BWW Interview: Jessica Driver on Her Journey to Landing A Lead in the Upcoming ROCK OF AGES
The iconic ROCK OF AGES bursts onto the Montecasino Teatro stage later this year bringing the 80s alive and boasting top local talent. This production celebrates the rock musical's 10th Broadway anniversary this year, with newcomer Jessica Driver celebrating her first starring role as small-town rockstar wannabe Sherrie.
BWW: Congratulations on landing your first lead role! Tell us a bit more about your background and performance history.
Jessica: I grew up in Johannesburg and studied performing arts & musical theatre at Stageworx Performing Arts School, where I obtained my Trinity Guildhall LTCL Diploma. I have always had a passion for performing and music which started from the age of 6 with dance classes.
What drew you to auditioning for ROCK OF AGES?
Jessica: I have always loved this show since I watched the movie and saw the live production for the first time. What really drew me was the 80's music, the characters and the storyline.
What do you like most about playing Sherrie? Do you see any similarities between the two of you?
Jessica: What I love most about playing Sherrie is that she is a dreamer who never gave up on her dreams and made them a reality. I can relate myself to her as I have always had a dream to be in a big scale musical - which has now become a reality for me!
Are you at all intimidated by your leading role? How do you help yourself overcoming any nerves?
Jessica: Most definitely, because I want to portray her to the best of my ability and relating to her will help me achieve that. To overcome any nerves, I get into the mental space of my character; Jessica leaves the building and it's just Sherrie.
If you could only choose one, which number are you most looking forward to performing?
Jessica: The number I am most definitely looking forward to performing is "Don't Stop Believing". This number has been one of my favorite songs since I was a little girl. I remember my parents and I singing at the top of our lungs and dancing in our living room. I'm looking forward to having fun on stage with the cast to this number.
If you had to sum up ROCK OF AGES in one sentence, what would it be?
Jessica: This is a journey of finding love whilst singing some of the greatest rock music ever written.
What advice would you give for other aspiring local performers like you aiming for their big break?
Jessica: No matter what you must stay focused, work hard and believe in yourself. Always remember everyone's journey is different.
Lastly - with your first leading role looming - what other dream roles do you hope to play in your future?
Jessica: I aspire to play the roles of Sophie in MAMMA MIA, Jenna in WAITRESS, Lucy in JEKYLL & HYDE, Roxy in CHICAGO and Elle Woods in LEGALLY BLONDE and many more.
Photo credit: Supplied
ROCK OF AGES will be performed at Montecasino Teatro Tuesdays to Sundays from 26 September to 20 October 2019. Tickets ranging from R150 to R350 can be booked through computicket.com, montecasino.co.za or the Montecasino Box Office.