Emmy winner Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos, Empire of the Sun, Orphans) has joined the cast of the new musical Rock & Roll Man, beginning previews June 2 at Off-Broadway's New World Stages, Stage 3 prior to an official opening June 21.
The new biomusical centered on the life story of legendary DJ Alan Freed will be led by the previously-announced Rock of Ages Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis as Freed. Pantoliano will play Morris Levy, the owner of the New York nightclub Birdland, and Leo Mintz, the owner of Cleveland’s Record Rendezvous—both were instrumental in Freed’s rise to fame. Additional casting will be announced.
The score will include hits made famous by such artists as Little Richard, Chuck Berry, LaVern Baker, Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, along with original songs by Gary Kupper.
The musical takes place on the final day of Freed's life. In a fever dream, prosecutor J. Edgar Hoover and defense attorney Little Richard face off with Freed's legacy at stake. The work features a book by Gary Kupper and Larry Marshak, along with Rose Caiola.
The vintage rock-and-roll elements are developed by Marshak Classic Music LLC and Gary Kupper Music. Randal Myler will direct, with Stephanie Klemons choreographing. Dave Keyes is music director, with Keyes and Kupper serving as music supervisors and arrangers. Kenny Seymour is providing additional orchestrations and dance arrangements.
The production will feature scenic design by Tim Mackabee, costume design by Leon Dobkowski, projection design by Christopher Ash, lighting design by Matthew Richards and Aja M. Jackson, and sound design by Ed Chapman. Casting is by JZ Casting, Geoff Josselson, Katja Zarolinski, and Jimmy Larkin.
The Off-Broadway premiere is being produced by Caiola Productions and Jay & Cindy Gutterman. JRJ Productions' Jessica R. Jenen is executive producer and general manager.