BROADWAY: WHERE POPSTARS GO TO DIE.
...washed up has-beens who were able to leave their former careers quietly and still get paid to dance and sing on Broadway...
By Jessica Wei
Pop music: it's a risky business. Remember the late '90s? 13 year old preemie bimbos lining up at the MMVA's with “I HEART JUSTIN” scrawled on fluorescent pink Bristol boards; the loopy, heart-dotted I's and swirly E's? The sex scandal of the day came in the form of questions buzzing around about Britney's virginity, which only seemed to propel her career. On stage, a group of men – boys, really – clad in matching track pants and headsets, danced and harmonized in almost creepy unison, while the crowd that gathered in front of them chanted their names and pretended each song was uniquely directed at them. That was the life. And then the honeymoon, with the same fleeting swiftness with which it had arrived, ended, and all the sign-flailing 13 year olds turned into college students who would scoff at those giggly star-struck years of their youth. Those pop icons would invariably either continue to pander away at a dwindling public with rumours of going into space (Lance Bass), lead short-lived solo careers before settling down into reality TV (JC Chasez and Chris Kirkpatrick), or actually break out and become international pop sensations on their own (Justin Timberlake). And then there's the less reputation-destroying, more humbling option: Broadway. And that's where we last heard of Joey Fatone, who took to the stage as Mark Cohen in Rent.
There are a variety of reasons why pop-stars become Broadway actors. For one, dancing and singing? Kind of their deal. They've also (for the most part) become accustomed to working in a cast. They want recognition as artists but not under the ugly glow of the mainstream limelight. But in any case, Joey Fatone was not the first pop star to find solace on stage, and for good reason. Here's the Friday Five of washed up has-beens who were able to leave their former careers quietly and still get paid to dance and sing on Broadway: where pop-stars go to die. You can decide whether or not these were wise moves to make. (For the record, I'm leaning towards no).
- Kevin Richardson from the Backstreet Boys as Billy Flynn in Chicago. (YouTube, top of page)
- Drew Lachey from 98Degrees (and you thought you'd forgotten that trainwreck)
as Mark Cohen in Rent
as Mark Cohen in Rent
- Joey Fatone from *Nsync as Mark Cohen in Rent
- Joey McIntyre from New Kids On The Block as Flyero in Wicked
- Post-Nose Job Ashlee Simpson as Roxie Hart in Chicago (below)