Full scale Broadway musical ‘Rock of Ages’ invades the Boardwalk at Caesars
Matt Ban: (Laughs) The good thing about Rock of Ages in general is that it is just pure fun from start to finish. It’s a jukebox musical with all of the best hair metal songs of the ‘80s. It’s a fun story about two kids finding love on Sunset Boulevard and the craziness that surrounds the [rock] lifestyle. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but it has some tender moments. All the songs people hear are songs they will recognize and have a connection to.
ACW: Has this production been on tour?
Matt: This, we’re coming off a nine-week stay in Chicago.
ACW: Tell us about your character and how he’s involved in the story.
Matt: He owns the bar where all the action of Rock of Ages takes place. It is an old institution of the Sunset Strip. It’s where a lot of famous musicals got their start, one of them being Stacee Jaxx, the Tom Cruise role in the movie. My journey in the show is trying to save my bar and the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle from a German businessman who wants to shut down the Strip and turn it into a Times Square tourist wonderland.
ACW: What era of music influenced you growing up?
Matt: I grew up with a lot of ’90s grunge music. I was born in 1987, so I missed a lot of the ’80s. This show is giving my generation a chance to experience the ’80s, which is great.
ACW: Have you been to Atlantic City before?
Matt: Oh my God yes. I did a show in Atlantic City at the beginning of my career at the Tropicana [Footloose], so I am very excited to be back because I love Atlantic City. It’s such a fun place. I think this show is going to do so well there — it’s exactly the type of environment where this show should thrive.
ACW: Do you have a favorite song that you do in the show?
Matt: I’m a Jersey guy so I’m obligated to say I love all the Bon Jovi music. My favorite part of the show, I sing a duet with the narrator of the show, Lonny, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling,” an ode to their bromance. The kid who plays Lonny [Justin Colombo] and I have become very good friends so we have a lot of fun out there.
ACW: Is there a particular song or moment where the audience goes completely crazy?
Matt: There are a couple of times and it is very palpable. When the guitar riffs for “Wanted: Dead of Alive” start and of course at the end of the show when we finish with “Don’t Stop Believin.’” People start screaming and clapping. By the end of that number almost everyone is on their feet. — Lori Hoffman
Rock of Ages
Where: Caesars Circus Maximus Theater
When: Now to Sept. 2. Tues.-Fri. 9pm; Sat. 5 & 10pm; Sun. 9pm
“We didn’t speak to each other for awhile. But it was inevitable that we would have some contact eventually since Dan and Justin are brothers.”
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall
Rush to the Taj