Rock of Ages is the combination of music from the ‘Metal Bands’ of the 1980s and Broadway. It is a jukebox musical, using songs from different artists that are fitted into an original storyline. It includes music by David Lee Roth, Daniel Dee Snider, and Jon Bon Jovi among others, Rock of Ages comes ‘moshing’ into the 5th Avenue Theatre through February 24th. Get tickets and more info here.
Eric Andrews-Katz: Who were your earliest influences in becoming a performer?
Nik Hagen: I think the base influence has definitely been my mom. I grew up with her choreographing musicals, for high school productions and within the community, and putting her kids into musical theatre camps. She raised us with a love for music and theatre.
Andrews-Katz: What was the show that gave you the ‘theatre bug’?
Hagen: I’d say it was my sixth-grade production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I was Snoopy.
Andrews-Katz: You have experience in ballet, jazz, modern dance,
Hagen: No. I’m really bad with favorites. I love jazz; it’s high energy and applicable to so many different things. I love using tons of energy and sweating after a number.
Andrews-Katz: Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical using songs from ‘Metal Bands’ of the 1980s. How do these songs (not written for a musical) fit into the storyline?
Hagen: The book writers have done an exceptional job of mashing up different songs to create new layers of meaning within the music. They’ve smartly named places and people to correspond with certain songs. Any classic rock lover will know some of the songs that are coming up, from the different character names. They’ve picked songs that can speak to audiences on different levels.
Andrews-Katz: You have performed in both classic musical (Into the Woods) and jukebox musicals (Mamma Mia! and Rock of Ages). What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of a jukebox musical over an original score?
Hagen: I think with a jukebox musical, you run into a couple of lyrics that causes audiences to tilt their heads a little bit, for the sake of preserving the original song lyrics. It’s not always a perfect fit. I think that Mamma Mia! Set the level.
Andrews-Katz: Does the music from this era hold any nostalgia for you?
Hagen: I didn’t think it would. I’m mostly a child of the 1990s, but I have two older siblings. There were definitely moments, when going through the score, that I got pangs of nostalgia when I didn’t think I would.
Andrews-Katz: How would you finish this sentence? “Rock of Ages? I saw the movie and….”
Hagen: (He chuckles) I haven’t seen the movie, but from what I understand – it isn’t very good. I’ll go with “and… It’s a guilty pleasure, but the stage production is nothing like the movie”.
Andrews-Katz: In Rock of Ages you play Franz, the son of the developer wanting to bulldoze the Sunset Strip. What motivation do you use to find your character
Andrews-Katz: How are you and Franz similar and how are you different?
Hagen: I think new
Andrews-Katz: If you could play any role – regardless of limitation – what role would it be and why that role?
Hagen: (He chuckles) I did say I didn’t like favorites. Honestly, I would love to play Cinderella from Into the Woods. I think she is one of my favorite roles and her music is my favorite from any musical score. “Steps of the Palace” is one of the most brilliant songs. I love that show, and I love her moments in the show. The role would be delightful, AND you get a gorgeous dress!
Rock of Ages first appeared on Broadway on March 17, 2009. After 2328 performances. It closed on January 18, 2015. Originally starring Constantine Maroulis, the show was nominated for 5 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) during the 2009 season. A film version was released in 2012 starring Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, and Catherine Zeta Jones.