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Former 'American Idol' contestants making their mark on Broadway

UPI News Service, 05/16/2006 

Castoff contestants from Fox TV's "American Idol" talent competition are becoming golden cast members for Broadway's musicals.

An "Idol" runner-up in 2004, Diana DeGarmo, 19, turned into one of Broadway's top marquee draws when she made her Broadway debut in a supporting role in "Hairspray," The Los Angeles Times said.

"Hairspray" producer Margo Lion said "American Idol" contestants have helped Broadway up its "hip factor" and attract a younger generation of theatergoers.

Disney's "Tarzan" has 2003 "Idol" semifinalist Josh Strickland in the title role while Frenchie Davis, who was kicked off the TV show because she once worked for adult Web site, has found success in "Rent."

Tamyra Gray, who appeared on "Idol's" first season, was in the 2004 musical "Bombay Dreams," the Times noted.

"'American Idol' has absolutely become a big deal here in terms of finding new talent," New York casting director Bernard Telsey said.

Telsey, who is responsible for the Broadway stints of DeGarmo, Strickland and Davis, called "American Idol" a "televised open call."

Other "Idol" contestants making their mark in the entertainment field include 2004 finalist Amy Adams, who is touring in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and 2005 contestant Jennifer Hudson, who landed a role in the big screen production of the Broadway hit, "Dreamgirls."

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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