Ryan Williams as Pharaoh and Ace Young as Joseph in “Stone the Crows.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL A. SWALEC
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A CHAT WITH DIANA DEGARMO & ACE YOUNG, NOW STARRING IN “JOSEPH” AT THE ORPHEUM MEMPHIS

Y’all know I love hanging out at The Peabody, whether I’m checking in with my favorite Duckmaster or sharing a late-night dessert with my hubby (more on that in my book, due out next month). Today, I hit The Peabody for something extra special: A chat with Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, who were serving as honorary Duckmasters under Duckmaster Anthony Petrina.

If you’re an American Idol fan, you know DeGarmo and Young from seasons three and five, respectively. What you might not know is that DeGarmo was the first Idol alum to star on Broadway. She’s currently starring as the narrator of the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, showing at Memphis’s historic Orpheum Theatre through Sun., April 27. Young plays the role of Joseph.

What I really loved learning this morning, though, is how much DeGarmo and Young love living in Tennessee. Post-Idol, DeGarmo moved to Nashville, and recorded her EP, Unplugged in Nashville, in 2008. But the role of Angelina on The Young and The Restless called her to Los Angeles. “All the while, I pined and missed Tennessee,” DeGarmo recalled.

    Diana DeGarmo as Narrator in “Poor, Poor Joseph.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL A. SWALEC

Diana DeGarmo as Narrator in “Poor, Poor Joseph.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL A. SWALEC

With their first wedding anniversary approaching, DeGarmo and Young have found their way back, and note that several friends from Los Angeles are following.

Of the couple’s home base in Nashville, DeGarmo shared: “The music scene is electric – you can feel it in the air. The theater scene has exponentially grown with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and community theater at The Franklin Theatre. With Studio Tenn you have actors who’ve come home to Tennessee or the South and have brought their careers with them. We can do everything we want to do in one city – write, record, theater, television, movies…”

“And raise a family, and be a family,” Young added.

Ryan Williams as Pharaoh and Ace Young as Joseph in “Stone the Crows.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL A. SWALEC

Ryan Williams as Pharaoh and Ace Young as Joseph in “Stone the Crows.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL A. SWALEC

Until they take that step, DeGarmo and Young have other collaborations to be proud of. Their EP, Live to Love, is composed of songs they co-wrote; Young is a Grammy-nominated songwriter who told me, “I don’t see genres…good music surpasses genres.”

That, too, makes Nashville a good fit for the couple. When I asked them what instruments they play, Young started, “We play what we need to.” DeGarmo finished his sentence with: “You walk down the street here and pick up an entire band before you get to the end of the block. And it’s everything – pop, rock, hick-hop…”

this morning

DeGarmo and Young with Duckmaster Anthony Petrina

Still, I can’t help but pry into DeGarmo’s passion for country music. She grew up singing it (Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Wynonna Judd are her favorites). She performed at the Grand Ole Opry when she was 12. She worked as a performer at Dollywood’s Music Mansion and the old Opryland Country Christmas. As a 16-year-old Idol contestant, she fought to sing country, but was forced to focus on pop. She must have planted a seed, though – the following season, Carrie Underwood came along.

Catch Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Memphis’s historic Orpheum Theatre through Sun., April 27.

Hi! I’m Samantha Crespo, and I am Floridian by birth, Tennessean by heart. Growing up, I vacationed in East Tennessee, so I...Read on

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