Ryan Seacrest-lookalike Josh Strickland will play the singing ape-man

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 09, 2005 12:00 PM

Josh Strickland, who competed during the Clay Aiken-Ruben Studdard second season of American Idol, has landed the coveted lead role as the titular ape-man in the upcoming Broadway musical version of Tarzan, the Walt Disney Company has announced.

The show will feature a score by Phil Collins, who is expanding the musical possibilities from the 1999 Disney animated film version, for which he wrote the score.

During his Idol stint, it was often said that Strickland resembled the show’s host, Ryan Seacrest. Strickland also appeared on Star Search 2004 and toured in the national company of Rent.

His Jane in the new show, which opens May 10 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, will be Jenn Gambatese, whose Broadway credits include the shows All Shook Up, Hairspray, A Year With Frog and Toad and Footloose. No word yet on who’ll play Cheetah.

“We hope to bring a fresh perspective to the Tarzan legend, and we think that we have found a wonderful cast to make these roles their own,” said Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions.