Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Rock of Ages" TV Appearances, Special Guests...and an Award or Two!

Hey, Rockers!

Lately, there have been some awesome TV appearances by the "Rock of Ages" cast, some megawatt stars of tv, film and rock and roll visiting the show...and a cast member has been recognized a recent appearance in another production (but just got the award). So kick off your heels and scrape off the makeup (you too, ladies!), get comfortable...and away we go!

First of all, your friends here at The Cry of the Strip want to make sure that just in case you're totally retro and haven't gotten one of those fancy TiVo things, you still get to catch two AWESOME appearances by the cast of "Rock of Ages" and some very special guests.

First, on Monday April 27th, "Rock of Ages" stars Constantine Maroulis and Amy Spanger joined legendary rockers Tommy Shaw of Styx and Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon at the CBS Early Show. Amy and Constantine were interviewed to promote "Rock of Ages."

Later, they joined Tommy and Kevin on the CBS Early Show stage as they performed their new single "Can't Stop Rockin" (also the name of the Styx/REO Speedwagon / 38 Special tour, which kicks off May 12th).

On Wednesday, April 29th, the cast and band of "Rock of Ages" made some rock and roll dreams come true as Regis Philbin donned some leather and studs, learned "metal hands" and got in touch with his inner rock star during Broadway Week on "Live with Regis and Kelly."

What's even more amazing - "Reege" isn't the only celebrity with the desire to hang out in the Bourbon Room! "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris, 80's icon (Batman? Beetlejuice? MR. MOM!?!?!?!?) Michael Keaton, legendary rocker Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees and "Lost" star Matthew Fox have all stopped by "Rock of Ages" in the past week. Michael Twittered about the fun he had at the show, and both Neil and Matthew sang the shows praises on various talk shows...word is getting around!

Last, but certainly not least, we'd like to send a special "way to go" out to cast member Tad Wilson on his winning his first professional theater award this past week. Tad was recognized as Best Actor in a Musical by SALT (Saratoga Area Local Theater) for his performance as Jean Valjean in the Merry-Go-Round production of "Les Miserables".

One final note to close out this mega-sized blog post - the "Rock of Ages" cast album was recorded yesterday! A release date is tentatively set for late May.

Rock on,

Miss Lizzy

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Local Radio and NATIONAL TV Appearances for Rock of Ages Cast!

Hey, Rockers!

Here's some breaking news...cast members from "Rock of Ages" will be making radio and TV appearances in the next week and we want you guys to have all the details!

Thursday, April 23rd -
Constantine Maroulis ("Drew") will be interviewed on the following radio shows:
Q104.3 FM - "Jim Kerr Rock and Roll Morning Show" 7am (Eastern)
103.5FM 'KTU - Interview at 8:30am (Eastern)

Monday, April 27th-
Amy Spanger ("Sherrie") and Constantine Maroulis ("Drew") will be interviewed on The CBS Early Show outside at 8:30am (Eastern). REO Speedwagon and Styx will also be on hand to perform "Can't Fight This Feelin'," "Too Much Time On My Hands," and their new single "Can't Stop Rockin'." The powers-that-be at ROA HQ are asking fans to "bring your lighters, make kick-a$$ signs, and rock out with us!" For details on how to join the fun on Monday at CBS, go here.

Tuesday, April 28th -
REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin and Tommy Shaw of Styx will be interviewed live on FOX’s national morning show “The Morning Show w/ Mike & Juliet” and will play teasers of “Can’t Fight This Feelin'” and “Too Much Time On My Hands” and perform a 2-minute version of “Can’t Stop Rockin’”. Clips from "Rock of Ages" will be shown and Tommy and Kevin will talk about the show.

Wednesday, April 29th-
"Live with Regis and Kelly" paid a visit to "Rock of Ages" and this trip to the Sunset Strip will be broadcast on Wednesday, April 29th!

Rock on!

Miss Lizzy

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rock of Ages "Class of 2009" - Katherine Tokarz!

Hey, Rockers!

You know what? I just can’t sit here at The Cry of the Strip HQ and let the new guys in the cast have all the fun answering my questions!

So with that in mind, I would like to introduce to you the lady who brings Sherrie’s dream self to life and goes in-depth with Stacee as Constance Sack (of Kerrang! Magazine)…Katherine Tokarz!

(that's Katherine on the right and yours truly on the left)

1. Full Name: Katherine Denise Tokarz

2. Nickname(s): Kat, Big Kat, Kasha, Tokes

3. Role(s) in “Rock of Ages”: Ensemble / Dream Sherrie / Constance Sack

4. Song you most looking forward to performing in the show: “Don't Stop Believin'”

5. Funniest / most embarrassing moment in the run of the show so far: I've already fallen a couple of times onstage but my favorite was an almost" moment. I was running onstage for a “protestor” scene and I almost did an old-school banana-peel-slip-fall....but I saved it. In response I made the "Safe" motion that umps do in baseball. Everyone laughed and I felt invincible for a couple of seconds! :-)

6. In “
Rock of Ages,” Drew’s a barback, Lonny’s a sound engineer and Sherrie’s a waitress. If you weren’t about to be in a hit musical on Broadway, what would you be doing for a living? I would be traveling somewhere and writing.

7. Have you ever seen one of the artists with a song in "
Rock of Ages" in concert? Yes If so, who? Night Ranger, who wrote “Sister Christian” …at the ROA opening night party!!!

Awesome answers, Kat! Stay tuned...more interviews on the way soon!

Rock on,

Miss Lizzy

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rock of Ages Nominated for Two Drama League Awards!

Hey, Rockers!

And the awards train keeps a-rollin' all week long!

This morning, "Rock of Ages" was nominated for two awards from The Drama League!

Congratulations to "Rock of Ages" on being nominated for Distinguished Production of a Musical and to Constantine Maroulis on his nomination for Distinguished Performance!

Constantine was also selected last month as an honorary co-chairperson of the Drama League Luncheon, which will be held May 15th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The winners of the Drama League Awards will be announced at the luncheon.

Rock on!!!!

Miss Lizzy

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rock of Ages - Two Outer Critics Circle Nominations!!!!

Hey, Rockers!

Awards season has started in the theater community and "Rock of Ages" has just earned two nominations from the Outer Critics Circle!

Congratulations to "Rock of Ages" on being nominated for Best New Musical and to Wesley Taylor on his nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Musical!

The winners will be announced on May 11th and the awards ceremony held at the legendary Sardi's Restaurant on May 21st.

Rock on!!!!

Miss Lizzy

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rock of Ages "Class of 2009" - James Carpinello

Hey, Rockers!!!

To get you guys out of your April 15th funk and make your day a little less taxing (ha ha!), your friends here at The Cry of the Strip proudly introduce you to the man who brings life to the llama-loving, waitress-wooing, hard-rocking bundle of ego known as "Stacee Jaxx"...James Carpinello!

1. Full Name: James Anthony Carpinello

2. Nickname(s): Carp, Carpy, my buddy's daughter calls me 'google eye!'

3. Role(s) in “Rock of Ages”: Stacee Jaxx and Sherrie's dad just long enough to sing 'Sister Christian'...Awesome.

4. Song you most looking forward to performing in the show each night: 'Every Rose'...favorite part of the show!

5. Funniest / most embarrassing moment in the run of the show so far? Someone at the stage door told me they had some socks to give me...was that a hint?

6. In “Rock of Ages,” Drew’s a barback, Lonny’s a sound engineer and Sherrie’s a waitress. If you weren’t in a hit musical on Broadway, what would you be doing for a living? I live in Los Angeles and have a production company, so probably working on one of our films. Or being a manny for my two kids!

7. Ever seen one of the artists with a song in "Rock of Ages" in concert? If so, who?
All of them. On YouTube.

8. If your life right now could be described with an 80's song title, what would it be? 'Caribbean Queen' by Billy Ocean.

Stay tuned for more interviews soon!

Rock on,

Miss Lizzy

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Rock of Ages" Opening Night Photo / Video / Blog Round-up!

Hey, Rockers!

The staff here at TCOTS have recovered from Tuesday night's marvelous mayhem and would like to share with you some fabulous video and photo footage from around the internet of the opening night of "Rock of Ages"!

We're also going to include some additional reviews and highlights from around the blogosphere for your reading enjoyment.

Photo Coverage: - Opening Night Party - Red Carpet Arrivals - Opening Night Curtain Call

New York Times Slideshow

WireImage - Opening Night Arrivals and Curtain Call

WireImage - Opening Night After Party

Getty Images - Opening Night Arrivals and Curtain Call

Getty Images - Opening Night After-Party

(Please note that the photo wire services listed in italics require membership to view full-size images and/or without watermarks - sorry!)

Video Coverage:

Broadway Beat

Rock of Ages Channel on You Tube - Opening Night

Reviews and Recaps from the Blogosphere:

Time Out New York

Theater Loop (Chicago Tribune)

GoldDerby (L.A. Times)


Blog Critics Magazine (Jon Sobel)

Oscar E. Moore (blog review)

Kul: That Sounds Cool Blog

Playbill on Opening Night - Night of the Drunken Fireflies

Shockhound Blog Review

Broadway and Me Blog

Ryan J Davis (blog)

James Sims (Sofa Snark Blog)

Mnet Blog

Yelp! Night at "Rock of Ages"

The Sexy Armpit Blog

Rock on!

Miss Lizzy

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Rock of Ages" Class of 2009 - Henry Aronson

Hey, Rockers!

Here we go with the first post-opening-night ROA Class of '09 Q&A...

May I introduce to you the show's metal maestro...the musical director of Arsenal...Henry Aronson!

1. Full Name: Henry Aronson

2. Nickname(s): None

3.Previous shows: Oy! (Broadway only, in chronological order): Mail, Starmites, Prince Of Central Park, Tommy, Rent, Parade. Saturday Night Fever, Rocky Horror Show, Little Shop of Horrors, Good Vibrations, In My Life, The Times They Are A-Changin', Grease, Cry-Baby.

4. Song you’re most looking forward to performing in the show: “Don't Stop Believin’” -- I look forward to the charge of audience emotion every night.

5. Funniest moment for you in the show so far: My wig.

6. In “Rock of Ages,” Drew’s a barback, Lonny’s a sound engineer and Sherrie’s a waitress. If you weren’t about to be in a hit musical on Broadway, what would you be doing for a living? Dog Walker

7. What is the most difficult aspect of being a “Broadway conductor” and “rock keyboardist” simultaneously? Smart question! Surrendering to the id of playing while staying tuned in to the superego of watching for and giving cues.

Rock on!

Miss Lizzy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rock of Ages Review Roundup - It is a HIT!!!!!!

Hey, Rockers!

Well, opening night has come and gone...and now the press has spoken...

AND THEY'RE DANCING IN THE AISLES! "Rock of Ages" is a HIT, folks! From coast to coast, local newspapers to international wire services, the praise is rolling in like a sleek tour bus for the newest smash on the Great White(snake) Way!

As a service to our loyal groupies here on TCOTS, we would like to present to you a a one-stop shop for your review-reading pleasure...

Print media:

New York Times

Daily Variety

New York Daily News

Village Voice

AM New York

The Hollywood Reporter

Broadcast Media:

NY 1

Theater-related Web Sites:

Talkin' Broadway

Theatermania - Word of Mouth

American Theater Web

Wire Services:

Associated Press

Rock on...and GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!!!

Miss Lizzy

Monday, April 6, 2009

TCOTS website upgrade

Our main website has just been overhauled for easy expansion now that we expect ROA to keep growing and growing way beyond our original conceptual limits. Expect a lot of new fan fun stuff.

We are here to serve you the fans and you the cast and crew of ROA too! Have any ideas or suggestions? Send them along!

Out new section will be fan art (can you draw ROA characters?), fan photos (yes that means you) and fan writing (ROA slash fan-fiction anyone?)

send everything to

-the webmaster

Super Awesome Ultimate Opening Night Contest Winner Announced!

Hey, Rockers!

As you all know, "Rock of Ages" is reliant on the participation of and enjoyment felt by their audiences each and every night.

Celebrating the bond between "Rock of Ages" and its diehard "Groupies", the powers that be have announced the winner of their Super Awesome Ultimate ROCK OF AGES Opening Night Challenge Contest!

Congratulations to Kris Gates on winning a killer opening night prize from "Rock of Ages" including front row tickets, party passes, limo, hotel and best of all, the opportunity to be immortalized with her photo on the set of ROA for the run of the show!

Hells, yeah!

Miss Lizzy

Rock of Ages Weekend News Recap!

Hey, Rockers!

Tomorrow is opening night of "Rock of Ages" on Broadway and we wanted to make sure that everyone is getting to see all the great press coverage the show's been getting!

From the L.A. Times to the local NBC affiliate in New York City...from New Jersey newspapers celebrating a hometown boy made good to the Fox Business Channel chatting up the show's producers, the word is out on the hottest show to hit the Great White(snake) Way in a long time!

Rock on!

Miss Lizzy

New York Times Piece on Rock of Ages

Songs to Mock and to Love

Published: April 2, 2009

IF the jukebox musical and the 1980s rock ballad are not direct siblings, they must surely share a common ancestor. Both tend to be bombastic and demand un-self-consciousness from their performers; both attract fans who mask their sincere affection behind a layer of irony. Both are easy punching bags for critics in their respective genres, and nobody is going to argue that Broadway needs more of them.

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Mitchell Jarvis, center, in the musical “Rock of Ages” at the Brooks Atkinson Theater.

So that’s a lot of people who might be appalled by the idea of “Rock of Ages,” an unrepentant jukebox musical that opens on Tuesday at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. With a libretto assembled from more than two dozen lighter-waving rock anthems of the Reagan era, from Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” to Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian,” the production arrives on Broadway with a lot of baggage, but also a charmed history. The show has already made it farther than anyone — including its creators — expected. And if “Rock of Ages” goes further still, it will be because of the artists whose relentlessly infectious songs would seem to be the biggest strike against it.

“My one luxury,” said its book writer, Chris D’Arienzo, “is that nobody has a real preciousness about Warrant or Styx.”

Like the people in his script Mr. D’Arienzo, 36, was one more transplant to Los Angeles who went to that city in search of stardom — in his case, from the small farming town of Paw Paw, Mich., where his first car was a diesel truck, and his neighbors included Jerry Mitchell, the future Tony Award-winning choreographer.

Growing up in the 1980s Mr. D’Arienzo was more a fan of punk rock and New Romantic bands than hair metal acts. “I actually tried to avoid that stuff,” he said, “because it was the music of the people that wanted to throw me into a locker.” But, as in most show business tales, Hollywood got him to change his mind.

In 2004 Mr. D’Arienzo was recruited by the producers Matthew Weaver and Carl Levin, who had successfully sold Universal Pictures an idea for a rock musical set in the 1980s, only to see the concept languish in development.

On a fateful drive Mr. Weaver and Mr. Levin happened to hear the 1981 power ballad “Don’t Stop Believing” by the band Journey and concluded that it would be just as potent on a stage as on their car radio. They rapidly put together a CD of like-minded rock songs and passed it to the director Kristin Hanggi to see if there was a show in there somewhere.

Ms. Hanggi, who was finishing the Off Broadway run of the pop musical “Bare,” agreed that there was. “The songs were organically telling their own stories, about culturally what rock ’n’ roll means to us and having permission to break free,” she said. “We knew that it would be self-aware, winking at the audience and including the audience inside the joke.”

Mr. D’Arienzo was persuaded too. “When I really looked back on the most important, nostalgic parts of my adolescence, they were defined by these songs that happened to be playing at the dance or in the car.”

In meetings at various Sunset Strip institutions, from rock clubs to coffee bars, Ms. Hanggi and Mr. D’Arienzo sketched out the show, about an ensemble of characters at a fictitious West Hollywood club called the Bourbon Room. There would be an aspiring rock guitarist and an aspiring actress who fall in love, a seduction scene set to Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” and a dance number to the tune of REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” inspired by the dream ballet in “Oklahoma!”

( “We’re rock music nerds,” Ms. Hanggi said. “But do I know every word of ‘Company’? Yes.”)

In 2005 a nascent version of “Rock of Ages” was performed at King King, a club on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, followed in 2006 by runs at Vanguard, a nearby club, and on a soundstage at Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood. Its cast members variously included Laura Bell Bundy (of Broadway’s “Hairspray” and “Legally Blonde”), James Snyder (Broadway’s “Cry-Baby”) and the pop singer Katharine McPhee.

Reviews were occasionally brutal — Backstage called it “possibly the worst theatrical production in the last several years” — but receipts were promising enough that in May 2006 its producers transferred it to Las Vegas for a weeklong run at the Flamingo.

That proved to be a mistake: “It was like performing for the cast of ‘Cocoon,’ ” Mr. Weaver said. Undeterred, the show moved to New York , where, with a cast anchored by the “American Idol” contestant Constantine Maroulis, it played Off Broadway from October through early January at New World Stages.

As usual, reviews varied. But the 499-seat theater was often sold out, attracting what producers said were ticket buyers seeking a boisterous concert experience rather than a genteel evening at the theater.

When movie rights were sold in December to New Line Cinema (the studio that produced the film adaptation of the “Hairspray” musical), a Broadway transfer for “Rock of Ages” became inevitable. Even in a barren economic environment the producers said they have encountered little difficulty capitalizing their Broadway production, whose initial budget they placed at $7 million.

This fund-raising success, they said, was due partly to the show’s subject matter, which attracted nontraditional investors. But they also acknowledged that their inexperience on Broadway made them oblivious to warning signs that might have discouraged more seasoned producers.

“We literally have horse blinders on,” said Scott Prisand, who is Mr. Weaver’s partner in the production company Corner Store Entertainment. “In our little world everything is awesome.”

As opening night approaches for the Broadway transfer, which stars Mr. Maroulis, Amy Spanger (“Kiss Me, Kate”) and James Carpinello (Broadway’s “Saturday Night Fever”), the producers have done all they can to play up its populist appeal: they have capped ticket prices at $99 and hired servers to provide drinks during the show.

Still, the creators understand that it will take much more than $10 cocktails to win over those theatergoers who are ready to consign the show to the dustbin of jukebox musical history, alongside “All Shook Up,” “Good Vibrations” and many others.

“I totally walk around town with my tail between my legs,” Mr. D’Arienzo said. “I totally get that people would, at first, find this to be a repellant notion. But that’s what I loved about the show.”

On the one hand, he acknowledged, a show whose first act concludes with its entire cast singing Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” would seem to have different ambitions from, say, “West Side Story.”

Then again, he said: “If I write something so ridiculous, maybe they’ll never make another jukebox musical again. Maybe that’s good too.”

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 7. ROA Is Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down

Rock of Ages The Musical Opening Night on Broadway!

April 7, 2009, 6:45pm Brooks Atkinson Theater, NYC

(It's advised that you arrive around 6pm)

Be There!

The Final Countdown Begins!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Just a rockin' ROA thought...

Hey, Rockers!

Hmmm...Night Ranger is on Eddie Trunk's radio show at 8-9 PM Monday, April 6th. Wonder why they are in town?


Miss Lizzy

Friday, April 3, 2009

Constantine on Fox Business Channel 4/3/09 (TODAY!)

Hey, Rockers!

Sorry for the late notice...just got this from ROA HQ in the Bourbon Room kitchen...

"Rock of Ages" star Constantine Maroulis and producer Barry Habib will be interviewed live on the national television program Fox Business on the Fox Business Network at 2:40PM Eastern Time on Friday, April 3, 2009.

Hope some of you can catch it!

Rock on,

Miss Lizzy

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Entire Cast of ROA Quit and Join "Hair"

Broadway is baffled this morning by the news of the defection of the entire cast of the new smash hit musical Rock Of Ages to the revival of Hair.

ROA co-star Mitch Jarvis said "Well we just missed Will and Nova too much" referring to former ROA cast members Will Swenson and Nova Bergeron now playing in the cast of Hair. "And besides, I get to wear a wig" said Wesley Taylor.

Producer Matt Weaver was stunned. "When they said they wanted to go to Will and Nova, I thought they said Villanova [University], to do a show there for the students or something.

Producers are still begging the cast to reconsider, but in the meantime they have been temporarily replaced by the recently out of work company of Spring Awakening The Musical.

Rock of Ages "Class of '09" SPECIAL GUEST INTERVIEW!!!

Hey, Rockers!

With less than a week until the opening night that will forever turn Broadway into the rock-and-roll capital of the galaxy, we at The Cry of the Strip would like to bring you a very special guest interview...

Guys and gals, please welcome, direct from Uruguay...Stacee Jaxx's Llama!

Full Name: Dolly Llama

Nickname(s): Sweater Girl

Role in “Rock of Ages”: Alas, merely a cameo role as Stacee's love interest

Funniest Moment in Previews: Swapping out James' pre-"Don't Stop Believin" breath mint with Super Sour Power candies. He still hasn't forgiven me...

Audition Song: "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"

In “Rock of Ages,” Drew’s a barback, Lonny’s a sound engineer and Sherrie’s a waitress. If you weren’t about to be in a hit musical on Broadway, what would you be doing for a living? Tour guide.

Any pre-show rituals or strange contract demands? I must always have a bowl of my favorite candy on hand (hoof?)...Andes Thin Mints, of course.

Rock on! (and happy April Fools!)

Miss Lizzy