NEW YORK - On Super Bowl Sunday, there will be a group of people sweating out in the cold in front of millions, doing what they do best. And that group is, of course, the Broadway cast of "Rock of Ages."
Fourteen singers and dancers from the Tony-nominated show will be performing two hair-band-centric 30-minute sets live outside MetLife Stadium in the hours before kickoff, braving the elements but also giving incredible attention to the 5-year-old show.
"Everyone keeps saying it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing that the Super Bowl is in New York, so to have 'Rock of Ages' perform on Super Bowl Sunday is amazing," said Matthew DiCarlo, the show's production stage manager.
The second show will close out the Fox live pre-game show from 5:10-5:40 p.m., a coveted slot. Other musical acts include Phillip Phillips and The Band Perry, and Bill O'Reilly will conduct a live sit-down interview with President Barack Obama. Millions of people will be tuned in.
At a recent rehearsal in midtown, DiCarlo watched as cast members ran through their crowded set, which includes songs such as "I Wanna Rock," "Here I Go Again," "I Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Don't Stop Believin'."
They've had to adjust to a smaller space - masking tape on the floor marked off a new 12-by-32-foot stage - and sing into wooden sticks to help them get familiar with using microphones, which they don't use on Broadway.
They've also learned new choreography and a new set list, since the songs in the show are in a different order. Thermal underwear may also be needed.
The cast, which includes Kate Rockwell, Aaron C. Finley, Joey Calveri, Genson Blimline and Adam Dannheisser, says it will be ready. After all, they're Broadway pros.
"It's almost become second nature, in a way," said Blimline, who plays the narrator and, for the record, is a Jets fan. "The venue around you may change but essentially the material is always the same."
Dannheisser, who plays the owner of a rock club in the show, can't let a reference like that pass. He jokingly jumps in with the Bon Jovi lyric from "Dead or Alive": "It's always the same, only the names have changed."
The high exposure for "Rock of Ages" is part of a push by Broadway producers to grab the attention of football fans crowding the New York-New Jersey area.
More than any show on Broadway, "Rock of Ages" has pulled out the stops when it comes to welcoming football fans. In addition to the new live sets, producers have managed to persuade three current and former NFL stars - Randall Cobb, Joique Bell and Ahman Green - to do cameos on Broadway this week. They'll all play a bartender with four short scenes.
Joey Calveri (center) stars as a scene from the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages,” which will be part of the televised pregame entertainment before Sunday’s Super Bowl.×
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