Call Answered: Diana DeGarmo: "American Idol", "Quilt: A Musical Celebration", World Pride 2019: Stonewall 50
Growing up during the AIDS Epidemic was scary. Getting educated about HIV/AIDS in school was invaluable. Having artists like Madonna and Elton John speak up and out about HIV/AIDS was healing with their songs “In This Life” and “The Last Song.”
Plays such as The Normal Heart, Angels in America, and The Boys in the Band helped tell so many people’s stories. Quilt: A Musical Celebration is a new show to help the next generations learn where we came from, how far we have gone, and where we still need to go.
With a Book by Jim Morgan, Merle Hubbard, and John Schak, Music by Michael Stockler, Lyrics by Jim Morgan, Quilt, A Musical Celebration is a unique and affecting work that celebrates and remembers both those who died from AIDS and those who have survived or been left behind. Based on true stories from friends and loved ones who were left behind, the musical is a living history for a new generation.
In honor of World Pride 2019, Stonewall 50, the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a concert version of Quilt: A Musical Celebration will be presented in New York City for FOUR performances only at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South):
June 21 at 8pm - tickets
June 23 at 4pm - tickets
1. This June you are participating in the one-weekend, four-performance-only presentation of Quilt, A Musical Celebration in honor of World Pride 2019, Stonewall 50, the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. What made you want to be part of this celebration? I have always felt a strong connection to my LGBTQ friends. When this opportunity arose, it was a no brainer. I believe we must teach our history or we are doomed to repeat it.
Newer generations stand on the backs of those who came before; even with the strides we have made we still have a long ways to go. I hope I can use this platform as an ally to support and educate myself and others.
2. What do you relate to most about this musical? I definitely relate to my character Karen's quirkiness. She barrels full-speed into the Gay & Lesbian Center completely in the dark about the people, the culture, everything and makes a pretty big fool of herself.
I have had my share of awkward moments, too. Sometimes my mouth gets ahead of my brain [laughs]. I feel like I am learning right along with her.
3. What do you feel this musical will teach a new generation about this history of AIDS? The new generation of people who never experienced an atrocity like the AIDS Epidemic will learn this biological war on humanity shook our entire world and killed millions. People from all walks of life were affected and mostly the LGBTQ community, in horrifying ways. The story of QUILT must be told to remind us where have been but where we still need to go.
4. Have you ever lost a friend or loved to HIV/AIDS? If so, what do you miss most about them? I have never lost anyone I know to HIV/AIDS thanks to scientific discoveries and programs that have come along to help preserve my loved ones' health and quality of life.
Projects like QUILT help raise awareness and funds that can directly lead to research and education to one day rid our world of this heinous disease.
5. In honor of celebrating their memory, what is the funniest story or experience you ever had with this person? If I were to honor someone, I would like to remember their spirit or soul. These bodies are only our portals for a short sentence that we call life and our spirit or soul will always live on.
6. If you were to ever make a piece of the AIDS Quilt, what kind of design would you make? My piece for the AIDS Quilt would probably have something that connected the brain and the heart. Learning about people from other walks of life from our own can open our hearts and teach us so much.
Let switch gears from talking about Quilt, A Musical Celebration, and find out some other things about you.
7. You have starred on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in National tours. If you could come back to Broadway in a current show, what show or shows would you like to step into? Oh boy! From what is currently running on Broadway...I would enjoy playing Jenna OR Dawn in Waitress, Kit in Pretty Woman, Persephone in Hadestown, Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, Roxie Hart in Chicago, or maybe a puppeteer in King Kong?!? Haha. A dreamer always dreams...
8. In looking back on your time on American Idol:
Would you do it again? I wouldn't be where I am without my time on American Idol. So, yes, for that I would do it all again.
What did you learn from that experience? Being on the show was like a crash course in the entertainment industry. We learned so much so quickly that I never I fully absorbed my experience until years after I was off the show.
Favorite memory? My favorite memory would be when I met and chatted with Donna Summer. Our season was full of great mentors, but she really took the title seriously and was gracious and lovely.
Toughest moment? My Idol experience had plenty of tough moments, but nothing I never thought I couldn't withstand. I may have been a naive 16-year-old girl from Snellville, GA, but I was as precocious and determined as could be. I knew that whatever was meant to be would happen if I always did my best and I still do.
10. You just released your latest album Gemini. What can you tell us about this album? GEMINI is (what I am calling) my first true, full-studio album. I did release another record and two EPs post Idol, but GEMINI is what I feel is my 100% authentic self. My Southern roots and theatrical career have cooked me into a Big Band Country Queen and my record is the live captured essence. Imagine Dolly Parton and Bette Midler had a love child.
GEMINI consists of a 13 piece band, 15 of the 16 songs are original tunes written by myself and my dear friend Dylan Glatthorn, and if I die tomorrow I know I have left the world with a piece of my heart to carry on.
Visit any of my live shows to pick up your own copy for the DOUBLE Vinyl Album and the digital version will be released at the end of July, right before my Album Release show August 5th, at Sony Hall in NYC.
More on Diana:
Diana DeGarmo has conquered it all and then some: Singer, songwriter, from stage to screen. Her powerhouse vocals shot her to fame on American Idol, secured her as a Billboard #1 Artist, and opened doors to Broadway shows like HAIR & Hairspray, Off- Broadway shows like The Toxic Avenger and The Marvelous Wonderettes, National & International Tours of 9 to 5, BKLYN: The Musical, Jekyll & Hyde, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a recurring role on The Young & The Restless, and much more.