity of Chicago, Hairspray, Mamma Mia and that High School Musical crap.

(Side note: I definitely do not purport to be an expert on musical theatre. Not by any stretch.)

From today’s NY Daily News:

Can an “American Idol” belter save Broadway?

In a word: no.

It’ll take more than that to rescue the Great White Way, which has been hit hard (nine closings last week, and more to come this month) by a nosediving economy.

Still, it can’t hurt for an Idol to try. And one shaggy-maned rocker from the popular TV reality contest is reportedly about to step up.

While word isn’t yet official,Brooklyn-born Constantine Maroulisis said to be on board for the Broadway transfer of “Rock of Ages,” the ’80s musical of Journey, Bon Jovi and Whitesnake tunes.

The popular finalist from Season 4 cultivated a following while on the TV show. That helped draw audiences during the Off-Broadway run of “Rock of Ages” at New World Stages, which ended last week in advance of the Broadway run beginning in March.

More than ever, producers need as many ways to get fannies in seats as they can come up with. And if history has taught us anything, it’s that the right Idol in the right show at the right time can mean green in the bank.

Take Fantasia Barrino. When it was announced in 2007 that the Season 3 champ would assume the role of the abused Celie in “The Color Purple,” ticket sales spiked to the tune of $6 million. At the time, producer Scott Sanders told The News he expected the “Idol” champ “was going to kick things up.”

Taylor Hicks, the Season 5 winner known for his gray hair and smoky purr, had a similar kick on ticket sales when he played Teen Angel in “Grease,” which closed last week on Broadway. The till got a heavenly $150,000 weekly bump.

Now on the road in the national tour of the ’50s-set musical, Hicks is still bringing in business. “He’s doing great for the show,” said a theater insider.

And if members of Hicks’ “Soul Patrol” of fans are showing up, so did Claymates. Fans of Clay Aiken came out in full force when he took over the role of Sir Robin in the spoofy musical, which closes today.

Over the years, “American Idol” has become an express lane to Broadway, with producers and casting directors eagle-eyeing shows for prospective players.

“They are a talented bunch,” says Duncan Stewart, casting director for “Chicago” and all of producers Barry and Fran Weissler’s projects.

Over the years, Duncan has had conversations with many “Idol” contestants about taking over roles in the long-running “Chicago.” Among them, Ruben Studdard, for the role of Billy Flynn, and Melinda Doolittle, as prison matron Mama Morton. So far no deals have been made, but the talks continue.

“Ages” producers Matt Weaver and Carl Levin first encountered Maroulis during his run on “American Idol.” “When we met Constantine, we instantly liked him and knew he would be perfect for ‘Rock of Ages,'” they noted. “He has a real rock sensibility.”

That works for “Ages.” And it doesn’t hurt for a dude who’s in a position to turn the ailing beat of Broadway around.

It also doesn’t hurt that Rock of Ages serves alcohol to its audience. From everything I’ve read on the show, the popularity of it was buoyed by deeply discounted tickets (even offerings on the sides of milk cartons in New Jersey), excessive marketing, and lots & lots of LIQUOR coupled with the whole 1980s revival thing. Most comments on Broadway boards talk about it being fun IF you’re drunk because of the party-like atmosphere. Had its new Broadway theatre not okayed  in-seat alcohol service when it debuts in April, would its BW prospects been less than favorable?

Granted, I’ve only seen the cast in their performance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Well…here’s the clip. You be the judge.

(And check out Greasy Constantine’s jazz hands! They’re like spastic coked up jazz hands!)

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. louise7 permalink
    January 12, 2009 11:21 am

    That you for letting us post about our favorite singer. Without this site, it would be really difficult to share the latest news about them.

    FREE SONG FROM AMERICAN IDOL’S MELINDA DOOLITTLE! GO TO http://www.melindadoolittle.com and get it NOW – FREE! New album released on February 3, 2009! Don’t miss it!

  2. shy permalink
    January 12, 2009 3:36 am

    FIRST OF ALL ITS NOT ABOUT CONSTANTINE AND U SINGLED HIM OUT JUS BECAUSE OF WAT UR PERCEPTION OF HIM IZZ WHICH IZ NOT OPEN MINDED OR ADULT LIKE WAT R U 12? I DONT LIKE CONNIE HES A GREASEBALL? DOESNT MATTER IF U DONT WANTTO WASTE UR MONEY ON DAT MEDIOCRE CRAP DEN DATS FINE BUT DONT CRITICIZE PEOPLE WHO WORK THEIR ASSES 8 SHOWS A NIGHT TO
    BE EXACT LOSING THERE VOICES IN SHYT YEA U MAY SAY IM ENTTLED TO MY OPINION BUT AN EYE FOR AN EYE MAKES DA WHOLE WORLD BLIND SINCE HE IS SUCH A NASTY ASS DOUCHE DONT INDULGE HIM DATWAY U WONT THINK ABOUT IT IF DAT FARCE OF A SHOW FAILS ITS ALL OF THEIR FAULT NOT JUST HIS AND BESIDES EVRY1 KNOWS BROADWAY HASNT BEEN POPULAR SINCE RENT ITS A LITTLE 1920’S ANYWAY IN THOSE DAYS PEOPLE HAD REAL TALENT AND COMPARED TO THOSE FOLK CONNIE FALLS SHORT OF DAT MAYBE HE SHOULLD PROMISE DA FRAUS A DATE IF THEY TELL THEIR FRENZ 2 C DA SHOW I JUST HAD 2 PUT MY 2 CENTS IN TO SET PEOPLE STRAGHT I DIDNT LIKE DA CHEESINESS I SAW EITHER BUT I KIND OF WANNA C HOW LONG CONNIE CAN GO B4 HE PASSES OUT AND DA FRAUS GROPE HIM REPEATEDLY LOL U SHOULD FOCUS MORE ON DA AMI ALUMNI U LIKE INSTEAD OF BASHING DA ONES U KNOW NOTHING ABOUT NOW I WILL TELL U WHO I DONT LIKE AND HIS NAME IS BLAKE LEWIS HE REALLY IZ A DOUCHE BY BEING OVERLEE VULGAR IN REGARDS TO IDOL AND TRYING 2 ACT LIKE HES SUCH BIG SHYT AND SAYING DAT HE LOCKED SANJAYA IN A CLOSET OR SOMETHING ACTING LIKE HE WAS SO GREAT WHEN HE IS REALLY NOTHING MORE DEN A JT WANNA-BE HE CD DIDNT SELL AND HE GO DROPPED FROM HIS LABEL SO DID TAYLORAND RUBBEN AT LEAST CONSTANT ASS OWNS HIS OWN LABEL SO HE WILL NEVER HAS TO WORRY ABOUT DAT I DOUBT HIS NEW CD WILL SELL BUT ALL I CAN SAY IS BEST OF LUCK 2 DEM ALL

  3. January 11, 2009 5:54 pm

    I’d only see this show if I could egg that greasestain.

  4. weezzy permalink
    January 11, 2009 4:53 pm

    First i want to thank you for all the wonderful articles you post. Thanks again for let us spread the love we have for our’s favorites one. Melinda Doolittle are really a talented singer with a big heart of Gold! Without website will be really difficult for any fans to share the great news about them. Thanks.
    FREE SONG FROM AMERICAN IDOL’S MELINDA DOOLITTLE! GO TO http://www.melindadoolittle.com and get it NOW – FREE! New album released on February 3, 2009! Don’t miss it!

  5. Cindy Mayfair permalink
    January 11, 2009 3:19 pm

    I saw Grease 12 times while Ace Young starred in the show on Broadway. Everytime I was there it was sold out! He was filling the seats, he WAS THE STAR OF THE SHOW!!

  6. NYLady permalink
    January 11, 2009 2:57 pm

    I can NOT believe there was no mention of Ace Young and the spectacular job he did in Grease. The man’s face topped Times Square for crying out loud!! If he hadn’t been in the show, Grease would have closed in September.

  7. Dan permalink
    January 11, 2009 2:47 pm

    Too bad you can’t find something nice to say about some of these very talented people.

    If any show is going to give Broadway a boost in these slow financial times, it will be Rock of Ages. If you haven’t seen it, don’t knock it.

    • TopIdol permalink
      January 11, 2009 2:49 pm

      But Dan, wouldn’t you agree its a show that’s more of a spectacle than anything else? Like something for birthday and bachelorette parties?

  8. Louise7 permalink
    January 11, 2009 2:39 pm

    “FREE SONG FROM AMERICAN IDOL’S MELINDA DOOLITTLE! GO TO http://www.melindadoolittle.com and get it NOW – FREE! New album released on February 3, 2009! Don’t miss it!”

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