::Clay Aiken Musical Starts July 5th In NY
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle Editor
Saturday June 30, 2007
CORRECTED: Saturday 1:34pm
NEW YORK - A musical comedy called "Idol: The Musical" about Clay Aiken fans will start its first show next week on July 5th at the 45th Street Theatre near Times Square in New York City and will run through August 25th.
Set in the town of Steubenville, Ohio, which is a town of 19,000 people on the Ohio River, the hour and a half musical takes a look at dedicated Clay Aiken fans who want to follow in his footsteps. According to an article in the New York Post newspaper, Todd Ellis, a Syracuse New York drama teacher at the Syracuse Civic Theatre, has invested his life savings into the production which he says takes an entertaining look at Clay fans.
"There is so much hysteria surrounding the Claymates," Ellis told the newspaper on June 21st. "He's godlike -- the ones that are devoted to him are really devoted."
Ellis has added in one interview that he is a Clay Aiken fan himself.
Reaction from Clay Aiken's real legions of fans seems to be cautiously upbeat.
"Let's wait and see what the reviews are like from Clay fans after they've seen this play," said ClaytonClayniac on the Clayboard discussion group at ClaytonAiken.com. "Then, if they are indeed positive, I say the rest of the fandom who can possibly go see this play should go arm in arm - proudly wearing their Clay T-Shirts!!! It would be a hoot!"
"Calling all Claymates, it's time to head to Broadway!" said LikenClay2 at the ClayAikenTheIdealIdol.com discussion group. "Well, maybe off-Broadway."
Many said they had already bought tickets for the play, which seems to be selling out fast because of the relatively small theater with only 99 seats and its limited two month engagement in New York City.
The play is being produced by Ellis who came up with the original concept as well as a new production company called BiPolar Productions, which includes Ellis, Jon Balcourt, Bill Boland, and Dan Tursi.
Directed by Tursi, "Idol: The Musical" has music and lyrics by Balcourt with the book and lyrics by Boland.
According to the musical's producers, the musical has already been playing to sold out crowds in Syracuse, New York and has already received excellent reviews.
"Imagine...elements mixing in a story concerning the socials effects of Clay Aiken and you pretty much have a fix on 'Idol: The Musical.' which kept a mainly young audience entertained, laughing and sufficiently diverted to refrain from text-messaging for nearly two hours -quite an achievement for any enterprise in mid-2007," said reviewer Chuck Klaus of the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, New York according to the ticket billing.
"What we have here is a transforming ordeal of fire that turns out the considerable strength of performers rising to their best," added James MacKillop of the Syracuse New Times newspaper.
The cast members have just been announced and according to Playbill include young performers such as Babs Rubenstein, age 19, who has sung in several high school musicals such as 42nd Street, Beauty and the Beast, Footloose, and, Titanic.
Other performers who play the nine main characters in the musical include Jennie Riverso, Nikita Richards, Courtney Ellis, Jon Balcourt, Ryan Sprague, Joella Burt, Joe Walker, and Roy George-Thiemann.
"The musical takes place in Steubenville, Ohio where a group of misfit students are preparing for their high school graduation after which they are determined to drag themselves out of the dregs of the middle-of-nowhere," says the musical's press release. "There are nine of them; all belonging to the same cult-like club that meets daily in a garage that doubles as a shrine to Clay Aiken."
Some of the song titles which poke a little fun at the whole American Idol experience and even Simon Cowell in the new musical include "Idolize," "Small Town Blues," "Fifteen Minutes," "Discipline," "Chip & Dale Days," "Prima Donna Fabulous," "Quakin' for Aiken," "Burnin' Hunk of Clay," "Simon Says," "Distance," "Family of Misfits" and "Realize."
The new musical has scenery designed by Brian Howard, lighting by Charles Shatzkin, and costumes by Keith Axton and with choreography by Jason Bumpus and Joe Walker.
Tickets And Times
The off-Broadway show will be playing at the 45th Street Theatre, which has 99 seats facing the proscenium-style stage and is located in the Manhatten theater district on the south side of West 45th St., between 8th and 9th Avenues at 354 West 45th Street.
Shows start on July 5th at 8:15pm and subsequent show times are Wednesdays at 3:15pm and 8:15pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8:15pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 3:15pm and 8:15pm.
Tickets are available through the "Idol: The Musical" page at www.smarttix.com or at 212-868-4444 and are priced at $60 for general admission or $25 student tickets.
Just like the storyline, the musical will also go on the road for a tour.
"The story heats up when the mid-American leg of the "IDOL TOUR", starring Clay Aiken, is announced to be playing Chicago, Memphis, Louisville, Scranton, Charleston, Greensboro, Roanoke and Steubenville. STEUBENVILLE! Let the worship begin," continues the press notes for the musical.
After playing in New York City, the musical is scheduled to go on the road to other parts of New York state in September. ::
Editor's Note: This article was corrected to reflect that Steubenville, Ohio is a indeed a real town, after the original article incorrectly stated it was a fictitious one made up for the play.