Comedian Justin Lee Collins has been announced as the first cast member of
the forthcoming jukebox musical Rock Of Ages, which opens in all its stonewash jeaned glory at the Shaftesbury theatre this summer.
TV presenter Collins will return to the West End after making his stage debut in 2009 as Mr Cellophane in Chicago. Filmed as part of a series for Sky called JLC Is…, Collins starred in three performances after undergoing six weeks of intense voice training which should come in handy for the 80s-tastic musical.
Collins’s superior hair-growing ability is also a bonus for Chris D’Arienzo’s musical, in which The Friday Night Project host will play an ageing hippy and bar owner, Dennis Dupree.
Described by Time Out New York as “the Oklahoma! of 80s metal”, Rock Of Ages’s Broadway production was nominated for five Tony Awards and the story is soon to be seen on screen in a film starring Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Featuring classic hits including We Built This City, The Final Countdown and I Wanna Know What Love Is, Rock Of Ages tells the story of a small town girl who meets and falls in love with a big city rocker in Los Angeles’s most famous rock club.
Talking about his involvement in the show, Collins spoke for a whole generation of rockers, saying: “Being a fan of bands like Whitesnake, Foreigner, Journey and Bon Jovi, I couldn’t resist when I heard about the chance to appear in the show. What young lad hasn’t strummed the air guitar to the classic riffs of those poodle-haired rock bands of the 80s? Now I’ll get to do it on stage every night!”
Rock Of Ages previews from 31 August before facing the press on 27 September.