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A couple in real life, husband-and-wife Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo are portraying biblical lovers Samson and Delilah on a new concept album designed as a prelude to a stage musical that has been 30 years in the making.
Former William Morris agent Ron Yatter conceived the idea of writing a musical based on the story of Samson and Delilah and has been working on the project for three decades. His idea took a huge leap forward when he found the right couple to portray the historic pair. He knew he had discovered his protagonists when he heard DeGarmo and Young’s duet, “Us Against the World.”
“Ron found us through the Internet,” DeGarmo tells The Hollywood Reporter. “He found one of our fan sites and emailed us. He loved our personal story, that we were married and in love. His email went to my mother, and she told me she thought this guy was serious. We emailed back and forth and then he sent us some rough demos.”
“We originally said it wasn’t our vibe,” adds Young, with Degarmo adding, “It was very traditional, not how we sound.” Yatter told them the tracks were a work in progress, and he wanted more of a rock vibe. The couple was then much more interested.
Yatter traveled to Los Angeles to meet Young and DeGarmo in person and after one day of rehearsal, took them into a studio to record his songs. “Ron has two grown children, and this project is like his third child,” says DeGarmo.
“He is very emotionally connected to it,” adds Young. “When we were recording, we invited him into the booth. He wasn’t hearing the music, just our voices, and he teared up seeing his project come to life. It was a brilliant moment for him.”
Yatter and his wife were in the audience at 54 Below in New York to hear the Youngs perform the score to Samson & Delilah for a two-night run at the end of January. The audience was made up of friends and family of Yatter and the Idol couple, as well as fans and people who had read about the event on Broadway-related websites.
While advance copies of the Samson & Delilah album featuring all of DeGarmo and Young’s songs were available for sale at the 54 Below performances, the official release date is Valentine’s Day.
DeGarmo and Young await the next step in Yatter’s project, but their calendar is full for the months ahead. “This is a very biblical time in our lives,” says DeGarmo, who will be playing the narrator to Young’s Joseph in a national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The run begins Mar. 4 at the Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio.
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