Taylor Hicks to join 'Grease' on Broadway

Will play Teen Angel beginning June 6

Taylor Hicks is going from "Idol" to "Angel." The "American Idol" alum will join the Broadway cast of "Grease" on June 6, playing Teen Angel in the revival of the popular musical.

The gray-haired singer -- whose "Idol" fan base was called "The Soul Patrol" -- said he plans to add "soulful flavor" to his performance of "Beauty School Dropout." The flashy role, he said, is "a classic fit for a classic performer."

"It's a big number, and, you know, I've made some pretty grand entrances before," Hicks said. "And this one is probably the grandest entrance I've had in my career."

Well, besides "Idol." Hicks, 31, took home the title in the fifth season of the top-rated Fox show -- the biggest stage on television.

He later lost his record deal with J Records and had been looking for the perfect part to make his debut on The Great White Way.

"If you're gonna be a great entertainer and you're gonna be a great performer, than these are the things that you have to do to season yourself in that manner," said Hicks, who views this "opportunity of a lifetime" as a way to improve his "Idol"-tested skills.

The Alabama-born crooner's run ends Sept. 7. He'll be the latest "Idol" to hit Broadway, following runs by season-three winner Fantasia Barrino ("The Color Purple") and a host of also-rans including Clay Aiken ("Spamalot"), Diana DeGarmo ("Hairspray") and Constantine Maroulis ("The Wedding Singer").

Hicks' self-titled, post-"Idol" album, released in December 2006, has sold a respectable 702,000 copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan data. But it didn't reach the 1 million mark or register a hit song, unlike previous "Idol" winners.

This summer, Hicks intends to finish up a follow-up album -- on his own terms.

"I've had the creative freedom and the time to write some of the best music that I've ever written in my whole life. ... The options are unlimited and there has been some great interest now that I'm a free agent, so to speak," he said.