STAGE TO SCREENS: A Chat with Constantine Maroulis, From "American Idol" to Broadway

Stage to Screens   STAGE TO SCREENS: A Chat with Constantine Maroulis, From "American Idol" to Broadway
 
This column we chat with Constantine Maroulis, who first gained attention as a finalist on TV's "American Idol," and is now making his Broadway debut as Sammy, the hero's best friend, in The Wedding Singer.
Constantine Maroulis
Constantine Maroulis Photo by Lee Page

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How does it feel to be on Broadway? Says Constantine Maroulis, "It feels amazing. It's a dream come true for me. I've been doing theatre my whole life, but to be at the top of the heap in a great show is totally awesome. I grew up watching movie musicals, and as a kid I went to see plays with my family, with my [older] brother and sister.

"I always sang. I loved to perform as a child. I did plays in high school. I got bit by the bug pretty early on. I've been making money doing this for about ten years now. Along came 'American Idol,' and here we are." Born in Brooklyn, Maroulis was raised in New Jersey, and attended the Boston Conservatory of Music (1999-2002).

He's loving the Broadway experience. "I'm discovering things each performance, and learning so much from my fellow actors. It's such a welcoming and professional group." He's fond of Rita Gardner, the original female lead in The Fantasticks, who plays the hero's grandmother in The Wedding Singer. "She's amazing! Rita was also in Jacques Brel, which is a show I've been offered, and hopefully I can do [the revival of] that sometime in the winter."

Maroulis has done a lot of regional work, including some Shakespeare, a tour of Rent (in which he played Roger), God of Vengeance (at Williamstown), and Jesus Christ Superstar, in which he's appeared several times in as many roles. "First, I had an ensemble role in a production with Billy Porter [in the title role] and Emily Skinner [as Mary Magdalene], directed by Gordon Greenberg at Helen Hayes Theatre [in Nyack, December 1998]. Since then, I've played Jesus, Judas, Simon. It's one of my favorite musicals." However, the role that's given him the most satisfaction is the title character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. "I did it one summer in New Hampshire. The opportunity to be in sort of a one-man show really helped me to find that breakthrough as an actor. I had a teacher at Boston Conservatory, Steve McConnell, who always said, 'You'll know when it happens; you'll know when you get there.' Hedwig is a challenging acting piece, as well as being vocally demanding."

Does Maroulis have a dream role? "I have a few. I'm a big fan of a lot of playwrights, but as far as musicals on Broadway, I'd love to play Conrad Birdie in a revival of Bye Bye Birdie, and I'd love to do West Side Story, playing Bernardo or Tony. But I'm probably too old, too tall, and dark to play Tony. I just love that show. It's the perfect musical."

Although signed to play Sammy in The Wedding Singer for eight weeks, Constantine Maroulis notes, "I plan to stay around a little bit longer."

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Michael Buckley also writes for TheaterMania.

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