Translating Fox’s popular reality competition show “The Masked Singer” into a stage show took some contortions.
For one, they couldn’t have a cast full of celebrities dressed in costumes. That wasn’t financially viable. And there is no judges’ panel.
Instead, they hired one big name in British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield to host and sing several songs including her hits like “These Words” and “Unwritten.” Plus, they recruit one famous person in each city (mostly a person famous in that city) to dress up in one of the character outfits and have the audience guess who it is based on clues.
So far, in one city, they had “Masked Singer” alum Drew Lachey pop up, but in other places, it was a local opera singer, a local radio personality or a local news anchor.
Otherwise, professional dancers fill out popular past characters like Pepper, Queen of Hearts, Taco, Alien, Robot, Baby and Monster.
We spoke with Bedingfield while she was on tour with her husband and son in tow:
Her own “Masked Singer” experience on Fox as Pepper: “I was on the show. I was a wild card. They brought me toward the end of one of the seasons. And I’m really good friends with Nicole Scherzinger. I’ve written with Robin Thicke. And I know Jenny McCarthy. I was interested to see if they could guess who I was. Nicole knew who it was instantly. She knows my voice. We’ve sung together. I could feel her eyes burning through my costume!”
Making the costumes tougher: “We are using professional dancers. The costumes are made more robust so they can move better. It’s 50 shows. That’s a lot of wear and tear. I can’t believe they can move around they way they do. I could hardly see through my costume when I wore it.”
Bedingfield’s role: “I’m singing like nine songs, four of my own but lots of covers like ‘Purple Rain’ I love that song.”
What the show is like: “It feels more like being on Broadway. There’s a story line. I’ve never had dancers before while I sing. It’s new to me. There’s a live band. The visuals are spectacular!”
Favorite character: “People love Monster. He always gets a big cheer. The theme is the show characters come alive without humans inside. They find their own voice.”
The odd appeal of masks now that we’re sick of masks: “We have now all experienced masks and how much intimacy you lose when you wear one. But masks have been around for centuries and explored in history. Masks are very current and ancient at the same time. How much can we be our authentic selves when we are behind a mask? Do you even like me as that person?”
IF YOU GO
“The Masked Singer” live tour, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 26, $39.75-$89.75, Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. foxtheatre.org
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution including TV, radio, film, comedy and all things in between. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years. He loves tennis, pop culture & seeing live events.