PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Lance Bass

PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Lance Bass Just at present, there is slim hope of a reunion of the boy band 'N Sync. But old fans increasingly know where to go if they want to catch sight of members of the one-time chart-topping group: Broadway.
Lance Bass
Lance Bass

Joey Fatone was the trailblazer in seeking out stage work. He appeared as Mark in Rent and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. Now his bandmate Lance Bass has followed suit, joining Hairspray on Aug. 14 in the role of Corny Collins. Bass has had a knack for staying in the news since 'N Sync broke up in 2002. In July 2006, his revelation that he was gay landed him on the cover of People magazine. And in October, he published his memoir "Out of Sync," in which he talks about coming out, his upbringing in Mississippi, his experiences in 'N Sync and his bizarre attempt to enter space as part of the Russian cosmonaut program. Bass spoke to Playbill.com about his journey from boy band to Broadway.

Playbill.com: Why did you decide to perform on Broadway?
Lance Bass: I think every performer wants to try Broadway once in his life. I think it's a true test of your craft. But this one really fell in my lap. It's just the perfect role, perfect time. I couldn't have asked for a better show.

Playbill.com: Why is the role of dance show host Corny Collins a perfect role for you?
LB: It's fun, because he's just corny. It's one of those parts that you can do anything with. You can have fun. It's a comedy role. You get two great songs. It wasn't too much. It wasn't like I had to carry a whole show. You had a great cast that you were there with.

Playbill.com: What was your first performance like?
LB: Well, I don't really remember it. (Laughs) I think the first week I was so flustered. I had like a week and a half to prepare this role. I was really rushed in doing it. The first weekend on stage I don't really remember a thing. I was definitely running into people and forgetting lines. It was insane. The more you get to do it, the better it gets.

Playbill.com: One member of your former band, 'N Sync, Joey Fatone, performed on Broadway before you. Did you ask him about his experience?
LB: I did. He was the one who was always trying to encourage me to do Broadway. He said, "You have to do this. It's going to change your life. The community's amazing. You'll have such a connection to New York, you'll want to live there." He was right. Playbill.com: So you want to live here?
LB: Well, I definitely want to do the bi-coastal thing. I want spend half of my time in L.A. and half of my time in New York.

Playbill.com: You also have a book out, a memoir. Was the book your idea or did someone spur you on?
LB: It was really the fans' idea. I never really thought of writing a book until a lot of fans kept coming up and saying, "You should really write your story." I really haven't talked about anything personal in my life, nothing about 'N'Sync and the break-up of the band and nothing about my space exploration. And I definitely haven't talked about coming out. I just decided this would be a good time to write a memoir and close that chapter in my life.

Playbill.com: Does one particular chapter of your life dominate the book?
LB: I tried to divide the book into thirds. One third is about growing up in the South as a gay male. A third is my 'N'Sync experience and how that all started and ended. And a third is the Russian space program.

Playbill.com: You're with Hairspray until January. You signed on for a fairly long time. Often stars from other fields than theatre come into shows for short periods of time.
LB: At first they wanted me for a year, but I thought I would do the normal three-months things. But then I thought about it and thought "I'm not going to study this part and get it down pat just to do it for three months. I'm going to enjoy this." So I signed on for six months.

Playbill.com: Have other people approached you about doing stage shows?
LB: No. But now that I've been bitten by the Broadway bug, I would love to eventually produce a show on Broadway and star in it, if there's a good part.