Are you loving American Idol this season? “Un-Block The Music” is loving it despite the fact that it is not the same kind of competition it was in 2002 when Kelly Clarkson brought home that first prize. It’s highly produced with all kinds of back up, not just Musical Director Rickey Minor “doing his thing”. I think the last season I truly enjoyed was Season 8 when Kris Allen took the prize from Adam Lambert. Kris who? Adman Lambert lost? Anyway, my absolute favorite season was Season 4. While that was Carrie Underwood’s win, to me, that was the season of Bo Bice and Constantine Maroulis. Yes, I love rock and roll, but Constantine’s talent shined even brighter than that. I have never taken my eyes off of Constantine and his many career successes. “Un-Block The Music” thought that during this Idol Season, it might be time to “Catch Up With Constantine”.
“For me. It is the slow burn,” Constantine says. “It has been fifteen years of doing interesting cool, new things.” He starred in and got a Tony nomination for Rock Of Ages on Broadway. He also continued with pop/rock, going off with his band on tour and creating new records. Later, he was one of the producers of Deaf West’s Spring Awakening revival on Broadway. He recently did an indie movie, (Red Door and Lemon Tree directed by John O’Hurley, who you may recognize from Seinfeld), and he hopes to secure a steady role on a television series soon.
Constantine says he has landed exactly where he always wanted to be, on Broadway and always in the fight for new and challenging projects. “While there is no guarantee that a show you are in is going to be a big hit on Broadway one day, you want to take those chances. I still like having to compete. What I learned when working on Spring Awakening, is that it is really tough to sell 300 orchestra seats. Spring Awakening didn’t make a dollar, but it was gorgeous and well-received. It was a wonderful experience for me being part of that team, probably one of the most beautifully staged productions ever on Broadway.”
In terms of recent theater projects, Constantine recently performed in a concert version of Into The Woods at Patchogue Theater For The Performing Arts in Long Island, and then he went off to Japan to perform with Frank Wildhorn, the composer of Jekyll and Hyde, Broadway Musical; a role that Constantine has played on several occasions. “Frank is the gift that keeps on giving. First, we have become dear friends and collaborators. I think when we finally met in Jekyll and Hyde on Broadway, we met our match. He writes big tenor, masculine music. It’s a great relationship.”
“Into The Woods” Photo by Broadwayworld.com (Ayla Schwartz is Little Red)
8In between it all, Constantine crowd-funded for his new record which he is also producing. He has put out a few singles over the last few years that have done well on Spotify, he says, including “Here I Come”, “She’s Just Rock N Roll” and “All About You”. Those songs will be part of the record,” but we have all brand-new material as well. I grew up with such eclectic taste in music. I love improvisation and jam music. That probably comes from studying jazz when I was younger. While, there is going to be some different elements to this record, there will also be some straight up, pop rock songs.” Constantine is trying to get that album out ASAP, and plans to tour when it hits.
Working with younger performers is also something Constantine does. He has been writing songs with a partner, Static, and says they have been working with two younger singers. “I do a lot of coaching musical theater hopefuls looking to audition for college. I do a lot of master classes, and would love to open a school one day. I do love to teach.” He offered some advice about song choice for musical theater auditions. “If you can interpret a pop song as a scene and show control, that’s gold. Pop songs have great stories, “especially those 80s and 90s songs because they were written when videos still mattered. Songwriters would write the songs for the video.”
Of course, “Un-Block The Music,” wondered if Constantine is watching the new season of American Idol. The answer is “Yes,” and he has some of his own thoughts about the change in scope of the show. “Of course, any show that is so successful for so long is going to lose some of its audience. However, it’s so well produced and still a great opportunity for people. I wouldn’t trade Idol for any of the other competition shows. Idol has launched a lot of recognizable talent from a myriad of different backgrounds while the other shows have not. Because of Idol, I’ve gotten to do a little about everything.”
“Un-Block The Music” agrees. While it may not create the television frenzy it did in the early 2000s, hopefully, there will be some truly deserving artists introduced on American Idol Season 17. Maybe not another Constantine, but perhaps someone as versatile? “Un-Block The Music” picks Madison VanDenburg. I am never right though, and this season may be tricky with the likes of Laine Hardy, Uche and Dimitrius Graham. So, we will see! The winner will be crowned May 19 on ABC Television.
In the meantime, “Catch Up with Constantine” at constantinemaroulis.com.