"Rock of Ages" offers a trip back to the '80s
By KELSEY MUSICK Assistant Features EditorPurdue Exponent
Tonight, through the five-time Tony Award-nominated musical hit, audience members will be able to travel back to the ‘80s and experience a night filled with spandex and really big hair. “Rock of Ages” is an anticipated Purdue Convocation and will be held in Elliott Hall of Music at 7:30 p.m. The musical hit will feature classic songs from iconic bands such as Journey, Styx, Night Ranger and more.
For Universo Pereira, who portrays Stacee Jaxx, a flamboyant rocker, this is his national touring debut. “I don’t really have a theatrical
background,” Pereira said. “But I’m a rock singer by trade and to have the opportunity to play a role like Stacee Jaxx, who’s just this hot train wreck, is awesome.” Pereira said he auditioned for the part of Stacee Jaxx after seeing a call for a guy to play a rock star. He tried out and got the part.
One of Pereira’s greatest influences is Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Pereira even named his dog Freddie after the rock star. “For me, he’s the greatest frontman of all time,” Pereira said. “No one could captivate a stadium of people like he could.” Pereira said he uses aspects of Freddie Mercury as inspiration for his character.
“He was very flamboyant and over the top,” Pereira said. “That’s what Stacee Jaxx is, too, so parallels between the two of them can definitely be drawn.” Pereira said Stacee Jaxx is a combination of a bunch of different aspects, though. “It’s great to really be able to dive into him as a character,” Pereira said. “He’s really the top dog.”
Abby Eddy, Purdue Convocations’ director of marketing, said “Rock of Ages” has its own hair and wig designer who is also the head of the wig and make-up department for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. “The musical combines the best rock songs of the 1980s with spectacular costumes and an incredibly talented cast,” Eddy said. According to Eddy, “Rock of Ages” uses classic ‘80s rock songs to bring the musical to life in the same way that “Mamma Mia” uses ABBA songs to pull audience members in. One way or another, Pereira said, everyone has grown up on the songs featured in “Rock of Ages.” “These songs have been around and they’re on the radio all the time,” Pereira said. “Even if you didn’t want to know them, you know them. People will be listening to these songs forever.”
According to Pereira, it’s been a wonderful experience being a cast member of “Rock of Ages.” “The best part of the journey happens every night when we come out for bows and we see people having such a good time,” Pereira said. “In that moment nothing else matters.”