Rock of Ages starring Noel Sullivan arrives at the Bristol Hippodrome in July
Updated 1:59pm Thursday 26th June 2014 in Theatre By Alexandra Womack, senior reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury
AS one fifth of Popstars band Hear’say he thrilled teenage audiences in the early noughties, now Noel Sullivan has ditched the pop and is taking on some of the biggest rock songs ever written.
The singer and actor has just embarked on a UK tour of cult musical Rock of Ages, based on the original musical and legendary 2012 film, which sees him stepping up to the mic for the likes of 80s power hits Don’t Stop Believin’, Here I Go Again and The Final Countdown.
“It is all consuming,” the 33-year-old told the Gazette. “The tour started in May and once I get started in it, I don’t really stop.
“My life at the moment revolves around Rock of Ages, it is such a big thing and you do need to look after yourself so I am trying to rest in the day ready for each evening.”
Noel plays aspiring singer Drew, who works at LA’s famous Bourbon Club, but suffers from dreadful stage fright until he is helped by fellow wannabe singer Sherrie Christian. The pair fall in love but Drew is soon led to believe Sherrie has slept with rock icon Stacie Jaxx, a character made infamous by Tom Cruise’s performance in the film, who is staging a gig at the club to help save it from financial ruin.
“As with every good musical, love doesn’t run smoothly,” said Noel.
“It has about 30 of the best 80s power ballads in there but what people don’t expect is it is a comedy show.
“It is a paper thin plot which doesn’t take itself too seriously. I like it because it takes the mickey out of itself. People come expecting one thing and they get more than they expected.”
Noel, who admits he has never watched the film, added: “When I got the job I made a promise to myself not to watch it as I don’t want to be influenced by it.
“I get to sing huge rock songs which you just don’t get to hear played live any more. They are played on local radio but we have a stonking rock band on stage and some of the best singers in the West End.
“My favourites are Here I Go Again at the end of the first half and we finish with the Journey version of Don’t Stop Believin’.”
The Cardiff-born former Popstars winner, who has starred in a host of top musicals including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Grease and We Will Rock You, said he cannot wait until the tour arrives at the Bristol Hippodrome on Monday, July 7.
“We are not going to Cardiff until October so this is the closest we will be to home so far,” he said. “All my family and friends are coming along.
“For me the hippodrome is one of the best theatres in the country. It takes me back to being a kid when we didn’t have the Millennium Centre.”
Of his career so far in musical theatre, he said: “I am really lucky.
“I have worked in theatre for 12 years now and been in some of the best shows. It has been a bit of a slog to get here but it was well worth it.
“Every job I get is a bonus. You have to audition eight or nine times so when you get the job it is a joy.”
He said audiences were ‘going nuts’ for the Rock of Ages tour so far and encouraged everyone coming to see the Bristol show to dig out their shoulder pads and faded denim jackets.
Rock of Ages, also starring Ben Richards, comes to the Bristol Hippodrome from July 7 to 12.
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