Drew Lachey is best known for his multi-platinum pop group 98 Degrees, which he joined with his brother Nick in 1995. But his work doesn’t stop there – In 2005 Drew made his way to Broadway and starred as Mark Cohen in Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical RENT, and then joined the cast of Mike Nichol’s award-winning production of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Other onstage work includes Corny Collins in Hairspray and the Dancing with the Stars tour, and then there’s the fact that he’s the Season 2 winner of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Now, I am, and always will be proud to be a Renthead, and I did own my fair share of 98 Degrees CDS, but, for me, the most impressive thing about Drew Lachey is that he’s unbelievably down to earth, gracious, and humble. And, on top of all that, he and his wife, Lea, run an arts education camp, Lachey Arts.
DL: I grew up going to a performing arts school, so from an early age on, I was learning about the arts. Even if you weren’t going into the arts professionally, you were going to be patron and you were going to appreciate it. I did want to be an artist at an early age, but then I didn’t want to be a starving artist and I joined the army, but the arts ended up finding me anyway.
MM: What can audiences expect from Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas?
DL:Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas is a very fun, inspiring story about second chances, redemption, and finding yourself. It’s a great film and a great story for the holidays.
MM: Just for fun, if we were to walk into your home, what books would permanently be on your bookshelf?
DL: Everything from Frank Sinatra’s biography, to The Artists Way, to Angels and Demons. I like Tom Clancy. The Greatest Generation by Tom Browkaw is another favorite; we read a lot of everything in our home.
MM: If you could offer one piece of advice to students in high school and/or college who wish to pursue a career as a singer/dancer/actor, what would that be?
DL: My wife and I run an arts education program, and one of the biggest pieces of advice that we give our students is to learn how to not be embarrassed. Don’t be scared. The only people who look foolish onstage are the ones who don’t give one hundred percent and who don’t go for it. In our classrooms, we try to build a safe place where students can take risks. I tell them that if they haven’t failed today then they haven’t tried hard enough. If you wan to hit that A, you have to keep trying until you get it. Don’t be scared to fail. When you fail is when you grow.
MM: In today’s economy, arts education programs are being cut. What reasons would you give to a politician and/or a school board for preserving the arts in schools?
DL: A school’s job is not only to teach a core curriculum, and to prepare for stand tests, but it’s vitally important to educate and foster well-rounded individuals. Not everyone’s going to be a mathematician or a lawyer or a doctor – we have to focus on raising well-rounded kids, not just kids that are going to pass the tests. The arts help that. Music, dance, and theater – they teach discipline. They foster creativity and thinking outside of the box. We have to focus on the arts programs, because if we don’t, we’re robbing our kids of their culture.
DL: I’ve learned from Broadway, I’ve learned from touring, I’ve learned from failures, I’ve learned from success. I’ve been fortunate to have been directed from Mike Nichols, and I always learn from the directors that I’ve worked with. Life has been my greatest teacher.
Thank you, Drew! And be sure to catch Drew in the UPtv Original Movie, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO CHRISTMAS, which airs Sunday, December 8th at 7 p.m. EDT, on “America’s Christmas Channel.”
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