Justin Guarini, the Doylestown-raised singer who went from runner-up in the very first American Idol in 2002 to a career in recordings, Broadway, and regional theater, has agreed to take over the starring role in The New World, a world-premiere musical running Dec. 2 at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope. Stepping in for the injured Julius Thomas III, Guarini will play the lead for the entire run.
The New World is a musical comedy about the first Thanksgiving, which, lore has it, brought together the Wampanoag tribe with the Pilgrims in the year 1621. The lead role of Wampanoag chief Santuit was originally meant for Broadway vet Thomas (Porgy and Bess; Motown the Musical). But Thomas suffered an injury during rehearsals, minor but enough to sideline him. So the call went out to Guarini, who is on the theater’s board of directors and has starred there in productions such as Company and Cake Off. With only three days before opening night, he agreed to step in, made the tight turnaround, and was ready by opening night on Nov. 7.
It now appears Thomas will not be available for the rest of the run, and Guarini, mostly recently seen on Broadway in Enchanted, will be Santuit through Dec. 2. His co-lead as Susanna Standish (daughter of Miles) is Jillian Gottlieb of Linwood, N.J.
The New World. Through Dec. 2 at Bucks County Playhouse,
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