Winning American Idol may be a path to stardom, but coming in second leads straight to Broadway. The latest runner-up to make his way to the Great White Way is long-haired Southern rocker Bo Bice, who follows in the footsteps of Justin Guarini (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, American Idiot), Clay Aiken (Spamalot) and Diana DeGarmo (Hair, Hairspray). Bested by Carrie Underwood in the fourth season of Idol, Bice is part of a 6-actor ensemble set to revive the 1982 musical Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Set on a strip of lonely North Carolina highway where a gas station and diner are the only games in town, the musical pays tribute to a time when blue collar workers took breaks from the daily grind to play tunes about the simple joys of life. Accompanying Bice are Alexander Gemignani, Erik Hayden, Justin Hosek, Jane Pfitsch and Leenya Rideout, all of whom will act and play instruments, including guitars, fiddles, harmonicas and kitchen utensils.
Tony winner John Doyle will direct the production, which starts previews March 19 and opens April 8 at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
Bice arrives on Broadway after releasing three albums in the past seven years, each with lower sales than the one before. Still, he retains a rabid fan base, as is evident on the website Bona Fide Bice (bonafidebice.com). And now that he’s set to become the 19th American Idol alum to land on Broadway, he has a chance to do something none of the others have done—win a Tony. The Idoler
closest to achieving that prize was fellow season four rocker Constantine
Maroulis, who was nominated for his role in Rock of Ages in 2009.