Jamison Theater May 10–27
by Logan Treadaway
“I seriously feel like this role was written for me. Always classy, but loads of sass.”
When Studio Tenn’s production of the classic musical Grease hits the stage this May 10–27 in the Jamison Theater at the Factory at Franklin, three of American Idol’s most beloved alumni will be joining the cast for a one-of-a-kind production that will leave audiences in awe.
Diana DeGarmo (American Idol, Season 3) and Ace Young (American Idol, Season 5), who are portraying Rydell High’s most popular couple, Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski, will be joined by Melinda Doolittle (American Idol, Season 6) who takes the stage as the illustrious Teen Angel. The three are perhaps best known for their appearances on the reality television sensation, where DeGarmo, Young, and Doolittle found themselves as finalists in their respective seasons.
“Grease has always been one of my favorite musicals, and this cast is amazing,” Doolittle said. “The fact that I get a front row (well, backstage) seat to this brilliance every night is blowing my mind.”
Following their time on Idol, DeGarmo and Young went on to marry in June 2013 after a live, on-stage engagement during Season 11 of the hit TV show. Together, they have conquered the world of Broadway by co-starring in both Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Hair, where they initially met. Doolittle continued her pursuit of music with her debut album Coming Back to You, garnering rave reviews from critics across the country, including The New York Times.
“I am thrilled to once again be working with Matt Logan and his team of creative experts, alongside my fabulously talented American Idol, Nashville, and New York friends and family,” DeGarmo said. Soon after her time on Idol, she released “Dreams,” her first hit single, which topped the charts across the U.S. and Canada. Her most recent EP, Gemini Vol. 1, hit iTunes in September 2017 to critical acclaim.
Recording music is just the tip of the iceberg for DeGarmo’s post-Idol accomplishments. She later went on to star in Broadway blockbusters such as Hairspray and the world tour of Jekyll & Hyde, as well as multiple national tours such as Brooklyn: The Musical and 9 to 5, to name a few. Additionally, she has had numerous film and television appearances, including The Young and the Restless, where she portrayed Angelina Veneziano, the daughter of the daytime television show’s resident mobster.
A perfect pick for the role of Sandy Dumbrowski, DeGarmo has had long-time dreams of starring as the iconic Sandra Dee and mentioned how lucky she feels to be cast in the role. “My childhood self cannot believe that I finally get to live out my Sandra Dee/Grease dream with my Studio Tenn family and friends,” she said. “My life is always full of such great surprises; I am one lucky girl.”
DeGarmo’s on-stage love interest and real-life husband, Ace Young, makes his first appearance in a Studio Tenn production as Danny Zuko, though he is no stranger to the role. In September 2008, Young made his Broadway debut as Kenickie in the Grease revival. He played the role until the show closed in January 2009 and later joined the national tour, this time playing Danny Zuko.
“I couldn’t be more ecstatic about working alongside my beautiful, talented wife again,” Young said. “Not to mention my excitement to be taking the stage in this all-American classic with the ever-so-talented performers that not only live right here in our hometown, but across the country.” Following his stint on Idol, Young found success as a musician, working alongside Season 5 co-star Chris Daughtry to write the chorus for Daughtry’s hit song “It’s Not Over,” which was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards.
Melinda Doolittle, the Season 6 sweetheart of American Idol who quickly won over the hearts of all with her stunning powerhouse vocals and personal charm, has recently joined the all-star Grease cast as the dreamy Teen Angel. “I seriously feel like this role was written for me. Always classy, but loads of sass. I can’t wait to get on stage every night and play with ‘Beauty School Dropout’,” Doolittle said as she commented on her take of the role and its prime fit for her performance style. Since her success on Idol, Doolittle has given fans yet another opportunity to hear her impeccable vocals while revealing a bit more of her personality.
In 2013, she released her sophomore album You’re the Reason while becoming a prominent television personality—by starring as the well-loved co-host of TV Line’s Reality Check—and an accomplished author by penning her book Beyond Me: Finding Your Way to Life’s Next Level. Today, Doolittle continues to thrill audiences everywhere, from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to the White House, and is currently headlining her own soulful show Great American Soul Book.
For a production immersed in bright lights, big colors, and a stunning trio of American Idol superstars sure to rock the jukebox, join Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, and Melinda Doolittle as, with this Studio Tenn musical masterpiece, they take audiences back in time to where Grease is always the word!
Grease takes the stage at the Jamison Theater in the Factory at Franklin May 10–27, with performances Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. performances on Saturday and Sunday. For tickets, visit www.studiotenn.com.