BWW Interviews: Noel Sullivan and Ben Richards Of ROCK OF AGES!

Noel Sullivan and Ben Richards are excited. In fact, it's amazing how chipper they are bearing in mind how hard they're working - and bearing in mind they're spending their weekends in technical rehearsal for the new UK tour of Rock of Ages.

Richards, a West End veteran, admits to being new to the show, in which he plays Stacee Jaxx.

"I'm a Rock of Ages virgin - I hadn't seen the show or the film, although I'd seen a couple of clips," he says.

"It's a party show - a night of debauchery!" laughs Sullivan, eager to take on the challenge of the role of Drew. "It's something that people of a certain age will love, with anthemic songs - it's silly and doesn't take itself too seriously."

Richards may not have known the show, but he was very familiar with the songs.

"I grew up on it! I'd go round my mate's house and listen to AC/DC and the like - but the show isn't just about the big rock numbers, there are some great power ballads too," he says.

Both have been associated with two other rock-themed shows that have been making the theatrical news headlines recently. Sullivan has been on tour and in town with soon-to-close We Will Rock You ("an amazing experience"), which he describes as "a turning point in my career".

"I'm gutted it's closing," he confesses.

And Richards was part of the original West End production of Saturday Night Fever, soon to be revived as an actor-musician tour.

"I've done that choreography! I'm not sure how it'll work as an actor-musician show, but it'll be interesting," he says. "But if Robert Stigwood has put his faith in it, it'll be amazing."

And in the meantime, the pair continue to rehearse (Richards is gleeful that his role is less vocally taxing than Sullivan's: "I have songs that are great and much easier to sing!") and are looking forward to relocating up to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, where the tour begins. In fact, they're so excited they're referring to the city as "Manc Vegas".

It sounds like the tour is going to be one big party.

The UK tour of Rock of Ages opens in Manchester in May.

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From This Author Carrie Dunn

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