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October through December 2018

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Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken Ring in the Holidays on Broadway

Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken Ring in the Holidays on Broadway

Oct. 18, 2018  

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken join forces for a monumental, one-of-a-kind Holiday spectacular Broadway show. Meghan McCain took to "The View" today to make the exclusive announcement of the limited run show which had the audience and viewers thrilled and feeling the holiday spirit!

A family affair, the spectacular will see Ruben and Clay journey through a fusion of holiday music and entertainment featuring lighthearted comedy, astounding versatility and, as always, Ruben and Clay's magnetic stage presence. "American Idol's" fan favorite odd couple will give fans the reunion they have been asking for when the duo takes to the stage for this limited engagement holiday event.

The extravaganza marks the first time Ruben and Clay have performed together on a national stage since their dramatic finale in 2003. In true holiday spirit, the duo also aims to give back with tickets benefiting the National Inclusion Project, the leading voice for the inclusion of children with disabilities. Featuring everyone's favorite Christmas songs, performed by two of America's most beloved music icons, sprinkled with hilarious scenes and sketches and a live band, there is something for the entire family.

Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show (aka "Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show") is produced by Jeffrey Chrzczon, Side Effects Include, and Josh Pultz/Amplified Entertainment. The show begins performances on Broadway Friday, December 7th, with Opening Night set for December 11th, at the prestigious Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street) and continues its limited engagement through December 30, 2018. Tickets are now available online at Telecharge.com and by phone at 212-239-6200.

For more information, please visit rubenandclay.com.

Of the reunion, Ruben exclaims "Christmas is about family, friends and fun. Clay and I can't wait to bring all those things together on Broadway this December!" Clay adds, "There are really only two things that could get me back in stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas! It's been 15 years since he beat me on Idol, and it's taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds. But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway."

Ruben Studdard, the second "American Idol" winner, won the contest over runner-up Clay by only 134,000 votes out of the 24 million cast in the 2003 finale. In addition to numerous Grammy, American Music, BET and Soul Train Award nominations, he has won three Billboard Music Awards, the Image Award for Outstanding New Artist, and a Teen Choice Award. As an actor, he has appeared on TV in "8 Simple Rules," "Life on a Stick," "All of Us," and "Eve," as well as in the film Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Studdard headlined the revival tour of Ain't Misbehavin' and was part of the Grammy Award-nominated cast recording. His latest tour and recording, "Ruben Sings Luther," a tribute to Luther Vandross, adds his own passion on top of Luther's brilliant songs. "It was a thrilling experience selecting the songs from his different albums and putting my own interpretation on them. My heart and soul is in every note I sing as I honor one of the greatest vocalists we've ever had."

Clay Aiken's first single made him the first artist in history to have his first release debut at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. He's won the American Music Award and Billboard Music Award; his memoir Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life was a New York Times Best Seller; and his run on Broadway in Monty Python's Spamalot was a critical and box office success. In 2003 he started the charitable foundation National Inclusion Project, which is recognized nationwide as the leading voice in the social inclusion of children with disabilities. He served for nine years as UNICEF Ambassador for education and child protection and has worked closely with organizations to curb discrimination against LGBT youth. His 2014 campaign for Congress in North Carolina served to bring attention to policy issues important to him as well as shine a national spotlight on the deleterious effects of money in the political system and the indifference of elected officials to the needs of the underserved.

National Inclusion Project (NIP) operates on three simple core beliefs: Every child can participate, every child can make a friend, and every child can succeed. NIP is the product of a special friendship between a college student, a mother, and her 13-year-old son: Clay Aiken was pursuing a degree in special education from UNC-Charlotte when he met Mike. Mike was 13 years old and had been diagnosed with autism. As part of his education, Clay was working with a variety of people with disabilities; but he and Mike quickly developed a unique bond. The friendship soon extended to include Mike's mother, Diane Bubel, as well. Clay and Diane soon discovered they shared more than just a connection to Mike; they shared a vision. Clay and Diane had often witnessed children with disabilities being turned away or excluded from activities and programs open to other children. They believed that as a society we could do better. They believed that every program and organization could include all children-and everyone would benefit from that. Clay and Diane made it their mission to bring this to fruition. In July 2003, the National Inclusion Project was born. With their three core beliefs in mind, NIP made it its mission to see that children with and without disabilities can laugh, learn, and play together! Working with community organizations and recreational programs, NIP provides the training, tools, and support they need so that children with disabilities can participate in all of their activities and programs. NIP has established itself as one of the leading voices for the inclusion of children with disabilities by partnering with some of the country's largest youth organizations and most prestigious educational institutions. NIP has developed cutting-edge inclusion models, trained hundreds of industry leaders, and facilitated inclusive opportunities for thousands of children across the nation. For more information or to learn how you can help, visit inclusionproject.org

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broadway.com

American Idol Alums Clay Aiken & Ruben Studdard Will Team Up on Broadway in New Holiday Show

Quote
American Idol Alums Clay Aiken & Ruben Studdard Will Team Up on Broadway in New Holiday Show
90529-9.jpg
by Andy Lefkowitz • Oct 18, 2018
 
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Clay Aiken & Ruben Studdard
(Photo: Mark Hill)

The holiday season just got happier! Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, the power-voiced stars who competed on season two of American Idol, will take to the Broadway stage this winter for Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show (aka Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show). Previews will begin on December 7 in advance of an opening night set for December 11 at the Imperial Theatre. The new show will mark the first time Aiken and Studdard will perform together on a national stage since their dramatic 2003 American Idol finale, in which Studdard emerged as the winner with Aiken as runner-up. Tickets are now on sale.

Aiken told Broadway.com in an exclusive statement, "When Ruben and I first started talking about doing a project together, Christmas was a natural fit. It's been fifteen years since we met on American Idol, and coming back together again, to celebrate the holidays, feels like the best and biggest gift we could both ask Santa for this year!"

"Christmas is about family, friends and fun," said Studdard. "Clay and I can't wait to bring all those things together on Broadway this December!"

Aiken returns to the Great White Way after a prior engagement as Sir Robin in the Tony-winning musical Spamalot. Studdard's theatrical credits include a national touring production of Ain't Misbehavin'; this new holiday show will mark his Broadway debut.

Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show will see the pair journeying through a fusion of holiday music and entertainment featuring lighthearted comedy and great talent. The production will play a three-week limited engagement through December 30.

Watch Aiken and Studdard gear up for their Broadway gig below.



And look back at the duo performing on the season-two finale of American Idol.

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theatermania.com

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken Coming to Broadway in Christmas Concert

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken Coming to Broadway in Christmas Concert

The American Idol stars will reunite onstage for the first time since 2003.

Author
 
Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard are coming to Broadway.
Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard are coming to Broadway.
(© Mark Hill)

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken will reunite for the new Broadway Christmas concert, Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show (or, Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show).

The American Idols will play the Imperial Theatre December 7-30, with opening night set for December 11. Jeffrey Chrzczon, Side Effects Include, and Josh Pultz/Amplified Entertainment serve as producers.

Studdard and Aiken will reunite onstage for the first time since the second season American Idol finale in 2003, which named Studdard winner and Aiken runner-up. Tickets will benefit the National Inclusion Project, the leading voice for the inclusion of children with disabilities. The concert will feature Christmas songs, hilarious scenes and sketches, and a live band.

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deadline.com

‘American Idol’ Rivals Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken To Reunite For Broadway Holiday Show

‘American Idol’ Rivals Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken To Reunite For Broadway Holiday Show

by Greg Evans
 
 
 
ruben__clays_christmas-0296_r_v1.jpg?w=4

American Idol rivals Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken will reunite on Broadway for a limited engagement holiday show of Christmas songs and comedy sketches. Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show begins performances Friday, Dec. 7, at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre, with an official opening set for Dec. 11 and a closing night on Dec. 30.t

The show – full title: Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show – was announced today on ABC’s The View. The production will mark the first reunion of Studdard and Aiken on a national stage since their Idol finale in 2003. (Studdard won).

Portions of the show’s proceeds will go to the National Inclusion Project, an organization devoted to the inclusion of children with disabilities in community and education programs. The show is produced by Jeffrey Chrzczon, Side Effects Include, and Josh Pultz/Amplified Entertainment.

“Christmas is about family, friends and fun,” Studdard said. “Clay and I can’t wait to bring all those things together on Broadway this December!”

Said Aiken, “There are really only two things that could get me back in stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas! It’s been 15 years since he beat me on Idol, and it’s taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds. But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway.”

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playbill.com

American Idol’s Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard Will Play Broadway Holiday Engagement

American Idol’s Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard Will Play Broadway Holiday Engagement
OCT 18, 2018

The three-week limited engagement will play the Imperial Theatre beginning December 7.

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard

American Idol’s Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard are heading to Broadway this holiday season for a three-week limited engagement at the Imperial Theatre. Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show reunites the duo who made their debuts on the second season of American Idol—Studdard won the season, with Broadway alum Aiken as runner-up.

Performances begin December 7 with an opening night set for December 11. Performances continue through December 30.

The family-friendly variety show will include traditional Christmas favorites in addition to scenes and sketches featuring the two entertainers. Tickets, now on sale, will benefit the National Inclusion Project, a non-profit advocacy group for children with disabilities.

Aiken made his Broadway debut in 2008 in the Tony-winning musical Spamalot; the concert marks Studdard’s Broadway debut. Jeffrey Chrzczon, Side Effects Include, and Josh Pultz/Amplified Entertainment produce.

For tickets and more information, visit RubenandClay.com.

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ew.com

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard set for American Idol holiday reunion on Broadway

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard set for

 American Idol holiday reunion on Broadway
October 18, 2018 at 01:53 PM EDT

Former American Idol contestants Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard will reunite for a special Broadway showcase just in time for the holidays.

The performers will join forces to present the First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show. The show marks the first time to two have shared the stage since going head-to-head on the reality competition show in 2003. The family-friendly event will feature classic Christmas tunes and comedic sketches.

“Christmas is about family, friends and fun,” Reuben said in a statement. “Clay and I can’t wait to bring all those things together on Broadway this December!”

Clay also expressed his excitement, sharing, “There are really only two things that could get me back on stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas! It’s been 15 years since he beat me on Idol, and it’s taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds. But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway.”

 
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Mark Hill

The production is for a good cause, with proceeds from ticket sales going to the National Inclusion Project, an organization devoted to improving the quality of life for children with disabilities.

The stars appeared on the second season of Idol, where Studdard beat out the runner-up, Aiken, for the crown.

Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show will begin previews at the Imperial Theatre on Dec. 7, followed by opening night on Dec. 11. The engagement will run through Dec. 30.

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imperialtheatre.tickets

COMING SOON: RUBEN AND CLAY'S CHRISTMAS SHOW

COMING SOON

RUBEN AND CLAY'S CHRISTMAS SHOW

 

Ruben and Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Showcomes to Broadway’s Imperial Theater for three weeks only!

For the first time together - Live on Stage - in nearly a decade, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are uniting once again this Christmas to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of their record-setting American Idol finale!

With an evening of songs and sketches that harkens back to the Christmas comedy specials of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, Ruben and Clay croon, quip, and create a magical setting that’s perfect for those yuletide yearnings. Enjoy an evening of holiday classics as they unwrap some of their old time favorites, some new found gems, and even a few old grudges. Come join in on the fun, the festivities, and the fantastic performances of two of America’s favorite singers who are reuniting for three weeks only!

That’s twelve days of Christmas…. plus NINE additional days!

This Christmas, forget the miracle on 34th Street, the true miracle is on Broadway: Celebrate with Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken as they bring you a spectacular unlike anything you’ve ever seen (within a five block radius and not including Radio City Music Hall.)

Through all of the theatrics, music, and laughter, Ruben and Clay ultimately prove that once again the true meaning of Christmas…

“Can’t be shipped from a store, because Christmas, they believe, means a little bit more.”

Only said slightly differently so that they aren’t sued by the Suess estate.

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nytimes.com

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard Reunite in a Broadway Holiday Show

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Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard Reunite in a Broadway Holiday Show

Clay Aiken, left, and Ruben Studdard, former rival “American Idol” contestants, performing together in 2003. They’ll be back in December with a Broadway holiday show.CreditCreditFrank Micelotta/Getty Images

By Danya Issawi

The limited-engagement event, which fuses comedy and holiday music, will be Mr. Aiken’s second Broadway show. His debut was in 2008 in “Spamalot”; this will be Mr. Studdard’s first time on Broadway.

The two, both vocalists, faced off in the “American Idol” season finale on Fox in 2003. Mr. Studdard won and Mr. Aiken was runner-up. They have been friends since then, they say.

“We’re polar opposites when it comes to almost everything, and I think that works really well for us, not only onstage but offstage,” Mr. Aiken said. He said that on “American Idol” they “went through a very different sort of experience than everyone else did, and I think that’s why we became such good friends.”

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newsday.com

'Idol' stars Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken reunite for Broadway Christmas show

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'Idol' stars Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken reunite for Broadway Christmas show

"American Idol" stars Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken

"American Idol" stars Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are together again. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

By Frank Lovece
Special to Newsday

Friendly "American Idol" rivals Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken will take the stage together in "Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show" aka "Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show."

The Shubert Organization announced Thursday, that Studdard, 40, and Aiken, 39 -- who finished first and second, respectively, on the singing competition in 2003 before launching their successful music careers -- begin previews at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on Dec. 7, with opening night on Dec. 11.

The limited-run holiday revue ends Dec. 30. A portion of ticket sales will benefit Aiken's charitable National Inclusion Project, for children with disabilities. Said Aiken in a statement, "There are really only two things that could get me back on stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy Ruben and Christmas!"

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abcnewsradio.com

Together again: Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken teaming for Broadway Christmas production

Together again: Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken teaming for Broadway Christmas production 

 

M_RubenandClayChristmas_101818.jpg?__SQU

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, the winner and runner-up, respectively, of American Idol season two, are joining forces this holiday season.

The two singers will star in Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show -- or just Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show, if that first one is too much of a mouthful -- on Broadway this holiday season.  Performances start December 7 at New York's Imperial Theater, with the official opening coming December 11.  The final performance will be December 30.

The show will feature holiday music and lighthearted comedy sketches; ticket sales will benefit the National Inclusion Project, which works to help children with disabilities.  The format sounds similar to the joint tour the two did in 2010, which featured music and comedy.

In a statement, Clay says, "There are really only two things that could get me back in stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas!"

"It's been 15 years since he beat me on Idol, and it’s taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds," Clay jokes. "But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway.”

Ruben adds, "Christmas is about family, friends and fun. Clay and I can't wait to bring all those things together on Broadway this December!"

This is Clay's return to Broadway: In 2008, he appeared in the Broadway musical Monty Python's Spamalot.  Ruben starred in the 30th anniversary revival tour of Ain't Misbehavin' but hasn't been on Broadway before.

Tickets are now on sale via Telecharge.com or by calling 212-239-6200.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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usatoday.com

Former 'Idol' rivals Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard reunite for Broadway holiday show

Former 'Idol' rivals Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard reunite for Broadway holiday show

Susan Haas, USA TODAYPublished 9:21 p.m. ET Oct. 18, 2018
 
 
 

Santa has something special in store for early-"American Idol" fans.

Season 2 rivals Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are heading to Broadway this holiday season for "Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show," they announced Thursday on "The View." 

Since that's a lot to say when you already have a mouthful of Christmas cookie, you can just call it "Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show." 

The three-week, limited-engagement show, which includes holiday tunes and comedy sketches, unwraps at the Imperial Theatre in New York Dec. 11, with previews starting Dec. 7. It runs through Dec. 30. 

It's the first time the two will be onstage together since Studdard beat out Aiken for the top spot on "Idol" in 2003.

"When Ruben and I first started talking about doing a project together, Christmas was a natural fit," Aiken told Broadway.com. "It's been 15 years since we met on 'American Idol,' and coming back together again to celebrate the holidays feels like the best and biggest gift we could both ask Santa for this year!"

In keeping with the season's spirit of giving, part of the show’s proceeds will go to the National Inclusion Project, an organization Aiken helped found that is devoted to the inclusion of children with disabilities in community and education programs.

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ajc.com

‘American Idol’ notes: Ruben/Clay reunion, Carrie Underwood, Maddie Poppe

‘American Idol’ notes: Ruben/Clay reunion, Carrie Underwood, Maddie Poppe

5 hours ago
By Rodney Ho

If you missed Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, the odd couple from season two, they are joining forces again, this time on Broadway for Christmas songs and comedic sketches.

Man, I wish they were doing this on the road. This sounds like a hoot. It’s called “Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show.” (The winner getting first billing, ahem.)

It will run from December 11 to December 30 at the Imperial Theatre.  (Buy tickets here from $39.99 to $199.99.)

Reflecting the pair’s sense of humor, the actual full title of the show is “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show.” They made the announcement earlier this week on “The View” with Aiken’s buddy Meghan McCain

Portions of the show’s proceeds will go to the National Inclusion Project, an organization devoted to the inclusion of children with disabilities in community and education programs. (That’s an arena of interest for Aiken going back to his days as a special ed teacher.)

It’s nice to see Aiken get back into entertaining again after a relatively long hiatus. 

“There are really only two things that could get me back in stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas!” Aiken said. “t’s been 15 years since he beat me on Idol, and it’s taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds. But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway.”

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today.com

'American Idol' rivals Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard will reunite for Broadway show

'American Idol' rivals Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard will reunite for Broadway show

The fan favorites are teaming up to bring some magic to the holiday season.
by Gina Vivinetto /  / Source: TODAY
 
 

Get ready to deck the halls with former "American Idol" stars Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard. The one-time rivals are joining forces for a new holiday-themed Broadway show.

The singers, who went head-to-head 15 years ago as finalists on season two of "American Idol," will co-headline "Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show,"a three-week limited engagement holiday spectacular chock-full of traditional carols and family-friendly sketches.

"Christmas is about family, friends and fun,” Studdard, 40, said in a statement. "Clay and I can’t wait to bring all those things together on Broadway this December!"

 

"There are really only two things that could get me back in stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas!” Aiken, 39, added. "It’s been 15 years since he beat me on 'Idol,' and it’s taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds. But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway."

The show will be an exciting return to Broadway for Aiken, who appeared in the Tony-winning 2008 musical "Spamalot." It marks Studdard's Broadway debut.

It's also the first time the pair will share the stage since Studdard beat out Aiken for the "American Idol" title. The singers previously reunited in 2016 for a special duet on "The View."

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metro.us

Uh, what is Clay Aiken planning for Ruben Studdard on Broadway?

Quote
 

clay aiken ruben studdard broadway show holidays christmas 2018

Ruben Studdard knows something's up.

 

GETTY IMAGES

Is Clay Aiken planning something sinister against Ruben Studdard? That’s certainly the impression you get from the marketing campaign announcing their new Broadway holiday special. The former American Idol rivals are making up and taking up residence at the Imperial Theatre from Dec. 7-30 for a show that may or may not be an elaborate revenge plot for Ruben Studdard beating Clay Aiken in Season 2 of American Idol.  

Your first clue that something may be off is right in the title: Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show. Which totally doesn’t sound at all like the name of a fake event that a villain create knowing it would irresistible to his victim. 

Then there’s the first official sentence of the press release: Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken join forces for a monumental, one-of-a-kind holiday spectacular Broadway show. Okay, let’s pump the brakes there, nobody’s teaming up to fight dragons here. And if you’re actually looking to own the word monumental on Broadway this season, you’ve got an actual 20-foot ape named King Kong to get through first.

The show is described as a “family affair,” where the duo will mix beloved Christmas songs with “sprinkled with hilarious scenes and sketches.” There’s a live band, so presumably there will be someone close enough to act if the bloodlust flairs up in Clay Aiken’s eyes.

Press releases usually contain totally bland quotes from the stars, and Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show is no different. Not Clay Aiken: “There are really only two things that could get me back in stage after taking a break for over five years: my buddy, Ruben, and Christmas! It's been 15 years since he beat me on Idol, and it’s taken an entire decade and a half for me to lick my wounds. But the holidays are about togetherness, so now that he is older and I am wiser, I can think of no better way to celebrate 15 years of friendship than by spending this holiday season together on Broadway.”

There is so much to unpack here. Did he hold a 15-year grudge, or have they been friends? And if “now that he is older and I am wiser” doesn’t sound suspicious to you, then I don’t know what could.

Next up, as all family gatherings eventually arrive here: Airing of the grievances! This is the first line of the canned bio written for Ruben Studdard: “Ruben Studdard, the second American Idol winner, won the contest over runner-up Clay by only 134,000 votes out of the 24 million cast in the 2003 finale.” Fine, yes, that’s a small number — a little over 0.5% of the total, so within the margin for a recount if this were a real election — but it’s still a decisive victory.

Apparently, as Clay Aiken’s biography reminds us, becoming the first artist to have his first single debut at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart does not soothe the sting of defeat. He’s also written a best-selling memoir, had a Broadway run in Spamalot, become an ambassador for UNICEF and run for Congress in North Carolina. But nothing will quench that single moment that didn’t actually matter in the grand trajectory of his life anyway.

Included with the announcement is a “cute” behind-the-scenes video of a commercial they’re shooting for the special, including such “adorable antics” as Clay Aiken mock-strangling Ruben Studdard with a plaid scarf, Clay Aiken using a red top hat to block Ruben’s face and tying him up with twinkling lights, and ending not with the two of them announcing the special but just Clay Aiken by himself, declaring vaguely, “This Christmas at the Imperial Theater on Broadway.”

And then there’s the smoking gun at the bottom of the press release, this image confirming everything: 

clay aiken ruben studdard broadway show holidays christmas 2018

In conclusion, Clay Aiken is definitely up to something, and even Ruben Studdard suspects it. God help us, everyone.

See what actually happens when performances begin Friday, Dec. 7 at the Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St. Tickets are on sale now for $39-$129.

Editor's Note: No one at Metro New York actually believes Clay Aiken is out to get Ruben Studdard. But he might want to have a word with his marketing team if he doesn't want to give that impression.

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broadwayworld.com

FREEZE FRAME: Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken Preview Their FIRST ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SHOW!

FREEZE FRAME: Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken Preview Their FIRST ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SHOW!

by  Nov. 15, 2018  

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken join forces for a monumental, one-of-a-kind Holiday spectacular Broadway show. A family affair, the spectacular will see Ruben and Clay journey through a fusion of holiday music and entertainment featuring lighthearted comedy, astounding versatility and, as always, Ruben and Clay's magnetic stage presence. "American Idol's" fan favorite odd couple will give fans the reunion they have been asking for when the duo takes to the stage for this limited engagement holiday event.

The extravaganza marks the first time Ruben and Clay have performed together on a national stage since their dramatic finale in 2003. In true holiday spirit, the duo also aims to give back with tickets benefiting the National Inclusion Project, the leading voice for the inclusion of children with disabilities. Featuring everyone's favorite Christmas songs, performed by two of America's most beloved music icons, sprinkled with hilarious scenes and sketches and a live band, there is something for the entire family.

The duo met the press today and you can check out a photo sneak peek below!

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

 

 

FREEZE FRAME: Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken Preview Their FIRST ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SHOW!
Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard

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t2conline.com

Meet Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken Monday November 19th at 1pm at the Imperial Theatre Box Office

Meet Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken Monday November 19th at 1pm at the Imperial Theatre Box Office

78111c87-72ef-4646-83b7-a9eaed64b2a8.jpg
Ruben Studdard , Clay Aiken

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken

The Imperial Theatre Box Office (249 West 45th Street) will open Monday November 19that 1pm for Ruben Studdard and Clay Aikenin Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show (aka “Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show”), the monumental, one-of-a-kind Holiday spectacular Broadway show that will begin performances on Broadway Friday, December 7th, with Opening Night set for December 11th.  This limited engagement runs through December 30th only.

To celebrate the Box Office Opening, Ruben and Clay will be on hand from 1pm to 2pm, distributing special Christmas gifts including signed limited edition posters to the first 100 folks on line, a Collectors Edition Holiday Ornament to the first 250 people to arrive, and tasty treats courtesy of Nuchas Artisan Hand-Held Foods!  There will also be chances to win tickets for Opening Night, upgrades to VIP Packages, and more!

Audiences will see Ruben and Clay journey through a fusion of holiday music and entertainment featuring lighthearted comedy, astounding versatility and, as always, Ruben and Clay’s magnetic stage presence. “American Idol’s” fan favorite odd couple will give fans the reunion they have been asking for when the duo takes to the stage for this limited engagement holiday event. The extravaganza marks the first time Ruben and Clay have performed together on a national stage since their dramatic finale in 2003.

In true holiday spirit, the duo aims to give back with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the National Inclusion Project, one of the leading voices for the inclusion of children with disabilities.

Ruben and Clay are thrilled to reunite on Broadway 15 years after captivating audiences during their historic run on the second season of Fox’s “American Idol.”  Both plucked from the relative obscurity of their hometowns in the South, the unlikely pair quickly became audience favorites instrumental in helping propel “Idol” to the top of the Nielsen ratings, nearly tripling the viewership of the previous season, and securing it’s place as one of the most consequential TV series in American history. Over 38 million viewers tuned in to hear the results of more than 124 million votes cast during their finale making it the most watched “Idol” episode in history and the highest rated regularly scheduled, live, non-sporting television episode of the 21st century. Combined they have recorded twelve albums, sold more than eight million albums worldwide, toured the country 14 times, won four Billboard Music Awards, an American Music Award, and have been nominated for two Grammys.

Clay Aiken returns to Broadway ten years after his critically lauded debut in Monty Python’s Spamalot.  On the heels of Idol, he became the first artist in history to have his first single debut at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. His subsequent album, “Measure of A Man,” also debuted at #1 with the highest first week sales by a debut artist. His 2004 holiday release, “Merry Christmas with Love,” set a record for the fastest selling holiday album of the SoundScan era and remains tied for the highest charting debut of a holiday album in Billboard history. He served 9 years as a UNICEF Ambassador and in 2003, he co-founded, with Diane Bubel, what is now the National Inclusion Project to advocate and increase opportunities for children with disabilities to be included in extracurricular activities (such as summer camps and after-school programs) with their non-disabled peers. Additional TV appearances include: “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” “Days of Our Lives,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Additional 2nd place finishes include: “’The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2012 and the NC 2nd District US House race in 2014. Beyond all of his successes (and near successes) his proudest accomplishment remains his son, Parker.

Ruben Studdard makes his Broadway debut following his critically acclaimed album and national tour, Ruben Sings Luther – a musical celebration of Luther Vandross that Variety Magazine said “elicited tears and cheers” and “left you breathless.” His 2003 platinum-selling debut album, “Soulful,” debuted at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and garnered him his first Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. His follow-up album, “I Need an Angel,” became the fastest and biggest selling gospel album of 2004 and made him one of only two men in history to have a solo gospel album chart in the top 20 of Billboard‘s Hot 200. In addition to his extensive recording career, he has found success in television and on stage, including his performance as Fats Waller in the 2008 national tour of Ain’t Misbehavin’ which garnered Ruben his second Grammy nomination. This followed a national tour with Robin Givens in the comedy-drama, I Need a Hug. Additional screen credits include: 8 Simple Rules, Life On A Stick, Scooby Do 2: Monsters Unleashed, and NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” The 2003 Teen Choice Award winner for Choice TV Variety Star continues to live up to the name given to him by R&B legend Gladys Knight: America’s “Velvet Teddy Bear.”

National Inclusion Project (NIP)operates on three simple core beliefs: Every child can participate, every child can make a friend, and every child can succeed. NIP is the product of a special friendship between a college student, a mother, and her 13-year-old son: Clay Aiken was pursuing a degree in special education from UNC-Charlotte when he met Mike. Mike was 13 years old and had been diagnosed with autism. As part of his education, Clay was working with a variety of people with disabilities; but he and Mike quickly developed a unique bond. The friendship soon extended to include Mike’s mother, Diane Bubel, as well. Clay and Diane soon discovered they shared more than just a connection to Mike; they shared a vision. Clay and Diane had often witnessed children with disabilities being turned away or excluded from activities and programs open to other children.  They believed that as a society we could do better. They believed that every program and organization could include all children—and everyone would benefit from that. Clay and Diane made it their mission to bring this to fruition. In July 2003, the National Inclusion Project was born. With their three core beliefs in mind, NIP made it its mission to see that children with and without disabilities can laugh, learn, and play together! Working with community organizations and recreational programs, NIP provides the training, tools, and support they need so that children with disabilities can participate in all of their activities and programs. NIP has established itself as one of the leading voices for the inclusion of children with disabilities by partnering with some of the country’s largest youth organizations and most prestigious educational institutions.  NIP has developed cutting-edge inclusion models, trained hundreds of industry leaders, and facilitated inclusive opportunities for thousands of children across the nation. For more information or to learn how you can help, visit inclusionproject.org

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Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard Announce Cast for Broadway Christmas Concert

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard Announce Cast for Broadway Christmas Concert

The American Idols will play the Imperial Theatre.

Author
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Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard will star in a Christmas concert on Broadway.
Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard will star in a Christmas concert on Broadway.
(© David Gordon)

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken have announced the complete cast for their new Broadway Christmas concert, Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show (or, Ruben and Clay's Christmas Show).

Joining the American Idols at the Imperial Theatre December 7-30 will be Farah Alvin, Ken Arpino, Julian Diaz-Granados, La'Nette Wallace, and Khaila Wilcoxon. The creative team is set to include Ken Arpino and Jesse Joyce (writers), Jonathan Tessero (director), Lisa Shriver (musical staging), Ben Cohn (musical director), Rob Bissinger (scenic design), Paul Miller (lighting design), James Brown III (costume design), Bruce Landon Yauger (sound design), and Jason Lee Courson (projection design).

Studdard and Aiken reunite onstage for the first time since the second season American Idol finale in 2003, which named Studdard winner and Aiken runner-up. Tickets will benefit the National Inclusion Project, the leading voice for the inclusion of children with disabilities. The concert will feature Christmas songs, hilarious scenes and sketches, and a live band.

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Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are ready for Thanksgiving with a side of...mothballs?

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Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are ready for Thanksgiving with a side of...mothballs?

 

GETTY_ClayAikenRubenStuddard_112018.jpg?

Walter McBride/Getty Images

Season two American Idol winner Ruben Studdard and his runner-up, Clay Aiken, are teaming up for their first Broadway Christmas show. But before they hit the stage, the two Southern singers are spending Thanksgiving in New York City.

“I'm gonna make my apartment as homely as I possibly can,” Ruben says, joking, “I'm gonna ask my grandmother to send up some mothballs.”

Clay made sure to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family early, but he has his own mothball-related holiday story.

“My mom's got so many mothballs out in her garage now, so the stuff that she keeps in the freezer in the garage, when she cooks it, it literally tastes like mothballs,” he explains.

“We did Thanksgiving this weekend before I came to New York 'cause I won't be able to go back home, and she made some bread that came out the freezer and my nephew said, ‘This bread tastes like Mimi's garage!’” he laughs.

Mothball-flavored food aside, both Clay and Ruben agree that one of their favorite Thanksgiving foods is cranberry sauce in a can. “I can’t stand that homemade crap,” Clay says.

Ruben adds, “And I like cornbread dressing. I don't like stuffing.”

Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show begins performances on Broadway Friday, December 7 with opening night set for December 11.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

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What to Expect From American Idol Stars Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken on Broadway

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What to Expect From American Idol Stars Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken on Broadway

NOV 24, 2018
 

The duo talk about the inspiration for the Ruben & Clay Christmas Showplaying at the Imperial beginning December 7.

After spending the morning with Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, one thing is for certain: they are a dynamic duo. The two first met competing in Season 2 of Fox’s American Idol. Then a fledgling reality series, neither one could truly anticipate the human cannon they were being shot out of towards a life of fame and music. Studdard took home the trophy that year and Aiken crowned runner-up, but the two share a 15-year bond unlike other reality competitors, and they bring that charm to Broadway for a limited engagement run at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre with Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show.

After singing for the press, the two proved audiences will enjoy an evening of laughter and superb music.

You two seem to be very close even after all these years. 
Ruben Studdard: We didn't have any time apart from each other after American Idol. Clay and I did press, everything, together for a like months.
Clay Aiken: Everything.
RS: We didn't really get a chance to be apart.
CA: What was that? A chance? You didn't need it.
RS: Yeah I needed a chance to be away from you. [Laughs]
CA: I think Season 2 may stay in touch better than some of the other ones do because we just were sort of this interesting season where people still were very naïve about what the show was going to be about. And now sort of fell into this whole new world. We know where everybody is to some degree, but Ruben and I have stayed in touch ourselves probably more, I think, than anybody. Would you think that's true?
RS: I would say that's true.

Have you guys ever spent the holidays together?
CA: No I don't think we have. We spent fourth of July together.
RS: We did do that.
CA: We've done that, but not Thanksgiving or Christmas.

What are each of your favorite Christmas memories?
RS: I think seventh grade. I had really bad conduct grades, but I got a really great present: a dual cassette player-with-a-record combo of Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel album. Still remember that. That's one of my favorite Christmas memories.
CA: Bobby Brown what year was that?
RS: It was like ’89.
CA: Wait you weren't seventh grade in ’89?
RS: Yes I was.
CA: No you weren't.
RS: Sixth grade, seventh grade. Sixth or seventh grade. Yeah.
CA: Oh man, he's so much older than me I had no idea. I feel like this year’s gonna be my new favorite Christmas memory. I've done some Christmas tours in the past and I've always loved those. But I have a vivid memory as a child—probably not even too young, maybe 15 years old—of driving back home with the Christmas tree stuck in the car, but we couldn't close the windows because the tree was inside. We couldn't tie it to the roof without the rope being around the [tree], you know, we were rednecks. We had to drive all the way back, probably 20 miles home, in the freezing air with the windows wide open. We about all got hypothermia for that. That's probably my favorite Christmas memory. Almost dying.

Are we going to hear stories like this during your show? Is it just a full-on Christmas concert? What can people expect?
RS: Just to have a good time. I mean I think Christmas is about fun and family and the overall jovial spirit of the holiday.
CA: I like that word choice. Word of the day. Ding-ding! We will have some Christmas memories that we talk about, but we're trying to recreate these holiday variety shows that we grew up watching. Carol Burnett and I can't think of another right now. What was your favorite one Ruben?
RS: Hee Haw.
CA: Hee Haw, of course. Ruben's favorite one. So it's kind of that thing: some skits, some comedy, some bantering. We can banter.
RS: We sure can.
CA: I actually think people maybe somewhat surprised at how unique the show is. We're still both going to sing quite a bit, but I hope we make people laugh a little.
RS: I will make people laugh.
CA: Yeah I'm not very funny.
RS: People will cry when they see you. Your platinum hair.

Speaking of music and Christmas music, what is your favorite Christmas song to hear and what is your favorite Christmas song to sing?
RS: Favorite Christmas song to hear would probably be “This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway. Favorite Christmas song to sing… That's a hard one.
CA: I was actually going to be nice and say one of my favorite Christmas songs to hear is Ruben singing “This Christmas” because it's very “you” to me. It's almost your song to me now. Favorite Christmas song to sing you'll have to wait because I'm gonna do it and I don't want to give it away.

You've been on Broadway before, Clay. Ruben, I know that you toured with Ain't Misbehavin'. What are you most excited to get back to on Broadway? What are you excited to experience from theatre on a Broadway scale?
CA: I think for both of us there's something about [performing] live that's not replicable anywhere else. I've done some, we've both done film and TV stuff and I don't like doing it. We both like performing live and having that live audience. Broadway specifically for me even as we do press you can see that there's something very different about the Broadway community. People are very respectful of each other. There's not that overly competitive spirit. People are very supportive of each other and I like that about it. I'm kind of excited to be able to have that camaraderie again.
RS: I'm just looking forward to being here with Clay. Performing is performing—getting onstage and having a good time. I'm looking forward to the little like quirky things that'll probably happen that nobody else will catch that go on between him and I.

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Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken Talk Their Annual Christmas Show, Their Dream Broadway Revivals, and Returning to American Idol

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Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken Talk Their Annual Christmas Show, Their Dream Broadway Revivals, and Returning to American Idol

December 4th, 2018
by 

Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken Talk Their Annual Christmas S...

Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser

16 years ago come January,Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken shot to superstardom as the winner and runner-up of American Idol Season 2. Now the boys are back together on Broadway (a debut for Ruben!) this month with their hilarious (and incredibly sung) new holiday concert Ruben & Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, running December 7-30 at Broadway's Imperial Theatre.

 

BroadwayBox caught up with the dynamic duo to talk about Christmas traditions, the musical revival they almost co-starred in, and if they would do an Idol all-stars season.

1. What is a Christmas tradition that is important to your family?
Ruben: Honestly, it’s just spending time with family. Over the past couple of years, my family has been trying to go to the beach for holidays. It’s something different, and it took my grandmother awhile to get used to be—but she likes it now. All my cousins, all my aunts, everyone is there. I enjoy it immensely. 

Clay: For me, Christmas traditions always end up being a lot of stress and organization. Our family always makes it to this enormous 300-acre field (not too far down from Raleigh, NC) where these people put up a whole bunch of Christmas lights. It’s one family, and they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Christmas lights and displays. We always go down there, way out into the country to see the Christmas lights in Meadow, NC.

2. Which of you does a better job keeping in touch and making plans?
Clay: I’m going to let him answer because I dare him to answer this wrong. Go ahead, Ruben.
Ruben: Clay does a better job of keeping in touch.
Clay: Yes, Clay has to text Ruben two or three times before he even gets a response sometimes. [Laughs.] 
Ruben: I have a lot going on.

3. What is your dream revival on Broadway? What show would you love to lead?
Ruben: Fences. It was my first-ever Broadway show. I saw James Earl Jones. I had to be about seven. My Aunt Pauline was the director of a program at Clark Atlanta University called Upward Bound, and they brought all the kids up to New York to see Fences. My Aunt Pauline made sure I was on the bus. She knew I loved music and performing, and she said, ‘I am taking Chris with me!’ It was my first time in New York.
Clay: There was a period of time Ruben and I talked about doing Big River together. I’m way too old for it now. Ruben could probably still pull off Jim, but I think the ship sailed for me. If I could subtract 20 years from my age, that would be the dream.

4. When your fans see you at the stage door, they are going to be super starstruck. When is the last time either of you got starstruck?
Clay: I know yours. 
Ruben: Do you?
Clay: Yes, I’ll answer Ruben’s. Ruben always played it cool; he’s very rarely impressed by celebrity. When we were doing Idol, Season 2 was the biggest season yet, and we were lucky that year because Oprah came and did her show from our set. I will remember forever Ruben running down the dressing room hall like a 13-year-old going, “Oprah’s in the building!! Oprah’s down the hall!!”
Ruben: I didn’t do it like that!
Clay: You did it exactly like that! That’s the only time I ever saw you lose your cool.
Ruben: That’s true. 
Clay: I get starstruck by very strange people, like Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa. I was very excited about meeting him. Then meeting Diane Sawyer was a big deal for me when I did Good Morning America the first time.

5. I love RuPaul’s Drag Race, and they do Drag Race All Stars every few years and fans go nuts for it. If Idol ever did an all-star season, would either of you participate?
Ruben: I would go and win. Period.
Clay: No, I don’t give a shit. 
Ruben: Exactly, he wouldn’t want the embarrassment of losing twice. 
Clay: I’ve done that. I lost Idol and Apprentice…and the campaign! [Laughs]

Clay Aiken Ruben Studdard GIF
 

Don't miss Clay & Ruben live at Broadway's Imperial Theatre December 7-30.

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Why producers and theater owners turn to holiday bookings (subscription only)

Why producers and theater owners turn to holiday bookings
ByGordon Cox -
11 hours ago

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard will star on one of the seasonal Broadway shows this season. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)

Sometimes on Broadway, you have to mobilize quickly.

Take producer Jeffrey Chrzczon. He scored a prime Broadway theater, the Imperial, for his new Christmas-themed show — but he landed the venue in late September, giving him less than 12 weeks to create and produce “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show” before it begins performances Dec. 7.

That’s fast. But having secured Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, two of the bigger “American Idol” names from the TV competition’s most popular years, the producing team had prepped for the last-minute eventuality by laying the creative groundwork over the summer. It was a risk, but one that Chrzczon took happily.

“No matter what, the holidays are the highest-selling time of year for theater and for entertainment in New York City,” Chrzczon said. “I know that a Christmas show will work.”

His confidence might surprise those who remember that the producer’s most recent Christmas-themed outing on Broadway, last year’s “Home for the Holidays,” floundered at the box office, bringing in less than $100,000 for each of the seven weeks it played the August Wilson Theatre. But that hasn’t scared away Chrzczon, or anyone else: This month alone, three separate shows — “Ruben & Clay,” “The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays” and “Celebrity Autobiography” —  are playing short holiday runs.

That’s because more and more producers are seeing potential in a venue’s dark weeks as Broadway’s profile soars in the wake of “Hamilton’s” success. And despite some notable disappointments and a complicated mix of economic and practical hurdles, these interim bookings can, when the math works out, turn into a win-win proposition for producers and theater owners alike.

For landlords, the benefits add up to more than just a couple more rent checks. “It’s also a win for all of the people who work at the theater who would otherwise be out of work,” said Jujamcyn Theaters president Jordan Roth. “For all of those people, having two, three, four more lit weeks is really meaningful. That’s a huge part of our responsibility as theater owners.”

From the theater owner’s perspective, the main criteria for an interim booking, according to industry executives, is viability: a production’s likelihood to attract Broadway audiences, and, perhaps even more importantly, its producers’ ability to raise the capital. “You say, ‘Who has the money, and who can make it happen?’” said one insider.

The holidays have become the pocket of time that theater owners seem most likely to have a Broadway venue temporarily vacant, as fading shows throw in the towel after Labor Day and landlords line up big bookings for the spring. But in general, Broadway’s ultra-tight real estate market has made it hard to bet on the exact timing of any availabilities.

At the same time, producers face the daunting challenge of turning a profit in even less time than the limited-run, star-driven plays that stick around 16 to 20 weeks.

The strategy is to think beyond Broadway. “The Illusionists,” the series of magic shows with a rotating cast of magicians and acts, has played a holiday slot on Broadway for four of the last five holiday seasons. The show’s producing team, including U.S. producer-promoter MagicSpace Entertainment, sees Broadway as an important stateside launchpad for a show that originated in Sydney.

“The only way I wanted to do it in North America was if we branded it on Broadway first, and then we could tour it on Broadway subscription series throughout the United States,” said Lee D. Marshall of MagicSpace.

Since then the show has found success by targeting its marketing toward men and children, rather than the traditional Broadway ticket-buying demo of older women.

“We’re advertising in football games, and Broadway shows don’t do that,” Marshall said.

In the first two weeks of this year’s run at the Marquis Theatre, “The Illusionists” grossed $1.85 million over fifteen performances, significantly more than the first two weeks of its most recent prior run in 2016.

MagicSpace is also behind the three Monday night performances of “Celebrity Autobiography” at the Marquis — a dark-night run that MagicSpace’s Steve Boulay hopes will boost that project’s profile enough to lead to a longer Broadway run, a life on the road or some combination of both.

There are significant overtime costs involved in keeping a venue staffed seven days a week, but “Autobiography” backers were able to make a special deal with Local One, Actors’ Equity and the theater owners in tandem with their pact for “The Illusionists.”

“Any other stand-alone approach to putting the show on a Broadway stage for such a short run would simply have been too cost prohibitive to consider,” Boulay said.

Meanwhile, the Broadway run of “Ruben and Clay” represents the first year of a three-year deal that will see the show hit the road for the next two seasons.

“The tour’s already being sold,” Chrzczon noted. “We have dates scheduled for the second week of November next year.”

Capitalization costs were kept below the $2 million mark. “You approach it as a huge concert instead of a small Broadway show,” he said of the financial model, adding that the show has the potential to recoup with the New York run alone, should things go well.

Chrzczon also has the advantage of the lessons learned the hard way with last year’s “Home for the Holidays” — including the fact that massive social media followings don’t always translate to Broadway sales. He remains so bullish on this year’s project, it seemed only natural to ask if he’s got any holidays shows brewing for next year.

“Not yet,” he answered with a laugh. “But don’t count us out!”

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Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken show off their on-stage chemistry in new Broadway Christmas show

 

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Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken show off their on-stage chemistry in new Broadway Christmas show

American Idol alums Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken are reuniting on stage this holiday season for a brand new Broadway show with a very long title: Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show.

The show, which kicks off its three-week engagement tonight, will combine variety show-inspired sketches with performances of some Christmas classics.

“I look forward to performing with Clay,” Ruben tells ABC Radio. “You know, the tour that we did a couple years back it really showed me how much chemistry we have on stage and people love it.”

He adds, “And I think that people will enjoy this even more just because it’s Christmas. Everybody enjoys a good Christmas show.”

The two previously toured together in 2010, seven years after Ruben won the second season of American Idol and Clay took the runner-up spot.

“What’s funny I think is that people think we have this rivalry and we never had a rivalry on Idol,” Clay adds. “We play it up sometimes when we do shows and we do press but we’ve never felt—I’ve never felt competitive with [Ruben].”

He waits for Ruben to agree, but instead Ruben deadpans, “I mean, I liked beating you.” 

Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show will be showing at the Imperial Theatre in New York City through December 30. A portion of ticket sales will go to benefit the National Inclusion Project, which Clay co-founded to help children with disabilities.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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‘Ruben & Clay Christmas Show’ Review: American Idols Go Caroling And Kitsching On Broadway

‘Ruben & Clay Christmas Show’ Review: American Idols Go Caroling And Kitsching On Broadway

  • Greg Evans
unnamed-1.jpg?w=446&h=299&crop=1
Mark Hill

For their first Broadway Christmas show, American Idol rivals Ruben Studdardand Clay Aiken are dreaming of holiday TV variety specials of yore from the likes of Andy Williams, Sonny and Cher and Dean Martin. Holiday lesson: Careful what you wish for.

If you’ve watched any of those old specials on retro channels like Get TV this season, you’ll know a small dollop of Christmas kitsch covers a lot of cookie. Ruben and Clay are spreading it wide and thin at the Imperial Theatre.

Loaded with Christmas songs both religious and secular (the duo sing together, solo and with a quintet of fresh-faced and strong-voiced backers), Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, opening tonight, pads the proceedings with intentionally cheesy sketch comedy, corny banter and, more successfully, thoughtful personal nostalgia.

Since the show seems to come from a place of good cheer – and some proceeds will go to charity – let’s get the Grinching out of the way: Neither Aiken nor Studdard have anywhere close to the comedic chops needed to pull off something like this. Their timing is imprecise, to put it mildly, with Studdard the more egregiously off beat.

The odd couple schtick is forced and undercooked. Aiken insists on repeatedly using the show’s full title, annoying Studdard no end. Aiken demands that Studdard drop a dollar into a red stocking whenever the latter curses or says something un-family friendly. Swiping that great, probably apocryphal Tallulah Bankhead-Loretta Young anecdote, Studdard “pre-pays” $10. No, he doesn’t follow up with Bankhead’s f’ing great punchline.

Fortunately, Ruben & Clay (or Clay & Ruben – the ever-changing billing is a running gag) doesn’t take its joking seriously (nor does the design, with a campy holiday hearth backdrop and ugly Christmas sweater costumes). For one bit, the show takes inspiration from the old Laugh-In staple of heads popping through a “joke wall” to tell intentionally creaky jokes – Frosty having a meltdown and Snowmen having snow balls. The stars frequently attempt to out-do one another in over-the-top caroling, and Clay does an audience participation bit with holiday-themed Mad Libs that might play better on some evenings than the one I saw.

unnamed-3.jpg?w=450&h=255

Musically, Ruben & Clay is on surer footing, with Studdard’s silky R&B and gospel takes on the holiday tunes mixing very well with Aiken’s more Broadway-belting style, and despite what their old judges might call some pitchiness here and there, the two make for fine carolers (as do their perky back-up revelers:  Farah Alvin, Ken Arpino, Julian Diaz-Granados, La’Nette Wallace, and Khaila Wilcoxon).

Written by Ken Arpino and Jesse Joyce, directed by Jonathan Tessero, with musical direction by Ben Cohn and musical staging by Lisa Shriver, the show turns heartfelt after intermission, with a video extolling Aiken’s National Inclusion Project for autistic children, and the stars’ reminiscences of Christmases Past (particularly moving are Studdard’s memories of his late brother).

The singing returns full force soon enough – Ruben & Clay is at its most enjoyable when the songs are flowing (and note to Fox News chicken littles: No war on Christmas here – neither the tune roster nor the Christmas memories retreat from the overtly religious).

With an affordable entry point – tickets start at $39 – Ruben & Clay is family friendly in more ways than one. The production bills itself as the “first annual,” and if next year is in the cards the duo might consider a less is more strategy: Ditch the intermission, trim the hokum and carol to your hearts’ content. Ninety minutes tops.

Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show is produced by Jeffrey Chrzczon, Side Effects Include, and Josh Pultz/Amplified Entertainment.

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Ruben and Clay’s Christmas Show Review: Cheery, Cheesy American Idols on Broadway

Ruben and Clay’s Christmas Show Review: Cheery, Cheesy American Idols on Broadway

   DECEMBER 11, 2018  1 COMMENT

RubenClay-Show-0038.jpg?resize=870%2C846At the very end of their Christmas show, running through December 30th at the Imperial Theater on Broadway, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken together sing the 19th century Christmas carol “O Holy Night.” Their duet is so lovely and powerful it seems to pierce the heavens.
It would be mean-spirited and inaccurate to say the two hours preceding it feel like a trip through hell. The feeling is more like a trip to the moon, since so much of “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show” – which is the show’s official, and alarming, title – is made of cheese.
It begins, for example, with an imitation of Star Wars’ portentous scrolling text, which a slick TV announcer reads aloud, about “an epic battle the likes of which had never before been seen. A clash of the titans,” their “final showdown…seen by over 40 million people.” This is a reference to the second season of American Idol, when Studdard and Aiken battled it out for first place, with Studdard winning. This was surely intended as parody, but just comes off as overblown.
Fifteen years after their titanic clash, the two still have strong voices — if anything, their singing has improved. But there is less of it in their show than one might have expected. Yes, there are 25 Christmas songs – actually more, since several are medleys. The singing duties, however, are shared by five other cast members, and the music is interspersed with so many lame skits and silly jokes and sentimental videos that the evening toggles in tone and format between TV variety show special, Reality Television, and infomercial. It feels, in short, like a TV show – one with low ratings in a lesser market — not something one would pay as much as $159 to see on Broadway.
Of course, some “ones” may be willing to pay anything to see their idols. This seems to be what producer Jeffrey Chrzczon is banking on. He made the same bet last year, producing “Home for the Holidays,” which got scathing reviews and flopped at the box office.
Let others scoff. It makes sense for producers to fill empty theaters with holiday shows. Currently, “The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays” is running for five weeks and “Celebrity Autobiography” for four Mondays, both at the Marquis , which isn’t scheduled for another show until “Tootsie” starts in March. After Ruben and Clay’s Christmas show ends in December, there isn’t another show scheduled at the Imperial until “Ain’t Too Proud” starts, also in March.
It’s possible that Studdard and Aiken will fare better in their three-week run with critics and theatergoers alike. After all, it isn’t fun to trash a show that features such likable performers who seem genuinely goodhearted; after intermission, we’re shown a surprisingly lengthy film about the National Inclusion Project , which Aiken co-founded in 2003 to provide camping, recreational and social experiences for children with disabilities.
A portion of the ticket sales, we’re told, will be contributed to this charity.
And the fans who show up for Ruben and Clay may have enough goodwill toward them not just to tolerate the tacky touches too numerous to inventory; they may actively enjoy some of the limp routines.
In what counts as the sole stab at audience participation, Aiken picks a theatergoer to come up on stage and asks her a series of questions – what color do you hate the most? Who’s your favorite one-name star? These are put together for a mad-lib version of the 12 Days of Christmas. To save time, the seven cast members sang all 12 verses just once, and only substituted the new words in the last seven days, keeping everything from five golden rings to a partridge in a pear tree– which was odd, but merciful.
In the opening number, Ruben and Clay sing snippets of traditional Christmas songs, starting with Silent Night, as part of a schtick in which they are trying to one-up each other. First Clay comes out in a tuxedo, then Ruben in a tuxedo with sequins, then Clay in a blindingly flashy silver tuxedo jacket; then Ruben with a sparkling robe AND three female backup singers in red sequined choir robes, then Clay in top hat and tails AND two male backup singers, then Ruben….well, you get the idea. Like most of the bits in the show, this one isn’t especially polished, nor even all that funny. But it’s fun-loving.

Click on any photograph by Carol Rosegg to see it enlarged.
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“Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show”
Imperial Theater
Written by Ken Arpino and Jesse Joyce, Directed by Jonathan Tessero. Musical staging by Lisa Shriver, music direction by Ben Cohn. Scenic design by Rob Bissinger, lighting design by Paul Miller, costume design by James Brown III, sound design by Bruce Landon Yauger , projection design by Jason Lee Courson
Cast: Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Farah Alvin, Ken Arpino, Julian Diaz-Granados, La’Nette Wallace,Khaila Wilcoxon
Running time: Two hours including an intermission.
Tickets: $39 to $159
“Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show” runs through December 30, 2018

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Review: Christmas gone wrong at ‘Ruben & Clay’

Review: Christmas gone wrong at ‘Ruben & Clay’

 

Toward the merciful end of “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Show,” or as it is also called, “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show,” gifts are exchanged. Out come the ugly Christmas sweaters, that cutesy sartorial staple of the holiday season. Unfortunately, those sweaters might serve as garish woolen metaphors for the show itself: you might smile indulgently at them for a bit, but pretty quickly you just want to look away.

Ruben and Clay, for the unfamiliar, are Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, onetime competitors and finalists on the second season of “American Idol.” Studdard ended up winning, with Aiken the runner-up. Both have since gone on to successful recording and performing careers, with Aiken even staging a quixotic run for Congress in his native North Carolina. (Runner-up again! He won the Democratic primary but lost the election.)

But it has been quite a while since they competed on that national television sing-off. Fifteen years represents a veritable eon in the world of entertainment, particularly with “American Idol’s” success spawning several similar talent-competition shows. And so, while Studdard and Aiken still possess impressive voices, they may have been a bit late in sending out invitations to their reunion party: At the preview I attended empty seats seemed to outnumber filled ones.

The production, directed by Jonathan Tessero, styles itself as a throwback to television variety shows of yore, mixing music with comedy. The hosts play at being still in competition, trying to out-sing each other or cueing up prank gags to one-up each other, resulting in their names being switched back and forth, vying for supremacy, in the show’s title. But the writing, by Ken Arpino and Jesse Joyce, doesn’t exactly recall the heady heyday of, say, “The Carol Burnett Show.” Sample bit of bickering banter: Ruben to Clay: “You’re named after a hunk of dirt.” Clay’s retort: “You’re named after a greasy sandwich.”

As that more elaborate title suggests — a singular example of a show’s title protesting too much — the stocking is stuffed to bursting with Christmas carols of both secular and religious stripes. We hear all (or most) of staples like “Silver Bells,” “Silent Night,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “We Need a Little Christmas,” “The First Noel” and, for a finale, “O Holy Night.” 

There are also not one but two medleys. The first compiles Christmas songs from movies. Some I’d never heard of and hope never to again, like “This Christmas” from, apparently, the movie of the same title, which occasions a feeble who’s-on-first-type exchange between Ruben and Clay. The second medley is a whizzing romp through snippets of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and — sorry, my head is going to explode if I have to continue the list. I cannot offhand think of a carol that goes uncaroled. It probably would have been wise to disrupt the endless and eventually wearying loop of Christmas songs by including some of the pop songs that brought Studdard and Aiken fame in their initial appearances on “American Idol.”

Both performers have likable, nicely contrasted personas: Studdard the burly teddy-bear type with a beaming smile and a touch of sassy aggression, Aiken the frisky, borderline-nerdy imp whom Studdard aptly likens to an overgrown elf. But their comic banter mostly has the strained and saggy feeling of, well, artificially crafted comic banter.

Haphazard, only mildly amusing gambits include a teenage Ghost of Christmas Future, who apparently died prematurely after trying the Tide Pod challenge (tasteless, that), and who takes a swipe at “Dear Evan Hansen” (dumb, that, considering this show that will not likely be vying for multiple Tonys at season’s end). There’s a joke about those long CVS receipts, and, evoking the TV variety-show theme, a sheet falls down at a couple of points, representing an advent calendar and occasioning a barrage of dumdum jokes (“What nationality is Santa Claus?” “North Polish”) that recalls “Laugh-In.” (A show that hasn’t aged too well either, come to think of it.)

Studdard and Aiken are accompanied by a supporting cast of five — Arpino, Farah Alvin, Julian Diaz-Granados, La’Nette Wallace and Khaila Wilcoxon — who participate in both the singalongs and the comic set pieces, radiating the kind of desperate cheer that I’d imagine cruise ship performers employ to keep slightly sozzled audiences from nodding off. They appear to be talented performers, but this is not exactly a glittering showcase for anyone’s gifts.

The endlessly jaunty tone briefly recedes in the second act, when both Studdard and Aiken offer long — probably too long — personal reminiscences about their childhood Christmases (Studdard also speaks about missing a brother who died) and, more generally and more tritely, seasonal wishes for love, peace, friendship for all mankind and the meaning of Christmas. (“Jesus came to save the world or to save those who follow him,” Aiken says, making Jesus sound rather churlish, although I suppose he is on firm theological grounds by the standards of most Christian denominations.)

But this is only a brief foray into seasonal pieties. Most of the show consists of would-be rib-tickling silliness sandwiched in between all those musical holiday nuggets. When Aiken complains that the race-the-clock Christmas-song medley is just a little cheesy, Studdard counters, “It’s Christmas time. It’s supposed to be cheesy.”

Well, maybe, but there’s cheesy and there’s cheesy, and I’m afraid this show’s relentless barrage of mostly witless badinage and engorging seasonal cheer is enough to send even the most lactose-tolerant fleeing up the aisles.

 

“Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show” opened on Tues., Dec. 11, 2018 at the Imperial Theatre. 

Creative: Written by Ken Arpino and Jesse Joyce; Music arranged by Ben Cohn and John Jackson; Directed by Jonathan Tessero; Musical Staging by Lisa Shriver; Scenic Design by Rob Bissinger; Costume Design by James Brown III; Lighting Design by Paul Miller; Sound Design by Bruce Landon Yauger; Projection Design by Jason Lee Courson.

Producers: Jeffrey Chrzczon, Side Effects Include and Josh Pultz/Amplified Entertainment.

Cast: Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Farah Alvin, Ken Arpino, Julian Diaz-Granados, La’Nette Wallace, Khaila Wilcoxon. 

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