The last three years have been a whirlwind for Amy Adams, the “American Idol” third-season finalist who’s now performing in the Broadway touring production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
The last time I caught up with her, in 2003, we were both young hometowners in Bakersfield, Calif.; she was an actress and jazz singer eking out her hobby in dive bars and dinner theater.
And then “Idol” happened.
The spunky gal with trademark red highlights and a perky, chopped ’do, who first stormed her way through the Dixie Chicks’ “Sin Wagon,” made it into the top 12 finalists — in the season that gave us winner Fantasia Barrino and sideshow curiosity William Hung.
Adams went on a grueling three-month tour with fellow “Idol” cast mates. Off the concert stage, she got married, got pregnant, took meetings with Disney and Nickelodeon television executives.
“I got an offer to do a recurring TV character, but then I was going to be a pregnant dorm (resident assistant),” she says, laughing, “and that just wasn’t going to work out.”
After the “Idol” tour, Adams says, “I swore I wasn’t going to do another tour again.” And she hadn’t planned on pursuing Broadway gigs for another decade, she figured.
But last year, producers from the “Joseph” tour called and offered her the part of the show’s narrator. She didn’t have to dance or do much actual acting, just sing a lot, and she could take her family on the road.
“I was sitting on the couch, seven months pregnant,” says Adams, who took the gig. “It was kinda cool, but it was kind of a fluke. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.”
As “Joseph” has worked its way westward — it opened in September in Milwaukee, and comes to Tempe’s Gammage Auditorium on Tuesday night for a one-week stint — Adams has earned largely favorable reviews for a role she calls “the singing tour guide” through the biblical story of Joseph from the book of Genesis.
With a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, “Joseph” takes wild comic liberties with the tale — the Pharaoh of Egypt is played with an Elvis Presley twist — and the score is a melting pot of rock, R&B, country and pop.
The show is a departure for Adams, who postponed recording a country album when she joined the tour, and it’s proved to be a vocal challenge: A vocal injury forced her to miss a few performances earlier this year.
But the singer says she’s learned invaluable lessons on the road from her co-star, Broadway actor Patrick Cassidy — half brother of David Cassidy (who played Joseph on Broadway in the 1980s). A veteran of the stage and touring, he’s been her go-to guy for career advice.
“I’ve been her chaperone and her confidante,” says Patrick Cassidy, 44, “in terms of what touring’s about.”
She replies: “There’s so much of it that I say, ‘Is this the norm? Is this what I should expect?’ He’s been a friend first and foremost.”
After the tour wraps in July, Adams will head back to her home in Bakersfield and start work on that country album. At that point, she says, she’ll probably lose the red hairdo, even if it might shock her “Idol” fans.
“She’s just at the beginning of her game,” Cassidy says. “If she makes the right moves, she can go far.”
‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. June 11
Where: Gammage Auditorium, 1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe
Information: (480) 784-4444 or www.asugammage.com