Joey Fatone is in sync with his new Strip gig: ‘Rock of Ages’
The Bourbon Room is about to get a new owner, and it’s none other than Joey Fatone, the baritone from ’N Sync. Through April 30, he joins the cast of the Venetian’s Rock of Ages, that feel-good Broadway show with every big hair band song from the ’80s. He talks to Las Vegas Magazine’s Susan Stapleton about taking on a role Alec Baldwin played in the film version, how he’s become a regular in Las Vegas and more.
What made you decide to take a role in Rock of Ages?
Why not? I had an interest in it awhile back. I think that’s what so great about the position I’m in right now. I want to do something that I enjoy doing, something that can be fun. It’s not something I’m doing for the money. It’s more or less, that project looks great, let me see what it’s all about. That’s the way I’ve been taking my life lately. Whatever project comes my way, if it’s something that’s exciting and that works with me and my brand, I’d love to do it. I’m all for it.
You’ve already been in Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, The Producers and 42nd Street in Pittsburgh. Being on the stage as an actor, that has to be secondhand for you now.
Kind of. I’m performing on stage as myself when I was performing with ’N Sync. I was myself. You went on stage, talked to people, said hi, sang a song. You could do that. Since this is a musical and it’s a character, it’s a little different. You want to stay true to the character and stay true to the story. That’s what I like about doing musical theater. You’re bringing them on a journey. You’re taking them to whatever world that may be, especially for this one with ’80s hair bands and rock music and partying that’s a sex, drugs and rock and roll kind of thing. It’s just a fun show.
You’ve been such a fixture in Las Vegas, hosting The Price Is Right Live! at Bally’s Las Vegas and now taking a guest role in Rock of Ages. What makes Las Vegas such a draw for you?
I just love the energy with it. There’s something about Las Vegas that just sets off this energy of being alive. It’s like the adult playground, I would say. For someone who has never been to Las Vegas, it just gives them an opportunity to visit a whole other side of the world that’s completely different. Some friends of mine to this day have not been to Las Vegas. How do you not go to Vegas? It’s cool because there’s so many things to do here, whether you want to chill and relax by the pool or go to a party like the pool parties in the summer or a club at night. If you want to see shows, there’s shows. If you just want to have a romantic dinner, there’s anything and everything you could possibly want.
When you look out on the audience, who do you expect to see?
Hopefully just people in the seats. That’s what I want to see. As long as they’re enjoying the show, I don’t care who it is, to be honest. I’m all for having a great time and hopefully just seeing people out there enjoying themselves. That’s the gratification I definitely get, and the payoff for me is hitting those jokes, hitting those punches and having fun with the audience. Hopefully I take them on a journey and they forget about their worries.
You’re playing Dennis Dupree. Any concerns about following in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin?
I know, right? The character’s a little bit different from Alec’s from the film adaptation. It’s going to be interesting. It’s funny, because I’ve worked with him before, and I just saw him at the Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary. That’s kind of funny. I should have said something to him. We did the movie The Cooler together. I had a small role in that film. But Dennis is kind of like the father figure for all these kids at The Bourbon Room. It’s an outlet for the kids to go to who have dreams and hopes of becoming rock stars. That’s the place to go and hang.
Did you grow up on the songs in Rock of Ages? Were they the fabric of your youth?
Of course. I was the youngest of three. My brother and sister are older than I am. I was born in ’77. I’m showing my age. I grew up in the ’80s. It was a mixture of Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, Poison, Warrant, Styx. You name it, I listened to it. My brother and sister kind of influenced me as well, even with the whole pop side with Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. It was kind of interesting going back and singing the songs. Especially the songs like “Can't Fight This Feeling.” That’s a song Dennis and Lonnie sing together. It’s a usually showstopper because it’s just an iconic song.
Did you ever want to perform any of the hair metal songs of Rock of Ages with ’N Sync?
We’ve always dabbled a little bit with covers. We actually did “Sailing” by Christopher Cross. We also did Bread, “Everything I Own.” First of all, a lot of those songs are really high vocally, so for me, I probably can’t do them. I’m a baritone or second tenor. They’re a little high up there in range.
Do you remember the first time you came to Las Vegas?
The very first time I came to Las Vegas was with my wife, Kelly. We were dating at the time. She was working and living in LA and I was traveling around. I had a couple of days off. She wanted to surprise me. She said, “Pack a small bag for the weekend.” We get in our car with no air conditioning. It was like 800 degrees and we drove from LA to Vegas. We literally had 500 bucks between the both of us. That’s all the money we had to gamble with. I think we saw one show. I think it was Crazy Girls. It was cool. I think I was 22.
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