We had the opportunity to connect on all things Broadway and rock with Rocktopia’s Tony Vincent, an infamous Broadway rocker who has been lighting up The Broadway Theatre nightly.
The Knockturnal: You’re back on Broadway — this time, in a bit of a different setting in Rocktopia: What’s it like performing a concert-style show on the Broadway stage during the show’s 6-week residency on Broadway?
Tony Vincent: First of all it thrills be returning to Broadway― even if this format is slightly different than my experiences during my time on prior Broadway stages. While I did grow up doing theatre, it stemmed from being a singer/songwriter and utilizing ANY venue to be a better performer, a better communicator, abetted actor, a better vocalist. Doing a “rock show” was exactly what I had been doing while signed to a record deal with EMI prior to moving in NYC (20-years ago).
The Knockturnal: What excites you most about Rocktopia? What allured you to the project?
Tony Vincent: I always love being a part of something that is innovative, smart and unconventional― pushing the boundaries― but not simply for the sake of “pushing.” More so “pushing with purpose.” I always want to being doing something that is authentic and honest- and the merging of the classical genre with the pop/rock worlds- done in a sophisticated yet accessible- way brings me great joy.
The Knockturnal: In Rocktopia, we see a wide (and impressive) range of you (and your co-stars’) talents – the show literally goes from classic rock to classical music in a matter of minutes. Is that a difficult transition to make?
Tony Vincent: Because we took this show to Budapest and then toured this production last year- we had a great opportunity to feel comfortable with the merging of both vocal stylings as we performed it over and over again. If there was ever awkward moments in the early incarnations, they were either addressed or cut.
The Knockturnal: You perform some of rock’s most iconic classics, what’s it like being able to cover the musical stylings like QUEEN, The Who, and Elton John while putting your own twist on it? Do you have a favorite number to perform?
Tony Vincent: At this point in my career I simply feel blessed that I still get to sing and perform― period!― And the ability to support my family while doing so keeps me in a constant place of gratefulness. Of course, there are certain songs I feel more close to than others. After having worked with Queen in an intimate way inevitably makes me attached to their catalog. That being said, I’m a massive Anglophile and I feel attached to MOST of what I sing in this show― because 95% of what I sing are by English bands/solo artists.
The Knockturnal: You are certainly no stranger to the Broadway rock scene, your co-Rocktopian (Rob Evans) introduced you as a “Broadway Rockstar” – how is Rocktopia a different experience for you than being in a scripted show such as American Idiot, RENT, or Jesus Christ Superstar?
Tony Vincent: You actually just nailed the answer in your question… Much of what I’ve done [in my past] on Broadway was exactly that… musicals that told a story…stories that were moved along by rock-driven tracks/songs. And, while I could articulate that the arc of Rocktopia is indeed a story (the story of the human condition― from birth to death to rebirth…) there is no “book” per se ― we let the music and audience experience speak for itself.
The Knockturnal: The talent in this show is phenomenal. Tell us a bit about performing with Rob, Kimberly, Chloe, and Train’s Pat Monahan.
Tony Vincent: I feel fortunate that I get to share the stage with these vocalists night after night. They are all brilliant in what they do and none of us do the same thing (― this was purposefully cast this way…). Plus Pat [Monahan] and I are both “wine guys” so we dialog a great deal about wine, wine regions, producers, influential bottles, etc. He’s a total class act and I love that our friendship isn’t just about music.
The Knockturnal: This show’s audience is diverse — you have both classical music enthusiasts as well as die-hard classic rockers. The arrangements sound well synergized to me and truly do cater to fans of both genres. Have you noticed a difference in energy from fans of classical music vs. rock?
Tony Vincent: A tough one to answer… because no matter what musical genre an audience member comes from, they are all on their feet at the end… every single one! Plus, I think that even if you are a classical music lover you have been exposed to Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd at some point during your youth. It all comes full circle.
The Knockturnal: What can audiences expect when they come to see the show?
Tony Vincent: They can expect an epic, sexy, classy and gorgeous production where world-class vocalists and arrangements lead them on a musical journey that not only will they never forget but that they will return to experience multiple times.
Note: Train’s Pat Monahan has been replaced by Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and will be succeeded by Robin Zander of Cheap Trick from April 23-29, 2018.