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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Talking with Justin Guarini, starring in ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County’

Justin Guarini performed at a preview event for "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County." Photo credit: Greg Mooney

Justin Guarini performed at a preview event for "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" at the Hard Rock Cafe last month. Photo credit: Greg Mooney

Justin Guarini, runner-up season one of “American Idol” a decade ago, knows about being a guinea pig for something potentially big.

So joining the Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” at the Alliance Theatre was a challenge he welcomed.

And he’s embraced the cast, the music, even the special effects. “It’s been tiring but really good,” he said. “The coolest part is getting direct feedback from Stephen and John and T-Bone [Burnett.] It was inspiring to be able to sit with T-Bone and work with him on these songs, to see how organic his creative process is.”

He loves creating a character nobody has done before. In the play, he plays the older of  two present-day sons brought to a cabin by his father Joe. The father had witnessed the death of his two older brothers in that cabin decades earlier and those ghosts remain. “It’s about whether or not Joe can tell the truth about what happened in time to save his family,” he said.

Guarini has found his home in theater. He did two Broadway shows last year (”Women on the Verge,” “American Idiot”) and two regional shows (”Chicago,” “Rent”). Now married, he also had a baby, who is now ten months old. And yes, William Neko Bell Guarini has a mop of curly hair – of course.

For this play, he cut his own curly hair down to be a Southern rock musician. The music, he noted, is very swampy-like blues and rock. “It’s so much fun to sing,” he said.

Guarini, who grew up outside Philadelphia but spent summers as a child in Atlanta  (mostly Candler Park) with his dad Eldrin Bell, said he’d like to move from Los Angeles to New York, home of Broadway. “Musical theater is a great fit for me,” he said.  He admitted he was a bit unfocused for awhile, dabbling in different things. “I’m putting my nose to the grindstone in theater now.”

IF YOU GO

“Ghost Brothers of Darkland County”

Through May 13. Tuesdays to Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m., Saturdays, 2:30 p.m., 8 p.m. Sundays, 2:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta. $65-$85. 404 733-5000. www.alliancetheatre.org.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk
I’m nejoyign life better than I have. I’m the best ber ti’ve ever been.

64 comments Add your comment

JTesla

April 13th, 2012
4:57 pm

Nice! Thanks for the information Rodney, it’s good to keep up with Justin. Justin is the man.

Joizze

April 13th, 2012
5:04 pm

Thanks for the article, Rodney. Didn’t Justin move from LA a few years ago before he got married? Justin is very talented and Ghost Brothers of Darkland County sounds like a wonderful project for him.

Fred ™

April 13th, 2012
5:11 pm

Rodney, you are SO psycho………… I mean psychic, yeah, that’s what I meant……….

I was just racking my brains today trying to remember what was coming to the Alliance that I had recently read about that I wanted to see. It was this. You (I think) did a column on Justin a couple of weeks ago and mentioned it. Thanks for the “re-heads up” lol.

JTesla

April 13th, 2012
6:27 pm

Good news for Idol: I guess Nigel tweeted that the contestants would be singing 2 songs apiece next week.

Thank you Nigel, thank you! Let the contestants stand and fall on their own.

Now back to Justin.

Mercedes S.

April 14th, 2012
7:29 am

Had Simon started to b – - ch about “going Broadway” on Season One? Don’t think so. Anyway, glad Justin is enjoying musicak theatre and making a living from it. This is a show I really want to see!

Julius Bach

April 14th, 2012
8:33 am

Enter your comments here

Julius Bach

April 14th, 2012
8:49 am

We’ve been waiting for month to see this show. We went last night and I can tell you all without any reservations. Sell your 1st born, pawn your favorite guitar, put on a pair of shades and grab a cup of pencils…in other words, do whatever it takes to buy a ticket for this show. It is PHENOMENAL. The entire cast is superb in their performance. The music is hauntingly chilling at times and theatrical effects are amazing. Of course there’s the story…well it’s Stephen King, nuff said.

The only regret I have for this show is it’s limited run. Perhaps Atlanta can’t sustain an extended run of Theater productions. The Alliance is very fortunate to have had the opportunity to Premiere this excellent collaborative work from three Icons in the entertainment business.

Go see it, I promise, you will not be disappointed.

Mercedes S.

April 14th, 2012
12:40 pm

Tonight, ABC is showing yet another fictionalized tale about the Titanic disaster, and James Cameron launched his 3-D version the other week. Still the very best film to watch if you want to commemorate the centennial of the sinking of the ship: ” A Night to Remember” from 1958. It has no big stars, no spectacular special effects… it’s just a very moving film, and to date the most realistic on-screen depiction of the catastrophe.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Kristin M. Jones writes about the movie in the paper’s Masterpiece
series. In her excellent essay she mentions that the Criterion Collection has recently released a new digitally restored edition on DVD and Blu-ray.

I saw this movie as a child (on TV) and it made a huge impression.I can’t wait to see it again.

twila

April 14th, 2012
10:33 pm

i went to this show and was very disappointed. thumbs down

Fred ™

April 14th, 2012
10:53 pm

Mercedes S: Who gives a fat rats ass about Titanic. It sunk in case you didn’t know. Lot’s of people died. Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t really one of the deaders in case you didn’t know.

Did Jesus just “move” you to post about Titanic on this blog tonight or was it the other voices in your head………

JTesla

April 15th, 2012
2:02 am

Fred, this blog isn’t about Mercedes, it’s about Justin Guarini. Focus man, focus!

[...] AJC TV/radio reporter Rodney Ho interviews cast member Justin Guarini: “The coolest part is getting direct feedback from Stephen and John and T Bone [Burnett]. It was inspiring to be able to sit with T-Bone and work with him on these songs, to see how organic his creative process is.” blogs.ajc.com/radio-tv-talk/2012/04/13/talking-with-justin-guarini-starring-in-ghost-brothers-of-dar… [...]

rt

April 15th, 2012
6:26 pm

Justin has hundreds of southside friends from his summers with Chief Bell. He also worked at Atlanta Beach (some life guard).

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
7:43 am

Morning!

My goodness! I just finished wading through all the statistical analysis on the “who go eliminated blog” Seriously? Racist? Joshua sings in a gospel style and not a whole heck of a lot of people enjoy it(I happen to think Joshua is great and was sorry to see him in the bottom 3 but, hey, that’s how it goes sometimes) Elise isn’t old, she’s from the northeast. When was the last time someone from the northeast won? Those guys up there don’t vote. ;-) And Jessica, as I said before, is the easiest to understand. Jimmy has pretty clearly stated that Hollie’s biggest competition(style-wise) is Jessica. The “save Hollie” mantra kicked in and Jessica was the last person the “save Hollie” mantra people were going to vote for.

So much fuss over something that is so simple. ;-)

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
7:44 am

Hope y’all had a great weekend.

I love Stephen King and I wish Justin the best. How were the reviews?

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
9:45 am

OK…did something happen while I was gone. Have y’all just stopped speaking to each other?

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
9:45 am

Did Idol get cancelled?

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
9:53 am

This will make JT happy. Nigel tweet:

“The contestants are singing 2 songs each next week. Now the ‘save’ has been used we have 14 songs on the show! Wow!!”

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
9:54 am

She’s on to us.

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
9:59 am

And, I got to scoop Deirdre. Posted that on the 13th, very happy. Let the idols stand on their own.

Deirdre, the whatnottosing site I quiet interesting. The two largest hurdles that contestants have to overcome from its analysis are pre live show exposure and gender. The three people who were in the bottom last week are three of the four who received minimum exposure. Granted Heejun and DeAndre also received top exposure levels, but that goes to explain how they lasted as long as they did.

You might find the ranking of all Idols and all performances of interest.

Sam-A

April 16th, 2012
10:13 am

Freddie: Get a life and leave Mercedes alone! On the hundredth anniversary of the tragedy, there are many people interested in the Titanic tragedy.

Mercedes, “A Night….” is a fine movie. I saw it as a kid, and once on tv many years ago – and remember it well. I watched PBS’s show last evening with James Cameron about all the new information discovered since he made his film. Interesting.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
10:45 am

Thanks for the info, JT. And sorry I re-posted. I thought I had read everything but after awhile it got kind of tedious, plus I was tired. Excuses, excuses! Apparently I don’t skim as well as I thought.

Just back from a visit with the in-laws and today is my mom’s 91st birthday so I will be in and out.

Does anyone know the theme for next week yet?

And Fred, Mercedes is a film critic and we appreciate her reviews even if you don’t.

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
10:48 am

Deirdre, I think the theme for this week is “Don’t let Jessica or Joshua get eliminated”. I’m not sure where I read that.

Also, quite alright with the skimming, it was a lot of stuff. I’m just happy that I could provide some relevant information.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
10:57 am

Has anyone posted this from Nigel yet. He called into TMZ on Friday to squelch rumors that the judges already knew who would be eliminated and said:

“It’s America’s favorite singer at the end of the day. It’s not America’s best singer. They all must remember that.”

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
10:59 am

Gotta give Nigel a pat on the back for that one. Sometimes America’s favorite singer IS the best but, mostly, not so much.

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
11:02 am

I hadn’t seen that. I think the only true information was the bit about 2 songs per Idol this week.

I’ll need to remember that comment of Nigel’s, that is what I’ve been trying to tell people for years now.

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

April 16th, 2012
11:11 am

“It’s America’s favorite singer at the end of the day. It’s not America’s best singer. They all must remember that.”

And by “they,” Nigel clearly means the judges, no? I’m looking at you, Randy Jackson! :mad:

Woodpappy

April 16th, 2012
11:12 am

Good for Nigel. Hope he sent Randy an e-mail.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
11:24 am

I thought Nigel meant the contestants must remember that but the judges makes more sense.

Mercedes S.

April 16th, 2012
11:43 am

Morning!

Thanks, Sam-A and Deirdre for support!
I know the general posters are great at keeping up with the news and we often discuss timely matters. Sorry if I offended Fred who maybe doesn’t and who perhaps doesn’t “get” Rodney’s wonderfully inclusive blog.Yet.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
11:53 am

We’ll just call Fred confused and bless his little heart!

Mercedes S.

April 16th, 2012
11:53 am

It will be interesting to hear numbers for Idol this week. My guess is numbers and votes will be very high. Unfortunately for the show’s teacher’s pet, I predict there will be many “anyone but Jessica” votes.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
12:09 pm

You may be right about that Mercedes.

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
12:28 pm

I think if there was a group that wanted “anyone but Jessica” they would end up failing. If they vote for everyone then their votes are split and do little good. If they vote for Hollie, how does that hurt Jessica as there are still five others that Jessica can beat in terms of number of votes?

The situation is a little more complex. Colton and Phillip are difficult to beat as they are young males and have never been in the bottom three. Skylar has a solid voting block, but even that hasn’t kept her from the bottom three. Hollie gets a bunch of sympathy votes for being snubbed, and Elise squeaks by Jessica because she had the pimp spot. If Elise didn’t go last she just as easily could have been singing for her life last week.

Also, Jessica has issues to deal with that don’t involve others. Singing a bland song perfectly doesn’t win you Idol.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
12:34 pm

Good points, JT.

I think Jessica has a pretty big fanbase who will want to vote for her no matter what this week just to keep her out of the bottom 3. And Hollie won the sympathy vote last week which will slack off this week depending on what the judges say. If they’re smart, they will give her a pass no matter how she sings.

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
12:39 pm

Yes Deirdre, that is what I’m expecting. They tried to give her a pass last week at least a little one, but I think people caught onto the end of show snub which is where the judges slipped up.

Of course, if she does poorly and the judges not named Steven do get on her case for it, I’ll be happy that they are being true to the music.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
12:43 pm

Actually, I’d like to see Jessica win it all. Two reasons. 1. I think her voice(if not her delivery) is the best. 2. It really is time for a girl to win it even if she’s no Kelly Clarkson. At 16, she still has a lot to learn but that voice is a pretty darned good jumping off point.

And I’d like to see Hollie leave soon. imo(and I think I’m still allowed to have one) Hollie has even less charisma and stage presence than Jessica. At this point, I believe that Hollie and Jessica are splitting votes which will get them both eliminated and leave Skylar the last girl standing(yes, I know about Elise and as much as I like her and would rather she won, that just ain’t gonna happen)

With Skylar the last girl standing, I’m sorry but I’ll have to vote for one of the guys. I just can’t see Idol having ANOTHER country style winner right after Mr Turn the Lights Down Low. Too much country for me and the viewing public will start labeling Idol as a country singer’s contest.

Sam-A

April 16th, 2012
12:50 pm

Waaaaay too much country! I liked Lauren, but her country was pretty well “moderated”. Skylar is from “nasal twang city” – couldn’t sing a song straight out and non-country if her life was on the line.

Rickster

April 16th, 2012
1:18 pm

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
1:19 pm

But, also my opinion, the judges’ comments about Hollie have made her a cause for the anti-judge voters and I fear that cause will result in both Hollie’s and Jessica’s elimination.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
2:17 pm

If you look at the poll on Rickster’s link, it sure looks like it will be Jessica who gets the sympathy votes this week.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
2:27 pm

Here’s a quote from the always “classy” Simon Cowell after he confirmed having a “fling” with his UK X-F costar, Danni Minogue:

“I had a crush on her. It was Dannii’s hair, the sexy clothes and the t—. She was foxy. She was a real man’s girl. Very feminine.”

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
2:28 pm

Not surprising, I call it the Jordin Sparks effect.

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
2:42 pm

Interesting regarding Simon, I guess that is why Danni announced the termination of her long term relationship with her baby daddy just earlier this month.

Or was he her baby daddy? Hmmm either way, Simon now gets the “scum” designation in my mind.

Jenny

April 16th, 2012
2:45 pm

Fred, I for one am interested in the Titanic commemorations! And Mercedes, I meant to ask you, how did you like the 3D re-release?

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
2:51 pm

Via mj, here are the themes for this week:

The Top 7 will perform two songs each. One , a Billboard #1 hit from 2000 to 2012. The other a “soul” song from a previous decade.

RIGHT SAID FRED...

April 16th, 2012
2:56 pm

Well, I happened to agree with Fred. Stick to the topic…and if you want to be a phlegm critic Mercedes, start your OWN blog and critique any film as much as you like. Otherwise, stop being di-respectful to the original author. The unmitigated gall to enter someone else’s article and over take it with your own thoughts completely unrelated to the topic…

JTesla

April 16th, 2012
3:05 pm

RIGHT SAID FRED: ever consider that she has the blessing of the original author? Therefore, it would not be disrespectful.

I still don’t see how your post was on topic, disrespectful as you say, much like Fred’s wasn’t on topic. If you really want to discuss the topic, then by all means do so.

Sam-A

April 16th, 2012
3:05 pm

Right blah blah: There are a number of people who have been posting with Rodney on the Idol blog for YEARS! He welcomes our posting on a variety of subjects, especially show biz ones – and after all, most movies will be on TV in the near future. Also, these posters keep the blog going and healthy thru the 6 or so months when there is no Idol on which to post.

And we greatly appreciate our dear Mercedes – as Deirdre stated earlier, she is a legit film critic, writing reviews in a number of papers around the world, and we eagerly await her word in the new movies starting in theaters – helps us decide whether ot not to see the films.

Ergo, if you don’t appreciate the “atmosphere” around here, just GO AWAY and find a blog site that’s more conducive to your bland, boring subject matter.

Deirdre

April 16th, 2012
3:17 pm

@RIGHT SAID FRED: We’ve been talking about all sorts of topics for years. I think the problem is that this is Rodney’s Radio & TV blog and we’ve been on the American Idol Blog for years. There IS a difference.

However, we actually do have the permission of the writer to chat ad nauseum about anything we want as long as we occasionally return to the topic at hand. We are probably the least disrespectful group of people that Rodney deals with on a regular basis.