He shares his thoughts on (and photos of) each one:
Hertz Kleinman and Franz Kleinman
Playing both the father and son characters is particularly hilarious as a swing. To have been so directly "on opposite sides" of each scene. One overbearing, the other meek and submissive. One yelling, the other apologizing... I have a love/hate relationship with myself. Franz is rainbows and butterflies, the wide eyed dreamer who just brings joy into every scene. I just turn on my “inner child” for this one. Hertz is the “squasher” of those dreams, I turn on my “inner drill sergeant.” I once had to play them both in the same week. Good times!
The busiest character in Rock of Ages. Aside from Lonny, easily the most difficult character for me to jump up and do. It's physically exhausting, as well as mentally, because he is the guy who does it all. Grab the cigarettes from behind the bar, then hand Lonny a beer, grab the cowboy hat, take the notepad from Andre, give Stacee Jaxx a beer... that all happens in about 15 seconds. That being said, it’s a real fun ride once you get it down, and the costume is amazing. Dennis Dupree
The chilled out, hippie bar owner. This one is a blast to play. Put on the sunglasses and platform shoes and sink down into it. To be able to watch Adam Dannheisser, who originated the role on Broadway, do this character every night is a joy in and of itself. He is so effortless, and his comic timing is impeccable. I just try to go out there and get a piece of that energy from him. Dennis has a great connection with the audience, and he is in on “the joke” along with them.
Here's another instance when I get to understudy the person who originated the role. Andre Ward is one of the funniest guys I have ever met, and I laugh on a nightly basis thanks to him. The Mayor for me is a sort of clueless “pion” in the show. Haplessly handing over the “entire sunset strip” to Hertz. Then switch entirely into the role of Ja'Keith, a talent scout who “discovers” Drew, the romantic lead. It is so much fun to be able to do so many different things in one night.
Our young hero. This is, hands down, the most fun role to sing in the show. He just wails his head off all night long. Songs like “High Enough,” “Waiting for a Girl,” “I Wanna Rock,” “Don't Stop Believin." I mean, what else could you want, right? I just love singing the big, crazy 80's rock ballads. That being said, it's very challenging, so a big old vocal warm-up is involved. But it's all worth it when “Oh Sherrie” kicks in. Classic. And in the end you get the girl... You can't lose.
This is in a two-way tie for my favorite role to play. When in life do you ever get to walk out on stage in a pair of white studded pants, a skin-tight red zebra print shirt and cowboy hat, and actually look GOOD? Add singing “Wanted Dead or Alive” and you have one happy evening performing on Broadway. I call this one my “opposite” track. Basically I go out and do the opposite of everything I would normally do in life as a person: See a girl... lick her arm. Stuff like that.
This is the other half of the two-way tie for my favorite role. First things first: Mitch Jarvis (original Lonny on Broadway) is a master. He is so hysterical I can't even handle it, it was a joy to watch him do it every night. Lonny is a crazy non-stop ride I'll tell ya! He gets shot out of a cannon at the start of the show and just keeps on going. It's one of those roles you need to warm up every inch of your body to do. I love the challenge of taking the audience through the show and setting the pace. It changes on a nightly basis, and playing Lonny reminds you how much the audience is a character in our show.
* The cast currently stars Emily Padgett as Sherrie, Dan Domenech (original national tour cast member), in his Broadway debut as Drew, Jeremy Woodard (original Broadway cast member) as Stacee Jaxx, Genson Blimline as Lonny, Adam Dannheisser (original Broadway cast member) as Dennis, Cody Scott Lancaster (original Toronto cast member) as Franz, Michele Mais (original Broadway cast member) as Justice, Josephine Rose Roberts (original Toronto cast member) as Regina and Paul Schoeffler (original Broadway cast member) as Hertz. Rounding out the cast are Tessa Alves, Joey Calveri, Tony LePage, Michael Minarik, Jennifer Rias, Andre Ward, Katie Webber and Emily Williams.
The musical comedy Rock of Ages borrows rock hits of the 1980s to tell the story of showbiz lovers in L.A. The score includes "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," "I Wanna Know What Love Is," "Here I Go Again," "Don't Stop Believin'" and more.
Rock of Ages is written by Chris D'Arienzo, directed by Kristin Hanggi and choreographed by Kelly Devine.
Rock of Ages is produced on Broadway and world-wide by Matthew Weaver, Carl Levin, Jeff Davis, Barry Habib, Scott Prisand, Michael Cohl, Reagan Silber, and Relativity Media.
For more information visit www.RockofAgesMusical.com.