'American Idol's' Constantine Maroulis in 'Jekyll and Hyde': 'We Take Audiences to the Brink'
The season four heartthrob talks to THR about his latest stage role, fellow "Idol" alum Crystal Bowersox, frontrunner Angie Miller, and whether fans will see him on season 12 before the finale.
On an unseasonably cold night in New York City, Constantine Maroulis is busy warming up to fans outside the stage door of Jekyll & Hyde.
The American Idol season four finalist clearly enjoys this, happily posing for pictures, signing Playbills, and chatting with anyone who waited for their moment with the dashing lead. It’s been one week since the show opened at the Marquis Theatre, and the 37-year old actor is thrilled with the reception to the rock opera.
“It’s been wonderful,” he beams. “We have been working on the show a long time. We had it on the road for about seven months tuning it up, and we implemented a lot of changes along the way. We had a great opening, some great notices, and I think we are going to have a nice limited run and a good summer."
This Tuesday, Maroulis earned his second Drama League nomination for his work in the dual role in the new production, which he said has taken some “artistic liberties with the design and the concept of the show being steampunk.” While excited about the nod, Maroulis is quick to praise his theatrical family.
“I think Jeff Calhoun has been a great leader and a great director and I get to share the stage with the great Deborah Cox and this awesome cast and we love our job,” he said. “We get to go out there and rock and roll every night and take the audience to the brink."
Maroulis is simply a sight to behold as he commands the stage, easily encompassing both men -- the sweet and intellectual Dr. Henry Jekyll and the savagely monstrous and sensual Edward Hyde -- in one body. It’s a thrilling performance, and Maroulis is ready to give New York audiences everything he has for the next two months.
Still, it’s a challenging role for the Brooklyn-born Maroulis, who worked with a dialect coach to get the required English accent correct. Maroulis, who grew up in Wyckoff, NJ, revealed that his inspiration for Jekyll’s articulate speech patterns came from an unlikely source: HBO’s Game of Thrones.
“I really have this influence from Game of Thrones with all these sorts of mixed dialects in there and not just England and Scotland and Ireland,” he explains. “I think Henry is a bit of an outsider. He doesn’t really have that upper society type of regionalism. He’s got a Northern type of dialect. He’s an intellectual. He’s not working class so it’s more specific to that. I think it’s important to be specific. I think that helps people connect to you emotionally and as an actor and as a member of the audience."
While Maroulis is completely engaging as the good doctor, his transformation to the more primal Hyde allows the singer to display the rock chops and brooding sex appeal that inspired legions of female fans to ignite the Idol phone lines back in 2004.
“Hyde is a lot of fun-definitely grittier and more guttural and all that stuff and I get to dig in and all that, but for me it’s about the whole progression, the whole story, and I think it starts with Henry and his father and that whole relationship,” he says.
Maroulis is one of several former Idols who made their mark on Broadway, including Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, Clay Aiken, Jordin Sparks, Justin Guarini, Fantasia Barrino, Tamyra Gray, Taylor Hicks, Lakisha Jones, Frenchie Davis and Josh Strickland. With that much talent from the show appearing with their names up in lights, it begs the question: shouldn’t the Fox series do another Broadway-themed night and bring Maroulis back on the stage? While a Los Angeles appearance may be tough with the actor doing live theater in New York every night, there is a solution.
“We filmed this great package for Idol and I think it’s sort of a thing when and how it’s going to work into the show. Maybe it will air this week. They may or may not get to it. It’s already been in the can,” he said. “I think it’s great that Idol has had an influence on Broadway and I think it’s specific to each person. It’s not for everybody. For me, I grew up doing theater in New York. It was a very natural progression for me to build a brand and then come and do these shows here and do new and exciting projects."
One Idol he is excited to see is season nine runner-up Crystal Bowersox, who's set to begin rehearsals for Always... Patsy Cline in New York next month. Maroulis thinks that the role is a “great idea” for Bowersox, and is planning to check out a performance. “She’s super, super talented and I think that’s a great vehicle for her,” he says. “I look forward to seeing it!”
Even with his busy schedule, Maroulis says he's had a little time to check out season 12’s crop of new talent on his alama mater, and is particularly impressed with Angie Miller.
“I think that Angie is really interesting when she is at her piano and singing her moody Christian pop type songs that she digs into-she might be the best that’s ever been on the show at that point,” he said. “She’s the most ready to go at this point in the show doing that kind of stuff than anyone I’ve seen. It’s like she’s a real recording artist already. It’s exciting and I wish them all the best.”