Taylor Hicks on Grease, Hamlet, going the distance

luvtaylorhicks is on a roll!!

Taylor Hicks on Grease, Hamlet, going the distance
Posted by Joey Guerra at September 10, 2009 01:04 PM

Taylor Hicks says starring on Broadway “never crossed his mind” as he was building his post-American Idol career.

But the season 5 winner knows (along with several other Idol graduates) that a reality-show win doesn’t necessarily translate to real-world superstardom.

“The sustainment of high success is very tough. You have to own as much as you can in this business. If you don’t, then your future is going to be a tough one,” he says.

“Having the freedom to go into different musical fields, living and dying by your own sword, I think that creates drive for me.”

Hicks heeded his own advice and stepped onto the Broadway stage in 2008 as the teen angel in the Broadway revival of Grease. He’s reprising that role in Theater Under the Stars’ current production. He’s also plugging a new CD, The Distance, with an acoustic show Monday at Warehouse Live.

He never once uttered “soul patrol!” during our chat. (Damn.) But Hicks did talk about guardian angels, sparring with another famous Taylor and the one crown that rivals his Idol title –

Your one number in Grease, Beauty School Dropout, comes during Act 2. What’s happening backstage the rest of the time?

You are just hanging out, but (I’m also) writing songs. We’re trying to work on the next record. The time I spend off the stage is spent working to try to get back on it, so to speak. Doing eight shows a week, along with press, and working a record that you have out already — it’s a lot to work. But this is what you have to understand about this business. You have to work for the next thing.

Why was theater the right step, right now?

I never thought in a million years that I would be flown to New York City to star in a Broadway show. But as I evolve in theater and from this part, it makes complete sense. I’ve been performing live for a long time. Music is not necessarily the means to an end. I think entertaining is a means to an end. You have to reinvent yourself, and you have to be versatile to withstand a long career.

You’ve performed onstage for more than a decade. Has theater taught you anything new?

The rapport between the actors and actresses, it’s instantaneous, as far as creativity. I’ve always been able to play off a musician with my instrument. But now, I’m actually playing off a role. I find that fascinating, the first-hand experience that I’m gaining, playing off of someone’s character. It’s like the first time that you communicated musically with someone. It’s like a brand new toy.

There’s a video and a few more questions here. Check it out – they’re good ones!

Taylor Hicks: 7 p.m. Monday at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel. $25; 713-225-5483 or warehouselive.com.

Grease: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, through Sept. 20. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby $24-$87; 713-558-8887 or tuts.com.

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