Even at a young age, Lambert was unapologetically true to himself and, as a result, was a self-proclaimed “outsider.” Speaking with The Guardian in 2018, he opened up about the tough times he experienced growing up, saying, “When I was in middle school, I didn’t have any friends. I was a weird kid. Also, as a gay person, it takes your body changing to go: ‘Oh right, this is how I’m different.'” So he turned to musical theater for solace.
As he revealed during his 2009 American Idol audition, he started singing at 10 when his parents put him in theater. “I was hyperactive and I made a lot of noise and I had way too much energy,” he recalled. “So they had to find an outlet for me and I loved it.” He wound of loving the theater so much that, when he was older, instead of going to university, he accepted a 10-month gig singing on a cruise ship.
Once he was back on solid ground, he returned to his theater roots, snagging a role in The Ten Commandments: The Musical with Val Kilmer. In 2005, he joined the ensemble cast of Wicked‘s national touring production and was also slotted as Fiyero’s understudy. As he told TheaterMania, he did get to play the male lead at least once, but his performance quickly went awry when he “slid down” a rope and fell onto the stage, dropping his prop gun. Oops!