Adam Lambert in Wicked

Although Adam Lambert is best known for American Idol, previously he was involved with Wicked as well as a musical version of The Ten Commandments.

What a lot of people don’t know is that the 27 year old, who was one of the American Idol finalists, had a professional background in musical theater long before singing in front of Paula, Simon, and the rest of the American Idol judges.

Lambert performed in two different productions of Wicked, the massive musical prequel of The Wizard of Oz. In March 2005 he joined the touring company and stayed with them for six months. In February 2007 he joined the Los Angeles production and stayed until October 2008. In both productions Lambert was an ensemble member and was also an understudy for Fieryo, the love interest in Wicked.

Bernard Telsey, who helped to cast Wicked and remembers auditioning Lambert for the musical, noted that Adam had an amazing voice and was a real theater guy. He stated that Lambert’s voice was more like an instrument due to his incredible range.

Telsey, who has cast Hairspray, Rent, and South Pacific, among other Broadway musicals, says he remembers Lambert as a guy with the highest range. He noted that he was always on the look out for ensemble cast members with vocal power and great vocal range. He said ensembles only have a small number of voices so having that kind of sound is important. It makes the show seem like it has more people in it. Telsey noted at that time that Lambert didn’t have the Bowie-esque look. He said he looked more like a regular kid than a rock star with long hair and wearing a t-shirt and jeans and his big voice.

Lisa Leguillou, associate director for Wicked, remembers Lambert for his fearlessness. She had the responsibility of keeping the musical true to the original vision of director Joe Mantello. She said she had sensed that Lambert knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish.

Leguillou talked about how Adam had spoke to her a lot about his music and what his plans were for the future. She said he was clear about wanting to do his own thing and that was rock. Now he is doing just that. She noted that what is shocking is how completely effortless his singing is and that you never have to worry whenever he’s on the stage.

In 2004 Lambert was part of the pop-rock opera version of The Ten Commandments which starred Val Kilmer as Moses. The show had a short run in Los Angeles at the Kodak Theatre. The show did not receive good reviews, and in fact was panned by the New York Times who referred to the show as bland and overproduced. However Lambert, who played the slave Joshua, received favorable attention by both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. The reviewer from the New York Times referred to Lambert as the opera’s “most consistent crowd wower.” For those who would like a glimpse of Lambert before his Idol days, “Is Anybody Listening,” his song from the show, is on YouTube and can also be purchased on DVD.

By Julie Harmon On March 25, 2009

All photos made available via creative commons licensing courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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