An ‘American Idol’ on Broadway: Five roles that Clay Aiken should take on in a return to the stage

Clay Aiken as Sir Robin in "Spamalot."

Clay Aiken as Sir Robin in “Spamalot.”

On April 18, the season two runner-up of American Idol returned to the television show that put him on the map, belting out Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” while the country swooned and cried.  (Okay, maybe it was mostly just me.)

That’s right, Claymates: Clay Aiken has returned!

Since his American Idol days in 2003, Aiken has released six studio albums and has toured the country numerous times, selling out huge concert venues while skyrocketing to superstardom.  His hit singles include “Invisible” and “Measure of a Man,” and he is noted also for his powerful rendition of “Unchained Melody.”

Aiken also founded his own charity, the National Inclusion Project, which promotes the integration of children with disabilities and non-disabled children.  On the 2012 edition of The Celebrity Apprentice, the last television program Aiken had been seen on until his return to Idol, he fought to raise money for his charity and made it all the way to the final two, finishing in second place behind Arsenio Hall

One of Aiken’s biggest achievements was his Broadway debut. In 2008, he portrayed the role of Sir Robin in Spamalot, receiving high praise for his performance.  He was also recently named “Broadway’s Best Idol” in a poll conducted by broadway.com.

With Aiken’s undeniable stage presence, charming disposition, and many talents, it’s clear to many of us that he belongs on the Great White Way.  There could be a number of opportunities for him to make a return to the stage.  In fact, here are a few ideas I would suggest:

1. Thenardier in Les Miserables. He has the impeccable comedic timing and vocal range this role demands, so why not cast him in the 2014 revival?  Give him some fake teeth and a few bottles of wine and Aiken would be a great “Master of the House”!

2. The Baker in Into the Woods. Unlike Les Miserables, there’s no Broadway revival of this musical on the horizon.  However, there is a film adaptation planned for next year.  It would be lovely to hear his take on “It Takes Two”, and he could bring something light-hearted yet genuine to the role.

3. Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. The goofy and loveable florist would be a fantastic part for Aiken to play. It’s not too soon for a revival, and maybe another Idol alum could be enticed to play his Audrey! (I’m looking at you, Diana DeGarmo!)

4. Jimmy Winter in Nice Work If You Can Get It. Aiken would be phenomenal as the wealthy and absurdly funny 1920s playboy. With the swinging Gershwin score and snappy Kathleen Marshall choreography, audiences would be in for a treat if Aiken were to take on this role.

5. Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Remember the seventh season of American Idol which included an Andrew Lloyd Webber-themed night?  Unfortunately, Aiken was not a part of that season, so we missed out on the possibility of his singing “Close Every Door”, but if he played this role, there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house during that number, and we all know that “dazzling coat of many colors” would be a perfect fit!

Clay simply can’t come back to Broadway soon enough. What do you think?  What roles would you like to see the former American Idol contestant take on?  Let me know in the comments!

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14 Responses

  1. For years I have commented that the perfect role for Clay would be starring in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I am sorry that wonderful play has had a recent revival, but the best shows do keep coming back. Perhaps it could be revived in a National tour.

    The suggestions you made would be great as well. I wish you had heard his performance of This is The Moment. Glorious. He sang it first as a senior in high school and again a couple of years ago in the Bringing Broadway Home show in Raleigh. Interestingly, the first performance of that song, and its more recent performance were on the same stage in Raleigh – as was his recent triumph in The Drowsy Chaperone.

  2. Clay was wonderful in THe Drowsy Chaperone and in SPamalot, would love to see him on Broadway again. But not only can the man act, he can sing any genre of music. And he’s an amazing entertainer in concert, a talent not to be missed.

  3. Thanks for this, Rachel! Great article and great ideas!
    I think Clay can do any of these, and any thing he puts his mind to. As Sami says above, his Jukebox Tour was simply amazing, he channeled them all, and more, to perfection — yet it was definitely That Voice delivering!!
    So, because he just sounds soooo good live, I might be disappointed if he didn’t get to plenty of singing…
    And yet — at the NCT in Raleigh, he just starred as Man in Chair in the Drowsy Chaperone, an every-scene part requiring comedy, drama, and pathos “at the turn of a head” — his co-star was the gal who won a Tony for it on Broadway, as did the director, and the play itself — and he earned rave reviews!! Even by professional theater critics, one of whom said that this rendition of DC was: “the best… in the NCT… in 30 years”!!!
    High praise indeed — and well deserved; but some who didn’t know much about him beyond media snark were surprised. Ha.

  4. Clay would be wonderful in anything you put in front of him due to the fact that he always gives his all for anything he does. Any one of the plays you mentioned he would be great in. He is a beautiful singer, great actor, and funny, funny, funny! He is also quite wonderful to look at!!! Hope Broadway sees how smart they would be to have Clay on their stage.

  5. I think an excellent character for Clay would be Felix in the Odd Couple.

  6. Great suggestions. I can totally see. Clay as the baker and Thernedier! I’d love to see Clay on Broadway again.

  7. I think Broadway would be crazy not to have Clay Aiken in one of their productions. He has a natural acting ability and he can sing like out of the park good. His performance in “The Drowsy Chaperone” was flawless.

  8. I would love to see Clay on another Broadway show, he would be great, especially if it’s a bit of comedy and singing!

  9. Thanks for the fun article about Clay Aiken. He is a great talent and his singing and acting skills are outstanding.

    I would love to see Clay star in a new show and make the role his own. However, whatever he chooses to pick as his next role, I will be there to see it!

    I was there last week to see him as Man in the Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone. He was amazing.

  10. Clay was amazing as man in chair in the Drowsy Chaperone. I like your suggestions of some of the plays he would be good in. The one I like the best is Jimmy Winter in Nice Work If You Can Get It. With his reputation with the ladies he would shine as the wealthy 20′ s playboy. What a treat that would be.

  11. What great suggestions! Clay is a very good actor and as you pointed out has great stage presence plus he has a sweet vulnerability not to mention he is very good looking. He deserves to be in starring roles on Broadway.You could have heard a pin drop when he was doing his sad speech at the end of Drowsy Chaperone, a sure sign that he had the audience enthralled.

  12. I remember Simon Cowel saying Clay should do Broadway. PERFECT place for him and his voice. He never fit with pop music.

    • Obviously, you never saw his Jukebox Tour in which he performed literally hundreds of pop songs covering 6 decades of hits. You haven’t lived till you’ve seen him go from his own unique “impersonations” of Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis & the Beatles all the way to Prince & the Goo-Goo Dolls.

  13. Clay just completed a very successful short run as the man in the chair in “The Drowsy Chaperone” for Raleigh’s North Carolina Theater. He was fantastic. There’s no doubt that he belongs back on Broadway SOON!!

    I’m not sure about your first suggestion of Thernardier but I’d love to see him in any of the other roles you listed. To be honest I’d be surprised if Clay would be willing to take on the Joseph role since it requires him wearing considerably less clothes on stage than I suspect he’d be comfortable with.