BWW Interview: Andrew Edwards & Heather Allen of ROCK OF AGES At Alban Arts Center
"Rock of Ages has been a bucket list show for me ever since I saw the movie," explained Andrew Edwards, who portrays Drew in the Alban Arts Center's upcoming production of the hit Broadway jukebox musical. "I realized it was basically an excuse to be a rock star and scream some awesome rock songs that I'd never otherwise be able to do. I knew that I had to participate in this show in any capacity I could."
Not only did Edwards get to participate, he was lucky enough to be chosen as the lead. Edwards headlines a cast of 18 talented performers who all share a love for the 80's.
Among those 18 is Heather Allen, who plays Sherrie opposite Edward's Drew. Like Edwards, Allen knew she had to be in the show as soon as auditions were posted.
"I was lucky enough to see Rock of Ages when the tour came through Pittsburgh and I knew from that moment I had to audition!" explained Allen. "I really enjoyed the show and the music was so fun."
Rock of Ages follows both Sherrie and Drew as they navigate the harsh realities of 80's era Los Angeles. Sherrie, determined to be an actor, heads out to LA in search of her dream while Drew, destined to be a rocker, works at a bar hoping to one day grace its famous stage. Both Allen and Edwards spoke about their characters and why they are important to the show.
"Drew is representative of all of us who had a dream but weren't quite sure how to achieve it," said Edwards. "His growth as a person and his relationship with Sherrie is integral to the story. He's a character we can all relate to on some level. He brings a lot of humanity to an otherwise over the top show."
"Sherrie is a young woman trying to find her way in life," explained Allen. "Almost everyone can relate to trying to follow your dreams and the obstacles we face."
Rock of Ages has ridden the wave of 80's nostalgia for over ten years and the production's amazing mix of 80's classics performed by a live band has remained one of its greatest draws. Edwards spoke about his favorite aspect of the 80's and how a famous rocker helped him find his edge.
"I wasn't born until 1996 so I don't have any first hand memories of the 80's, but my favorite band from that era is definitely Van Halen," explained Edwards. "I'm a drummer myself, so Alex Van Halen has always been a role model of mine and David Lee Roth really helped me find my inner rock star for this show."
Rock of Ages has long been considered one of the most successful jukebox musicals in history. Beginning as a small production in Los Angeles in 2005, Rock of Ages debuted on Broadway in 2009 where it stayed until 2015 and performed well over 2,000 performances. More recently the show has headed back into the public's eye with an off-Broadway revival and tenth anniversary tour. Throughout the years Rock of Ages has remained a mainstay of pop culture.
While the nostalgia of 80's music may play a large role in the show's popularity, it does help that Rock of Ages boasts a message that is relatable to all those who have ever had a dream.
"Rock of Ages is about the struggles we face trying to mature and find our way in life and also about fighting for what you believe is right," said Allen.
Edwards agreed, adding, "The biggest message that can be found in the story is that you don't have to be rich and famous to be happy and a success. Sometimes the most meaningful dreams are the ones that are right in front of us and if we don't stop and take notice then we could miss them."
As for the musical numbers littered throughout the high energy show, both Allen and Edwards were quick to cite their favorites.
"I have a couple of favorites," said Allen. "I like performing the song I Want to Know What Love Is as it is just a funny scene to perform. I also enjoy when the whole company gets to take the stage like in the numbers Here I Go Again and Don't Stop Believing."
"My favorite is definitely Oh Sherrie although Here I Go Again is a close second," explained Edwards. "Oh Sherrie was the bane of my existence coming into the rehearsal period because I'm not Steve Perry and it challenged the shit out of me. That ended up making it all the more satisfying when I nailed it for the first time. Here I Go Again just has so much energy that it's hard not to have a blast while performing it."
Both Edwards and Allen had a few words for potential audience members.
"We've all put an insane amount of work into this show and you'll be kicking yourself if you miss it," said Edwards. "We're the first theater in the state to do Rock of Ages and we really are pushing the boundaries for the area and doing a more adult themed show. If you want to relieve your glory days or you're like me and want to know what the 80's were like, then you can't miss this show. So peg those jeans, get that big hair, and come party with us!"
"The whole cast has worked extremely hard to put on an awesome show for all of you," said Allen. "We hope you can come and rock out with us!"
Show: Rock of AgesPerformance Dates:
Fri. Nov 15th 2019, 8:00 pm
Sat. Nov 16th 2019, 8:00 pm
Sun. Nov 17th 2019, 2:00 pm
Fri. Nov 22nd 2019, 8:00 pm
Sat. Nov 23rd 2019, 8:00 pm
Sun. Nov 24th 2019, 2:00 pmTickets: $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for children and senior. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking this link. Location: Alban Arts Center, 65 Olde Main Plaza, St. Albans, WV 25177
Director: Marlette Carter
Assistant Director: Natasha Allen
Musical Director: Mark Scarpelli
Assistant Musical Director: Grant Edward Jacobs