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Interview with the Cast of Rock Of Ages: Lonny and Dennis



Interview with the Cast of Rock Of Ages
Casey Sweeney as “Dennis Dupree” and Christopher Jones as “Lonny”
By: Coren E. McLeod of UnRated Magazine
Photos by:  Barry Nadler 




Well, it looks like we are coming to the end of meeting the cast of the amazing production of “Rock Of Ages…”  And I do not want to say we saved the best for last.  However, we did save the funniest for last.  The two hilarious characters of Dennis and Lonny will make you laugh until it hurts.   These are the two guys join forces to run the Bourbon Club. 

I have been hearing from the cast of “Rock Of Ages” how actors Casey Sweeny and Christopher Jones make the perfect comedy pair.   I got to ask questions to both of these lovely guys about their characters.  First up is Casey Sweeny that plays the bar owner, Dennis Dupree.  Here is what Casey had to say about his role and what interesting parts he has played in the past: 

Lonny and Dennis enjoying Bartles and Jaymes Wine Coolers....




UnRated Coren:  Please let me know who you are and what character you are playing in “Rock of Ages…”

Casey:  Casey Sweeney- I play Dennis Dupree the owner of the Bourbon Room in Rock of Ages.


UnRated Coren:  Did you know anything about the story behind “Rock of Ages?”

Casey:   I was aware of the show for a few years and had seen the movie. When the audition notice went out I started listening to the cast album. I was instantly hooked!




UnRated Coren:  What bands from the 1980’s are you familiar with? Which ones did you rock out to?

Casey:  When I first began performing with Blue Man Group, I suddenly found myself in a world of real rock band dudes. I knew I needed to become aware of the roots of rock pretty quick. When I was in Vegas I purchased a four C.D. set of “80’s hair bands” (people still bought C.D.’s in those days!) and played in nonstop in my car. Many of those songs are in Rock of Ages. It’s a best hits playlist.




UnRated Coren:  What made you want to try out for this awesome production of “Rock of Ages?”

Casey:  I had worked with the director Scott and TheatreWorks Florida in “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Garden Theatre. It was such an amazing company to work for and the shows are always so well executed from a technical standpoint.




UnRated Coren:  What character do you like the most?

Casey:  I really like the duo of Lonny and Dennis. Lonny is the heart of the show, the ultimate fan boy of the 80’s. He is completely unabashed and charming. If Lonny is the heart Dennis is the soul. The older rocker with wisdom and knowledge guiding and pushing the young ones to pursue their dreams.




UnRated Coren:  What did you do to prepare for the audition?

Casey:  I listened to and tried out many different songs to use for the audition. I had to pick songs that would still feel rocking’ on a lone piano without a full band playing. I also wanted to find pieces that had story to them or could lend themselves to being a characters real words. The book of “Rock of Ages” is so clever and integrates the songs so well. I sang “Under Pressure” and “More Than A Feeling”






UnRated Coren:  What is your background with theatre or acting?

Casey:  I came to Orlando by way of Blue Man Group (also NY, Chicago, Las Vegas) and opened the show here. I have also performed in Arabian Nights and for WDW. I was in Mad Cow Theatre’s “Company”. I am a proud graduate of Ithaca College- BFA Musical Theatre.





      UnRated Coren:  What did you think about the 2012 movie?

Casey:  I think stage show is far superior to the movie adaptation. The 2012 movie significantly changed the plot and many musical numbers; in some cases completely eliminating characters. The stage show feels like a party.  It’s wildly funny.

Thank you Casey!!!!  You are going to bring a ton of laughs to the audience once “Rock Of Ages” premiers on September 28th, 2016. 



That is a strong #Bromance


Now, let us get to know Mr. Dupee’s right hand man, Lonny Barnett played by Christopher Jones.  Christopher already knew a lot about the play before he even auditioned.  Check it out: 





UnRated Coren:  Please let me know who you are and what character you are playing in "Rock Of Ages..."
Christopher:   Lonny Barnett, Narrator, Sound God, and all things awesome in "Rock Of Ages".



UnRated Coren:  Did you know anything about the story behind “Rock Of Ages?”

Christopher:  Yes, I actually worked merchandise for the show when it ran on Broadway and Off-Broadway, so I have seen it over 80 times!




UnRated Coren:  What bands from the 1980’s are you familiar with? 
Which ones did you rock out to?

Christopher:   All things Queen and Journey. I love a good lead singer, and a power love ballad to have a weird cry about.


UnRated Coren:  What made you want to try out for this awesome production of “Rock of Ages?”

Christopher:  I have heard wonderful things about the company, and playing Lonny is one of my dream roles. Its not often where I get to play a character who has no filter. Its going to be rather fun!


UnRated Coren:  What character do you like the most?

Christopher:  It was Lonny - I always found him so lovable as a character, and how honest he is on stage. I would have loved to play Drew, but I do not have the singing chops to even touch his numbers. Plus, Justin sounds incredible.








UnRated Coren:What did you do to prepare for the audition?

Christopher:  I listened to the soundtrack almost 20 times through, and watching videos online. Seeing the show so often when I was in NYC, I knew it pretty well.






UnRated Coren:  What is your background with theatre or acting?

Christopher:  I have been performing for 15 years, touring in High School, going to college in NYC to get my theatre degree, and now working with Disney on their cruise lines and in their parks since.





UnRated Coren:  There are a lot of great songs in this production. What are some you remember listening to before joining the cast?

Christopher:  Well, funny story. One of my good friends from college is actually the son of Dee Snider, of ‘Twisted Sister’. So listening to his songs growing up, then meeting him in casual settings really made it surreal. He still rocks. My favorite song from the show is ‘Dead or Alive’, but thats because that is my go-to Karaoke song.




UnRated Coren:  What research did you do before the audition?

Christopher:  Just listening to the soundtrack. Again, it was nice to have the show drilled in my head after watching it so often.


UnRated Coren:  What did you think about the 2012 movie?

Christopher:  I thought it was really good! It’s always tough to convert a stage show to the big screen, but it was very well executed. Some things were left out, like my bromance with Dennis Dupree, which is my favorite number in the show.  It still rocked.


UnRated Coren:  What other plays have you been in?

Christopher:   Never something like this. I was trained classically, and contemporary stuff is my forte. For example, I was in ‘West Side Story’ twice as Tony, Tobias in Sweeney Todd, tons of shows on the Disney Cruise Line and in ‘Finding Nemo’ the Musical in Animal Kingdom.  But nothing this fun, relaxed, and dirty!








UnRated Coren:  Since “Rock of Ages” is set in 1987, how do you like your wardrobe? Is there enough Aquanet for the entire cast? (LOL…)

Christopher:  From what I have seen from the sketches of our costumes, my wardrobe will be something alright. I have only seen my character have a mullet and a bowling shirt, so I can't wait to see what they have in store for me.




UnRated Coren: What are you most looking forward to on Opening Night?

Christopher:   A neat whiskey sitting on my dresser after curtain call. I’m only kidding…maybe. I cannot wait to feel the energy that Rock of Ages is going to bring to the Doctor Philips Center. It is such a beautiful space, and I am stoked to perform this show there. It is a shame that I have to make poop jokes in this beautiful theater.




UnRated Coren:  What can audiences expect from this production of “Rock of Ages?”

Christopher:  You can expect to walk in excited, and leave EVEN MORE EXCITED. This is a high octane show, with tons of laughs, and a terrific cast that will knock your neon fanny packs off!

If you have not noticed, this will the production that you will need to see of “Rock Of Ages.”  There is so many passionate people involved with this play and I am so happy I will be there opening night. 


To all that are involved, go break a leg!!!!  I am so proud of each and every one of you!!!!  Let’s get this party started!!!!!

For ticket information:

https://www.facebook.com/events/305023113165529/

http://www.theatreworksfl.org/











- More at UnRatedMagazine.com

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