Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo — the stars of the current touring production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat — are no strangers to collaboration.
They met in the revival of Hair in New York City and realized they had some things in common.
“It felt like we had the same past. We were both in the Idol frat,” Young said.
He is referring to the fact that both the performers had been contestants on American Idol — Young in season 5 and DeGarmo in season 3. The two formed such a bond over their status as alumni that Young proposed to DeGarmo live on the season 11 finale of the show.
The two live in Los Angeles together when they can, which they both admit can be hindered by their careers as touring performers. Almost immediately after Hair, which closed June 2010, DeGarmo returned to theater in September 2010 in the touring production of 9 to 5: The Musical. It was hard on the couple to be apart for most of a year.
“It sucked! Any amount of time (apart) is hard when you are a new couple, and it’s not like you can just take days off,” DeGarmo said.
But it did convince them that they should make things more permanent. Young’s proposal came in 2012, and they were married a month later.
“We enjoy working together, as you can tell,” DeGarmo said.
They are well-matched, both talented in their own right and incredibly in sync. They spend a lot of time finishing each other’s sentences, and it’s incredibly charming.
“We just kind of put it out into the universe that we’d like to work together,” DeGarmo said.
Shortly after, the opportunity for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat came into their lives. Several factors — incuding DeGarmo’s history with the musical and Young’s past experience with the production company — made it a perfect fit for both stars. DeGarmo has been performing in productions of Joseph since she was a child.
Young and DeGarmo were cast as the show’s most important characters: Young as Joseph and DeGarmo as the narrator.
“It was an opportunity we could literally not say no to,” DeGarmo said.
When they found out Andy Blankenbuehler was directing, it was even more exciting for the two. Blankenbuehler is a Tony and Drama Desk award-winning director (In the Heights), and he is known for his faithful yet updated productions of classic Broadway plays.
According to DeGarmo and Young, Blankenbuehler approached Andrew Lloyd Weber for permission to change a few things in the musical.
“Andy [Blankenbuehler] was blown away,” Young said. “Weber gave his blessing, saying, ‘I want it to be current.’” Before die-hard fans get nervous about just how much the musical was changed and updated, Young and DeGarmo are quick to reassure audiences that the changes are minor and serve to add a fresh take on a well-loved musical that is almost 30 years old.
DeGarmo especially likes that her character, the narrator, gets to see the audience reaction, and she loves the fact that she gets to interact with them. She feels sure that the changes made to the musical have made it current and fresh with no major changes to the script.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “Your Joseph is still there.”
Both DeGarmo and Young expressed their excitement at being back in Oklahoma City, a city they had visited on tours separately but never together.
“We are looking forward to exploring the cities we stop in,” DeGarmo said, “and making new memories as a couple.”