Justin Guarini’s Next Act

The original American Idol also-ran—who’s starring in Media Theatre’s upcoming production of Chicago—on the Shore, his stint on Broadway, and the little guy who’s been keeping him up at night

Photography by Matt Beard

Where you’d be without American Idol: It’s a double-edged sword. As much as the show gives you exposure, it can really be a detraction to some people in the entertainment business. But I got to show what I could do.

How you landed the role of Will in Green Day’s American Idiot: Uh, I auditioned. … So sad that it closed.

Whether it’s a major stretch for you to play Billy Flynn in Chicago: He’s usually played by someone older, but in American Idiot, I played a punk-rock kid who does drugs all day, which isn’t me at all.

Number of times you had been to Media prior to Chicago: Many. I have family there. In fact, my uncle’s law office is a block from the theater. Many Christmases.

Summer vacation plans: Hopefully, Wildwood.

What you missed most about Philly during your seven years in L.A.: The quality of the populace. I’m happy to be back in Doylestown.

Whether you’re getting any sleep with a newborn in the house: Not at all. I’ve been commuting to New York. I’m in bed at midnight or 1 a.m., up with the baby a couple of times, and then up again at six. But he’s worth it.

What you thought of Tony winner Book of Mormon: I haven’t seen it. I was working so much, and now—well, it’s impossible to get tickets.

Justin Guarini stars in Chicago at the Media Theatre, opening September 28th.

This article originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of Philadelphia magazine.