He was born in Georgia and lives in Pennsylvania, but Justin Guarini’s spiritual home is Broadway. “I was probably 11 when I saw ‘Les Miz,’ ” the first “American Idol” runner-up tells BARBARA HOFFMAN. “I remember being so blown away, I wanted to get into that genre!” He did. After “A.I.,” he played five Broadway shows, the latest of which is the a cappella musical “In Transit.” Here’s where you’ll likely find the 38-year-old, his wife Reina, and their children, ages 3, 5 and 11, on the weekends.
We love taking our kids to Bryant Park to go ice-skating. The big challenge is getting them into their skates, off the benches and onto the ice without anyone falling down and breaking anything. Once you get them on the ice, it’s easy. And it’s so beautiful there — you’re literally [skating] in the middle of Manhattan, surrounded by the library and all those tall buildings. Afterward, I love to spoil them at Serendipity. It’s not near there, but it has frozen hot chocolate. I went to college here [the School for Film and Television] in the early aughts, and friends of mine would meet up and [we’d] treat ourselves to the most ridiculous desserts. I felt like I was in “Happy Days”! It’s really nice to be able to do that so many years later with my family.
There’s this lovely new spot called Blake Lane. My wife and I were on the Upper East Side on one of those rare times we were without children, and I went on Yelp and this came up. We got the poke bowl, which has cubed, sushi-grade tuna with black rice and strips of seaweed, and a large stack of pancakes topped with raspberries. Everything’s organic and unbelievably fresh.
I used to go to the Virgin store in Times Square and listen to some brand-new music — oh, that was my heart! Ugh, it’s not there anymore. But there’s this bar, the Village Underground, where you can literally sing with a live band, [but] “No reggae!” They refuse to do reggae. I love seeing all these people come in and sing.
You know where I’ve always gone for my hair? Rick Caroto. He’s the head of hair departments on Broadway, and I go to whatever theater he’s in — I like to stay close to my people. I did “Romeo and Juliet” with him, and now he’s doing Glenn Close’s hair [during] “Sunset Boulevard.” It’s nice, because I get to see some theaters I haven’t played in, and I get to see my friends. And also get a great haircut!
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