Can you think of any better revenge on that high school musical director who cut you from the cast than to end up in a hit Broadway show? I can't. And that's just what has happened for Clay Aiken — the Broadway part, not the revenge, necessarily. He got cut from the musical when in high school in Raleigh, N.C. and next month he'll make his Broadway debut.
I just got off the phone with Clay, who was so full of energy and good conversation, he was better than a cup of coffee to jump start my afternoon. He was happy to answer questions from Blog readers, though there was not time to do them all. Thanks for sending them, everyone. You are informed followers indeed.
The American Idol alum, who is in Cleveland today, confessed that he was talking to me while he was still in his pajamas; he was waiting backstage to do the sound check before the show there tonight. He'll go to Minneapolis for three days, then Omaha and Chicago before he leaves with UNICEF to work in Mexico for the holidays.
He says he won't even have time to think about Spamalot until Jan. 2 and he has not ever seen the movie, Sylvie. In fact, he only saw the show a year ago. "The first time I saw it, I thought, 'This is stupid.' It was lost on me." But about six months later, on a second viewing, he saw that it is "irreverant, silly, silly, silly and it's all it's supposed to be. I laughed so hard. It's the funniest show in New York." He IS a little worried about the dancing, or as he put it, "God help us with the dancing part." He'll have just about two weeks to learn it before his debut on Jan. 18. And he's curious about what it will be like to do eight shows a week all in the same place. Spamalot, he says, "is the closest to a 9 to 5 job I've ever had in my life." And, Lissa, it sounds like he'll work on the new album primarily after the show is wrapped up in May.
Clay does not experience stage fright but he did remember for me that the last time he had it was the first week he was on American Idol. As for what other musical or play he might like to do someday, there seems to be no question - Huck Finn in Big River. He recalls seeing that musical in Raleigh when he was very young and realizing "Oh wow. These people are making a living singing. It seemed more attainable." The cool part of that story is, the young actor playing Huck that day that Clay saw it, was Martin Moran. And it is Moran, currently playing Sir Robin in Spamalot, who Clay will replace.
I asked about writing a sequel to his book Learning to Sing, and at first he laughed about it being called Learn to Shut Up. But Clay says he doesn't see a sequel. He says the first book felt right because he had so many experiences to share that might benefit someone else. Though he's grown much and "there would be a lot to get in" he doesn't see how it would benefit anyone else.
I did get to ask how he relaxes, wondering if he had a hobby or sport. But Clay says the best way for him to relax is to be alone. He likes staying on the tour bus when everyone else is gone, or just going to the mall by himself. He says he recharges best by himself. No doubt he is going to love New York.