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An open letter to Clay Aiken

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Clay_lDear Clay Aiken,

Whilemost of us knew that you would one day land a gig on the Great WhiteWay, I personally didn’t expect you to make your debut in Spamalot(beginning January 2008). Why, Clay, why? Although I may understand thatthis might be an exciting opportunity for you, I see this as a questionablecareer choice. I’m not sure how the audience that attendsSpamalot will respond to you as the Sir Robin, the knight who is”not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Lancelot.” Sure, it’s Broadway, but somehow American Idol and Monty Python (even watered-down Python) don’t seem to mix.

Theonly conclusions I can draw are that: (1) you are perhaps afraid ofstraining your voice in a more vocally demanding show, (2) you are eager to prove your acting/comedic chops, or worst of all, (3) that theproducers simply named the right price. Whatever the reason, I can namea dozen roles better for you than Sir Robin. How about Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors, J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business, or the title characters from either Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or Pippin? These are roles, of varying degrees of difficulty, that would allow you to sing your heart out as a lead, and proveyourself as an actor/comedian. However, if you wanted to start small inan ensemble cast, you could have at least picked a role with more thanone solo piece. People are going to want to hear you sing, it’s whythey voted for you on American Idol and bought your albums andtickets to your concerts. Your voice, which Simon Cowell repeatedlycriticized for being “too Broadway” is your asset for musical theater: Use it! Don’t waste it on a role where you will mostly be prancingaround until your song (which doesn’t require much in the way of vocal ability, anyway).

In closing, all I cansay is that I wish you good luck with your new job. I hope that thisrole won’t be your last on Broadway, and will only lead to better turnson Broadway in shows more suited to your abilities.


Joy Piedmont