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Backstage Pass: Rock of Ages

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Backstage Pass To Rock of Ages

Credits: By: Greg Root
Photos: Allen Carrasco and The Hartman Group

While we were in New York City, we had the opportunity to go backstage at the historic Helen Hayes Theater to chat with the talented young stars of the wildly successful, five-time Tony Award-nominated musical, Rock of Ages.

The vibe in the crowd lining up for Rock of Ages feels more like a rock concert than a Broadway show, with a growing sense of anticipation as the audience waits for each night’s sold out performance. Billed as “Broadway’s Best Party” the show, written by Chris D’Arienzo, is carried along by a nonstop string of hard driving hits from the 1980s with songs by Styx, Journey, Bon JoviPat Benetar and other bands, expertly performed by the show’s amazing cast and accompanied by a lineup of journeymen rock musicians. The intimate venue is smaller than most Broadway theaters and every seat provides an excellent view. As a bonus, the acoustics are perfect for the shows rock & roll score. So get ready to party because this show rocks!

rockofages

 Entering through the cast entrance and stepping through the stage door is like walking into any one of the Sunset Strip’s hardest rockin’ nightclubs, circa 1987. Thanks to the highly detailed scenery, imaginative lighting and live band, the transformation from present day New York to a mid-80’s Los Angeles rock palace is quick and painless that takes place as soon as the house lights dim. While the crew made last minute adjustments to sound and lights, and the stage managers worked with other cast members, we sat down for a quick chat with Jeremy Woodard, Ashley Spencer and Justin Sargent to talk about their roles in the show, and how their paths led them to starring in “Broadway’s Best Party”, Rock of Ages.

The young actors were so at ease with Health Beauty Life Publisher Patrick Dockry, that the interview was more like a coffee table chat than a pre curtain interview. Despite the commotion and noise just below on the neon lit stage, they shared a bit of their journey from the time they were bit by the acting bug to what led them to Rock of Ages.

Jeremy Woodard is a “southern Gentleman” from North Carolina, and one of the show’s most seasoned cast members. As a veteran of several productions, Jeremy worked diligently to land the part of Stacee Jaxx in the long running play.  jeremy woodward Jeremy wanted to be an athlete before becoming an actor and never considered himself a singer prior to his ballad-belting turn in Rock of Ages. That’s a pretty amazing revelation from a guy that handles up to seven songs per performance.

ashley spencer Ashley Spencer like the character she plays, came from a small town in Middle America (Canton, Ohio) and auditioned for the show for a “long time” before landing her role as Sherrie Christian. Ashley dazzles as Sherrie, who comes to L.A. to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress, learns valuable life lessons, and falls in love along the way.

Justin Sargent grew up in the coastal town of New Port Richey, Florida and graduated from an Orlando, Florida college before succumbing to the lure of Broadway’s bright lights, after being discovered as a singing waiter. Following numerous auditions for Spiderman Turn off the Dark, Justin landed an understudy role in R.O.A., which lead to his costarring part as Drew Boley in the New York production. When asked what’s better the movie or the play, the cast laughingly replies that they’re both great but their show is a completely different experience and more like going to a party or a rock show than a movie.

‘‘I can only tell you that the show’s thrived for four years because the show’s really fun and the people took to it really quickly.” – Jeremy Woodard as Stacee Jaxx 

Like all good live theater, the bond between the cast and the audience is one that creates an enhanced experience. Rock of Ages benefits from that, of course, but also brings the audience into the participatory world of live rock and roll. The trio agrees the show is different but amazing every night, depending on what (and how much) the audience has had to drink, what happens with the live, on stage band and the overall mood of the audience

Helen Hayes Theater

With 597 seats, The Helen Hayes Theater is the smallest Broadway theatre and is a certifiable star in its own right with a pedigree that includes radio, television and numerous significant Broadway productions. The Theater is perfectly positioned for a night on the town in New York City. Just a block away from the glittering lights of Times Square in the heart of the Broadway Theater District, the Helen Hayes Theater is centrally located at 240 West 44th Street in Midtown. The stately Broadway landmark was originally used by CBS as a radio studio then converted to television by ABC in 1958 and renamed the Little Theatre. Dick Clark’s The Dick Clark Show originated there from February 1958 through September 1961 and during that period, ABC also broadcast the daytime show.

Who Do You Trust? starring Johnny Carson. It was briefly renamed the Winthrop Ames Theatre in 1964, then renamed the Little Theater in 1965 through 1983. After which it was named The Helen Hayes Theater. After that, the Helen Hayes Theater served as the broadcast homes for the Merv Griffin Show, The David Frost Show, and the game show, Beat the Clock. In April 2011, Colin Quinn’s one-man show, Long Story Short, was recorded there as an HBO special. After that, the theater became the New York home for Rock of Ages. If you get the chance, don’t miss Broadway’s best party, Rock of Ages at the Helen Hayes Theater.

Rock ON!


For more information or tickets to ROCK OF AGES on Broadway at The Helen Hayes Theater, visit www.RockOfAgesMusical.com

Photos: Allen Carrasco and The Hartman Group

Posted in: December 2012FeaturedTravel
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