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What Do You Get When You Cross a Broadway Show With a Rock Concert?

03.19.18
Rocktopia in full effect. Photo: Atilla Nagy.

Rocktopia in full effect. Photo: Atilla Nagy.

BY: JORDI LIPPE-MCGRAW

Described as part Broadway show, part rock concert, Rocktopia is bringing something different to the Great White Way. Opening tonight at the Broadway Theatre, the show features masterpieces by artists ranging from Mozart to Pink Floyd. A 35-person choir, a 20-person orchestra, and a five-person rock band will back vocal powerhouses including Train frontman Pat Monahan and Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Chloe Lowery, as well as Tony Vincent and Kimberly Nichole of The Voice fame. Oh, there are also a light show and stunning multimedia visuals. (Did you get all that?!)

We sat down with Vincent and Nichole to get their take on this unique show and what they’re most excited about during the six-week run.

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Q: So what is Rocktopia exactly?

Tony Vincent: It’s a concert spectacular that merges some of the most iconic rock ‘n’ roll songs with some of the most well-known classical pieces of music and wild effects. Basically, you’re getting visuals that have never been combined with a 60-piece orchestra, a 30-member choir, five lead vocalists, and a core rock band as its foundation.

Kimberly Nichole: It highlights how Mozart was the rock star of his generation. He was. Composers like him were challenging the norm. So, it all aligns together in this show with rock stars of our generation. The combination of classical and rock really lets you feel the music in a special way.

Q: How does this differ from a traditional concert or Broadway show? Do you want people up and dancing or sitting and watching?

KN: I don’t know how it plays out just yet. I don’t want to have expectations. I want to be able to allow the audience to be who they are and enjoy it however they want to enjoy it.

TV: When we have taken this show on tour before, the audience understands what this thing is after the first number closes. Then, at the end of the show, everyone is on their seats. We end the show with a huge crowd-pleaser by Journey, so everybody’s hands are in the air, people are on their feet, and they are singing along.

KN: Also, it’s different in the way you prepare for it. It’s not a rock star structure. Broadway makes you be a little bit more sharp-shooting. The rehearsal schedule makes me a little bit more structured. When I get to go home, I can’t hang out!

Kimberly Nichole. Photo: Atilla Nagy.

Kimberly Nichole. Photo: Atilla Nagy.

Q: Yeah, Kimberly you’re coming from The Voice, which is totally different!

KN: Totally! But it helped catapult my career and got me here. It was a friend of Christina Aguilera’s that saw me and wanted me to audition for the show. It’s been a cool journey and a dream come true actually. It’s aligned with what I have always dreamed of as a child. From The Voice to Rocktopia, it’s all just so exciting. So, I am very grateful and very excited!

Q: So, Christina actually helped you out?

KN: Christina absolutely has helped me out! She really was rooting for me, loved me, and loved what I did. She believed in me.

Q: Since you are signing the songs of music gods, would you be nervous to perform in front of the actual performers?

KN: Oh yes! Jimmy Page? Yeah. Steven Tyler? Yeah. Patti Smith? Okay, I have already performed in front of Patti Smith. She loves it. She gave me her blessing – but everybody else, absolutely yeah!

TV: No way! I am not trying to emulate what they do. This isn’t karaoke where we are trying to do Pink Floyd as Pink Floyd would do it. It’s not what we’re about. We’re here to do it in a very original format, so that’s why these worlds work really well together.

Pat Monahan. Photo: Ron Elkman.

Tony Vincent. Photo: Ron Elkman.

Q: You guys have some guest stars appearing too. Anyone you’re particularly excited about to join the show?

TV: Obviously, Train. Pat [Monahan] is a ridiculous vocalist. I mean, not just with Train material. I have heard him sing Led Zeppelin before and he is a really, really skilled vocalist and songwriter. I can’t really talk about who else is joining us in the run, but it’s a thrill.

Rocktopia plays through April 29 at the Broadway Theatre and tickets are in play through Broadway Roulette.