From Rock of Ages to Jekyll & Hyde, Constantine Maroulis is no stranger to the Broadway stage. Now, he’s back at New World Stages working on a new musical about game-changing radio DJ Alan Freed.
We sat down with Constantine to talk a little about the show—and the ”father of rock and roll”—before it begins previews next month.
Broadway Inbound: How does it feel to be back on stage in a new musical?
Constantine Maroulis: Feels amazing to be back in the room where it happens. Nothing brings me more joy than creating a show from the ground up à la my experience with Rock of Ages! Oddly enough we are opening in the same space I started Rock of Ages in before transferring. We have a very talented team here at Rock & Roll Man and are so excited to bring this important story to the stage! These songs, story & cast are a dream!
BI: What drew you to Alan Freed as a character?
CM: He was disruptive. Although he could not perform the music, he loved it so much. Freed wanted to elevate the great artist of his time. He put himself on the line to do so… He sacrificed everything for what he believed in. He was anti-racist and punk rock before it even existed. It’s an honor.
BI: What’s it like to play an actual person as opposed to a fictional character?
CM: We are building this story with integrity while doing our best to honor his legacy. Flaws and all. He was a complex man. My job, fictional or other, is to play the arc of the story. Our writers have done a great job and I think audiences are going to truly embrace this piece with love and excitement! And yo the songs!!!
BI: How did you prepare for the role?
CM: I have been with the show for some time in development and being a part of the process has been very special to me. Having met some of Freed’s surviving family has been informative. Some great books and films from the era including his own films. The audio shows are rich with inspiration as well. My mother attended Freed shows in Brooklyn as a teen. Can’t wait for her to see it! She’s in her 80s now! She won’t like me saying that.
BI: What do you like to do around the city for fun?
CM: I was born in Brooklyn and my roots to NYC are deep. I love seeing shows, especially live music. Yankee games and runs in the park with my daughter are my fave as well! And the best PIZZA!
BI: What do you think Alan would pick?
CM: He would love to see the unsigned bands/artists at places like Rockwood Music Hall and Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side & all the cool spots in Brooklyn! Maybe we could work together to start a label!!
BI: Rock & Roll Man features a number of classic hits, as well as new music from Gary Kupper. What's your favorite song from the show?
CM: Gary has done some amazing work here. His experience playing with Chuck Berry and many of the greats of this era has been huge. His songs and lyrics really fit the era while complimenting the catalog songs. “Playin’ Music” is my jam. Freed’s first song. He sings about his hope to get back to where he was and the love for the artists/movement he created. It slays.
BI: There are so many shows to see in NYC, why is Rock & Roll Man not-to-be-missed?
CM: Honestly, I don’t think anyone has ever successfully woven incredible catalog songs from the mid-century and original music like this so well before. It’s a brand new exciting musical… Especially the chance to see it off-Broadway before a potential transfer or commercial run somewhere else… I think supporters of mine that have seen me in other Broadway shows, on “American Idol,” or on tour will truly be surprised at the very different character I’m playing in this piece… I’m putting my heart and soul into this like never before. Hope to see you there!!
Thank you, Constantine, for finding the time to talk to us while preparing to open this fantastic new show! Visit the show page to get your tickets to Rock & Roll Man, and get ready to step into rock and roll history!