Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 29, 2011

Rock of Ages

Symphony Hall, Springfield, MA
December 8, 2011
by Eric Sutter

Shannon Mullen
Set in L.A.'s infamous Sunset Strip in 1987, "Rock of Ages" tells the story of Drew, a boy from South Detroit and Sherrie, a small town girl. Both are in L.A. to chase their dreams of making it big and falling in love. This feel good, five-time Tony Award nominated musical is in its second National tour. Shannon Mullen portrays Sherrie. In the Spotlight (ITS) caught up with Shannon to get her viewpoint on this retro 80's rock musical.

ITS: Let's first ask how you got your start in the music business.
 Shannon: I worked hard at roles as Tammy in “Hairspray” and then as Brooke in “Legally Blonde,” in which I was assigned dance captain.

ITS: How did you get the break to play the lead role of Sherrie in this tour of "Rock of Ages"?
 Shannon: Very lucky! I knew the type of singing style I was capable of - this rock belter style in the show. I made a video and sent it to the casting director in New York. I was at SUNY in Buffalo in 2009. Two days before rehearsals for "Rock of Ages," I got a call. After callbacks, I got the role. I was ecstatic and cried a lot.

ITS: How is the fourth wall broken between cast and audience?
 Shannon: The character Lonnie, who is our narrator, talks directly to the audience.

ITS: Do you have a favorite song?
Shannon: Yes, the duet with Drew, “High Enough.”

ITS: Who inspired you to sing?
Shannon: My fun uncle was a child of the 80's and played this music when I was a little girl. Later, Celine Dion became a role model. Now, the music from any Broadway show, especially “Hairspray” and “The Lion King,” has influenced me.

ITS: Any humorous anecdotes to share?
Shannon: Lots, but a moment between Dominique Scott (Drew) and myself, as we exit on opposite sides and pass each other to reappear on stage...we catch the glimmer that keeps us going.

ITS: Any future aspirations for Shannon Mullen?
Shannon: Absolutely! Bring on anything with song and dance. "Don't Stop Believin'."

This show is intended for an audience members age 14 and above.