OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Indiana boyish talent ready to rock for Broadway tour

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2014-03-10T00:00:00Z 2014-03-10T12:15:08Z OFFBEAT: Indiana boyish talent ready to rock for Broadway tourBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Even when his "faux tattoos" fade, actor Joshua Hobbs still has three "real ones" of his own to complete his rocker look as singer Stacee Jaxx for the new national Broadway tour of "Rock of Ages," opening Tuesday in Chicago.

"My costume tattoos are suppose to last for 10 days, but they never do because of showering," said Hobbs, a Ball State University graduate who originally hails from Anderson, Ind.

"The long hail rocker wig and the tattoos help complete the character look. But it's up to me to lose the nice Indiana boy image to make Stacee come to life on stage. After the show, when fans are waiting outside to meet the cast, they usually don't even recognize me out of costume. It's not until they ask me to show off my abs that they are convinced that I'm the guy behind the show's bad boy of fictional bands."

Broadway In Chicago is hosting a return visit for a Phoenix Entertainment produced run of "Rock of Ages," which last played Chicago for a sit-down summer run at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place in Summer 2012, for a limited one-week engagement this week at Bank of America Theatre, 18 West Monroe, Tuesday through Sunday.

Set in 1987 on the famed Sunset Strip, a small-town girl named Sherrie, played in this tour by Shannon Mullen, is working as a bar waitress while chasing her career dreams serving wine coolers in L.A.'s most legendary rock club. Along the way, she meets a nice guy named Drew, being played here by Dominique Scott (who also played the role for Chicago's 2012 summer run), but falls for rocker Stacee Jaxx.

In an earlier run of "Rock of Ages," Hobbs played the nice guy character Drew.

"When the producers called me and said they thought I could do the Stacee Jaxx role, I was up for the challenge," said Hobbs, who admits he is now used to sporting black fingernail polish, which he no longer bothers to remove

Billed as "a hilarious, feel-good love story told through the hit songs of iconic rockers," the musical features favorite tunes from the decade of the 80s made chart toppers by Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Pat Benatar and Whitesnake.

"Rock of Ages" has toured worldwide as a smash hit with productions in Stockholm, London, Las Vegas while still rockin' on Broadway, embraced by all generations who enjoy the 28 classic rock tunes featured including "Don't Stop Believin'," "We Built This City," "The Final Countdown," "Wanted Dead or Alive," "Here I Go Again," "Harden My Heart," "Can't Fight this Feeling," "Renegade" and "I Want To Know What Love Is."

The tour is directed by Tony Award Nominee Kristin Hanggi and choreographed by Kelly Devine.

Performances this week are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with shows at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $18-$85 at (800) 775-2000 or BroadwayInChicago.com or rockofagesontour.com.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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