Full Cast & Creative Team of
Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show
Performances for this New, Limited Engagement Holiday Show Begin Friday, December 7th at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre
Tickets on Sale NOW
A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT THE NATIONAL INCLUSION PROJECT
When RUBEN STUDDARD and CLAY AIKEN join forces for 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, they will be joined on stage by Farah Alvin, Ken Arpino, Julian Diaz-Granados, La’Nette Wallace, and Khaila Wilcoxon it was announced today.
Written by Ken Arpino and Jesse Joyce, Ruben & Clay’s Christmas Show will be directed by Jonathan Tessero, with musical staging by Lisa Shriver and music direction by Ben Cohn. The design team includes Rob Bissinger (scenic), Paul Miller (lighting), James Brown III (costume), Bruce Landon Yauger (sound), andJason Lee Courson (projection design).
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 also aims to give back with a portion of the proceeds benefiting theNational 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.”
Farah Alvin’s Broadway credits include It Shoulda Been You, Nine, The Look of Love, Saturday Night Fever, Grease!, A Christmas Carol. Off-Broadway credits: Window Treatment, Goldstein, The Last Smoker in America (cast album), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Drama Desk Nomination, cast album), I Love You Because (cast album) and more. Lots of regional including Paper Mill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, Signature Theatre (Helen Hayes Award), Cape Playhouse, Geva Theater and Alabama Shakespeare.
Ken Arpino is the Executive Director of Wolfbane Productions, a nonprofit theatre company in Appomattox VA, and co-owner of Pals of Dorothy, an independent production company focused on creating, sharing and delivering original LGBT content. National tour credits include Mamma Mia!, Legally Blonde: the Musical! and Hairspray. Boston area native; Emerson College graduate. Check out his hit viral web series "The Queens Project" on YouTube.
Julian Diaz-Granados. National Tour credits include Junie B. Jones (Herb, TheaterWorks USA). Regional: Dog Meets God (Matt), Cabaret (Cliff), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Chip), Holland America Line. OCU Grad.
La’Nette Wallace has performed Off-Broadway, regionally and internationally. She would like to thank her family and friends for their continued love and support. A special thank you to her mother, Robin T. Wallace who always told her to fallow her dreams. I'll always sing your song Mommy! "See you later alligator!" "Not for a while crocodile!"
Khaila Wilcoxon is a recent graduate with a BFA from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, and just made her big move to the greatest city in the world.
Jesse Joyce (Writer) is an Emmy nominated/WGA Award-winning writer. Jesse has written for numerous network TV and Comedy Central shows and specials, currently for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” for which he received a 2018 Writers Guild Award nomination. Prior to joining Kimmel, Jesse was a long time staff writer for “@midnight” on Comedy Central. Jesse helped Dave Attell write and produce “Comedy Underground with Dave Attell,” and is one of the longest standing writers for the Comedy Central “Roast” franchise. Starting out as as half of the writing partnership with the late, great Greg Giraldo for the Roasts of David Hasselhoff, Joan Rivers, Larry the Cable Guy, Bob Saget and Flavor Flav, Jesse’s roast joke talents have continually been asked back for Roasts of Trump, Charlie Sheen, Roseanne, James Franco, Justin Bieber, Rob Lowe and Bruce Willis. In 2016 Jesse was nominated for a Primetime Emmy and won a Writers’ Guild Award for his work on “Triumph’s Election Specials” starring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Jesse has been a long time writer for Seth McFarlane, including the 85th Annual Academy Awards. In 2018 he wrote for the Academy Awards a second time as well as the Tony Awards.
Jonathan Tessero (Director) is a Creative Producer and Director whose executive production company, Side Effects Include, develops live music specials for television and touring. His Creative Direction for CBS' coverage of Super Bowl XLVII earned the network an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Art Direction/Studio Design; his reboot of Essence Fest achieved a record setting increase and total attendance of nearly 500,000 attendees; and his symphonic pops presentations have been performed by orchestras around the world with a recent live orchestra-to-film production selling out two performances at London's Royal Albert hall as part of a six-week arena tour of Europe. He has directed on Broadway, for film and television, as well as served as creative producer/director of large scale installations for clients such as Harrah's - Caesars Entertainment, Coca-Cola, Chase, The National WWII Museum, Ford, and Time Inc. He has built the creative departments for two major production and rental companies as well as authored their business plans, loan documents, and business development efforts. He regularly serves as a creative and business consultant to several start-ups and advertising/media agencies. Jonathan Tessero plays fine Yamaha Grand Pianos at home, in the studio, and everywhere else someone will let him touch one.
Lisa Shriver (Musical staging) Broadway: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Farnsworth Invention, The Story of My Life, Ring of Fire. Off Broadway: Into the Woods (Fiasco Theatre Co, Lortel nomination for Outstanding Choreography), Fetch Clay Make Man (NY Theatre Workshop). Regional: Caesar and Cleopatra, The Tempest (both w/Christopher Plummer). Film: A Beautiful Mind, Hysterical Blindness, A Christmas Carol w/Jim Carrey. Associate Choreographer: The Polar Express, Mixed Nuts w/Steve Martin, Center Stage. TV: “A Very Murray Christmas” w/Bill Murray (Director: Sofia Coppola), “Broad City,” “The Detour.” Other: Phish’s NYE concert at Madison Square Garden; Busch Gardens, Disney Cruise Line. Special thanks to her agent, Max Grossman; and, especially, Brian and Viola.
Ben Cohn (Music Director/Arranger) is currently the music director for Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway. He is also Clay Aiken's music director. Most recently, he was the assistant conductor and pianist for Wicked. Other Broadway credits include: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Woman in White, In My Life, and Wonderful Town. He has also served on the music departments during the developmental stages of many shows including The Book of Mormon, 9 To 5, Finding Neverland, and Anastasia. Ben is the music director and arranger for several artists including Stephanie J. Block, for several theme park live shows including Busch Gardens and Disney World, and for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Ben also works as a songwriter and composer and has several published choral pieces.
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.
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.
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, from only $39, are available online at Telecharge.com, by phone at 212-239-6200, and in person at the Imperial Box Office.
For more information, please visit rubenandclay.com.