New York Premiere of "Rock & Roll Man": A Musical Tribute to DJ Alan Freed - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

New York Premiere of "Rock & Roll Man": A Musical Tribute to DJ Alan Freed

New York Premiere of "Rock & Roll Man": A Musical Tribute to DJ Alan Freed

Get ready to rock as the highly anticipated New York premiere of "Rock & Roll Man" takes the stage, featuring Tony Award®-nominee Constantine Maroulis and Emmy Award®-winner Joe Pantoliano. The musical extravaganza, which celebrates the life of trailblazing DJ Alan Freed, will kick off performances this Saturday, June 3, at 8pm. The grand opening night is scheduled for June 21, 2023, at New World Stages, Stage 3 (340 West 50th Street).

Joining Constantine Maroulis as Alan Freed and Joe Pantoliano as Leo Mintz/Morris Levy, the star-studded cast of "Rock & Roll Man" includes Bob Ari as J. Edgar Hoover (known for his role in "Bells Are Ringing"), Rodrick Covington as Little Richard (from the Broadway revival of "Once On This Island"), and Valisia LeKae as LaVern Baker (Grammy® and Tony Award® nominee for "Motown the Musical"). The talented ensemble also features JamontĂ© (from the "Hairspray" tour), Andy Christopher (Off-Broadway's "The Baker's Wife"), Autumn Guzzardi ("Rock of Ages"), Anna Hertel (Elon grad), Matthew S. Morgan (known for his performances in Vegas and national tours of "The Lion King"), Dominque Scott (Rock of Ages Tour), Eric B. Turner (whose latest single is "Ain't No Good"), Natalie Kaye Clater ("Dreamgirls"), Lawrence Dandridge (part of the "Ain't Too Proud" national tour), AJ Davis (Dreamgirls tour), and swings Joe Barbara ("Grease! on Broadway"), Chase Peacock ("American Idiot on Broadway"), and Bronwyn Tarboton ("Frozen on Broadway").

According to The New York Times, "Rock & Roll Man" features songs that have left an indelible mark on the nation's memory, representing the pioneering works of Alan Freed. The Berkshire Edge describes the musical as extraordinary, capable of blowing audiences away. Broadway World declares that tapping, clapping, and even singing along will be virtually impossible to resist. Nippertown raves that "Rock & Roll Man" will make your pulse race and have you clapping along ecstatically, promising a night of good rocking.

Winner of the 2019 Broadway World Berkshires Awards for Best Musical, "Rock & Roll Man" chronicles the incredible life of Alan Freed, the rebellious disc jockey who shattered boundaries and popularized the records that laid the foundation for rock music. Featuring an original score that includes genre-defining hits like "Rock & Roll Music," "I Put A Spell On You," "Great Balls of Fire," "Lucille," "Peggy Sue," "Jim Dandy," "Wake Up Little Susie," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Yakety Yak," "Maybellene," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," "Tutti Frutti," "Good Golly," and more, this edgy and inspiring new musical arrives in New York City following two critically acclaimed developmental productions at Bucks County Playhouse and the Berkshire Theatre Group.

"Rock & Roll Man" takes audiences through the last day of Alan Freed's life in a fever dream, where J. Edgar Hoover (acting as the prosecutor) and Little Richard (serving as the defense attorney) face off in a fantasy courtroom, with Freed's legacy hanging in the balance. Alan Freed brought the sound of rock & roll to the world, showcasing the talents of Black artists such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. He not only played their music and produced their concerts but also pioneered the integration of audiences during a time of racial segregation. Freed's mission was to unite people through their shared love of music, regardless of their backgrounds.

The infectious music of "Rock & Roll Man" features not only the iconic rock & roll classics created by legends like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, LaVern Baker, Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins but also includes original songs by Gary Kbut also includes original songs by Gary Kupper, known for his work on "Freckleface Strawberry The Musical" (Outer Critics Circle nomination).

The dynamic production showcases the creative collaboration of book writers Gary Kupper, Larry Marshak (editor of Night Beat Magazine and Rock Magazine), and Rose Caiola (known for her work on "Freckleface Strawberry The Musical" - Outer Critics Circle nomination). The musical is directed by Tony Award®-nominee Randal Myler, whose credits include "It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues." Stephanie Klemons, the Associate Choreographer and Global Dance Supervisor of the groundbreaking musical "Hamilton," lends her expertise as the choreographer. The musical direction is in the capable hands of Dave Keyes (from "Smokey Joe's CafĂ©") with music supervision and arrangements by Gary Kupper and Dave Keyes. Kenny Seymour, from the hit production "Ain't Too Proud," provides additional orchestrations and dance arrangements. The production boasts a talented creative team including Tim Mackabee (scenic design), Leon Dobkowski (costume design), Christopher Ash (projection design), Matthew Richards and Aja M. Jackson (lighting design), Ed Chapman (sound design), and John Miller (music coordinator). The casting is led by JZ Casting, Geoff Josselson, Katja Zarolinski, and Jimmy Larkin.

"Rock & Roll Man" is produced by the acclaimed Caiola Productions, a seven-time Tony Award®-winning company known for producing Broadway hits like "Once On This Island," "Dear Evan Hansen," and "The Color Purple." Executive Producer and General Manager is JRJ Productions LLC, led by Jessica R. Jenen (known for her work on "Company," "Into The Woods," and "Parade").

Tickets for "Rock & Roll Man" are now available for purchase on or by calling (800) 447-7400. Group sales of 10 or more can be arranged through Broadway Inbound or by calling 866-302-0995. The box office at New World Stages is open from Monday to Friday, with varying hours each day.

For more information about "Rock & Roll Man," including updates and behind-the-scenes content, visit the official website at

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