Rock of Ages
More about the show
This nostalgic musical tells the story of a small-town girl, a city boy, and a rock ‘n’ roll romance on the Sunset Strip. But when the bar where rock reigns supreme is set to be demolished, it’s up to these wannabe rockers and their band of friends to save the day – and the music!
Have you booked your tickets yet? The smash hit Broadway musical that’s gonna rock the city starts in:
The impressive 28 nostalgic rock anthems will be performed by an incredible live band, and led by an acclaimed Musical Director. Catch the 80's greatest hits Cum on Feel the Noize, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Renegade and more in this spectacular show.
Meet the talented performers we have lined up and meet the creative team from behind the scenes.
Rock of Ages Main Cast Biographies
Cito Martin Otto
Born in Los Angeles, California, Cito moved to South Africa in his teens and is best known for being the frontman for one of South Africa’s longest existing rock bands, WONDERboom – which celebrated their 23rd anniversary this year. Headlining festivals and releasing chart-topping hits, WONDERboom’s fan base grew. They were nominated five times for Best Rock album at the SAMA awards. In 2004 WONDERboom won Best South African Rock Band for the Global Battle of the Bands and went on to achieve second Best Rock Band in the World at the finals in London. WONDERboom released their 9th album, called Rising Sun, at the end of 2017. In December of the same year WONDERboom competed against 14 other countries at the Silk Road Indie Music Festival and WON GOLD! WONDERboom was the sole support act for Guns N Roses in South Africa, as part of their “Not In This Lifetime” tour 2018, by the band themselves! On November 29th, 2018, they performed to a full house at FNB Stadium, in Soweto, and received overwhelming praise for their spectacular performance and great sound on all social media platforms afterwards. Cito is also the lead singer of the SA Led Zeppelin Tribute Band. In 2004, Cito formed an acoustic side project Absinthè with Sugardrive frontman Paul E Flynn. Their debut album, “A Rendezvous at Nirvana” was released in Dec 2010. Their video of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was nominated for an MK Music Video Award in 2013. November 2012 saw the launch of another side project, El Cantante (“the singer” in Spanish). Here Cito goes back to his Puerto Rican roots and sings in his mother tongue of Spanish, with the legendary guitarist Martin Rocka on guitar – desperado style. In recent years, Cito also showcased his vocal diversity by starring in a number of high-profile musical theatre productions, the first being cast as Jesus of Nazareth in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR in 2006. Other productions that have followed include CHESS, THE MUSICAL, a reprisal of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and in 2012 he received rave reviews as the headline vocalist in Sean Bovim’s QUEEN AT THE BALLET. Cito’s film acting debut in late 2013 has seen him the Bengali hit blockbuster CHANDAR PAHAR and the US TV series BLACK SAILS. He runs his own recording studio where he composes, produces and does sound design for radio, TV and corporate events. Lately, Cito has been commissioned more frequently as music director for some of South Africa’s highest profile corporate events. Cito is working on his first solo album in collaboration with a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter/producer with plans to release later this year .
Drew (Josh Ansley)
In his last year of high school in Zimbabwe, Josh discovered that the performing arts promised a career opportunity and with the support of his biggest fan, his father, set off on the journey of a lifetime. The rush he felt when he walked onto stage as Kinikie in his school production of Grease convinced Josh that he could be doing this for the rest of his life. He landed a part in the Harare production of Jesus Christ Super Star and for five years burned the candle at both ends taking every opportunity to perform. Boyband Blockbusters followed. He joined Zimbabwe’s pop boy band 5STAR; appeared in musical productions; sung with rock bands, opera companies, and improvisational comedy shows; starred in a short film which garnered him a nomination for his portrayal of a United States Marine; and was 2017 runner-up in the TV Reality Series, THE VOICE – SA.
Sherrie (Jessica Driver)
Johannesburg-born Jessica Driver started freestyle dancing at the age of 6 and finished with her bronze bar. She trained full time at Stageworx performing Arts school at the age of 16. She has qualified with a LTCL diploma through Trinity Guildhall London. She recently worked with Gemma Marinus & Bryan Schimmel in Born To Perform at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City as well as Night With The Stars at the Lyric Theatre with the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra. Jessica has played in a few children's productions such as Big Bad Musical at the Roodeport Theatre, Easter Bunny Who at Gold Reef City and My Little Pony shows at Sandton City & Carnival City. Jessica is a passionate performer who loves what she does and gives back as much enthusiasm to her audiences.
Craig Urbani (Dennis)
One of South Africa’s veterans of the stage, Craig has had an international career spanning more than 3 decades. After initial work in South Africa, Crag moved to London’s West End where he performed leading roles in musicals for over ten years, most notably Buddy in The Buddy Holly Story and Trevor Graydon in Thoroughly Modern Millie and two Royal Variety performances. He also performed alongside Sir Cliff Richard at the London Palladium and for Sir Paul McCartney at Buddy Holly Week in London. Training: B.A Drama, Rhodes University Theatre: The Rocky Horror Show (Victory Theatre - JHB, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre- Durban 1992/93), Hair (Joburg Theatre 1994), Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story (Joburg Theatre 1993/94, Victoria Palace- London 1995, Strand- London 1997/8, Star Casino- Sydney 1999, Crown Casino- Melbourne 2000), FAME ( U.K. Tour 1997/98), HAPPY Days The Musical (U.K. Tour 1999), I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change (Joburg Theatre/Artscape 1999), Grease (Dominion Theatre- London 2000/2001, U.K. Tour 2001), ANNIE (Joburg Theatre 2001), Contact (Queens Theatre-London 2001/2002), Thoroughly Modern Millie ( Shaftesbury Theatre- London 2002/3, Joburg Theatre 2007), KISS ME KATE (U.K. Tour 2003/4), Romance ( Theatre On The Square 2005), Chicago (Teatro at Montecasino, Artscape 2008), Peter Pan (Joburg Theatre 2014), MorecOmbe (Studio Theatre Montecasino 2015), Saturday Night Fever (State Theatre- Pretoria 2016), The Sound Of Music (Natal Playhouse – Durban 2016), West Side Story (Joburg Theatre 2017), Rock Of Ages (Lyric Theatre- Gold Reef City 2017). Craig recently reprised the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago The Musial, touring South Africa, Austria and Germany. TV credits include: Shado’s, Isidingo, Binneland, The Wild, Ashes to Ashes, Scandal.
Lonny (Zak Hendrikz)
Zak completed a National Diploma in Musical Theatre at the Tshwane University of Technology. Since graduating he has developed into a multii-talented performer and creator, who has worked under the umbrella of numerous companies as Choreographer, Dancer, Singer and Actor.
His film and TV credits include Bakgat 3, Leon Schuster’s Mr Bones 2, Tremors 5 (Universal Pictures), Donkerland, Sterlopers, Laugh Out Loud 5, My Perfect Family and SABC 2 and 3’s sitcom ASKIES! He was recently featured as the notorious villain, Gavin Greeff in the film adaptation of Ballade Vir ‘n Enkeling.
Recent theatre credits include Liefling – Die Musical, Starlight Express, Footloose directed by Karen Bruce from the UK, Mysterious Skin, Dalliances, Spongebob Square Pants – The Musical, The Rocky Horror Show, Grease, Hair and the Dentist in Little Shop Of Horrors which earned him a Naledi Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He has toured extensively and, when not performing, likes to work as Director and Writer.
| Hertz (Neels Clasen) |
Over the last 18 years, Neels has performed leading roles in Rent, We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia and Annie. He has appeared on local television in Blikskottel and the hugely successful, multi-nominated Kompleks I & II for the SABC. Other highlights include a one-man show and John Proctor in The Crucible. He directed local greats, including Tobie Cronje and Lizz Meiring and was responsible for staging the annual music spectacular Skouspel in 2013. Neels also recently co-wrote and directed his full-length feature film, Land of Milk And Money. Most recently Neels walked away with the Naledi award for Best Director for his work on Altyd In My Drome.
Regina and Dance Captain (Natasha van der Merwe)
Natasha is a multi-talented Actress, Singer and Dancer with extensive experience in the South African theatre and television industry. She is a versatile Voice Artist, an elegant Emcee and a captivating Choreographer. She achieved distinctions in Drama and Musical Theatre through Trinity College London and dance through ISTD at the Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town. She is also a qualified Tap and Modern Dance teacher.
Over the last six years, Natasha has performed lead roles in various stage productions, both English and Afrikaans, including Die Van Aardes Van Grootoor written and directed by acclaimed actor Pieter-Dirk Uys, Saturday Night Fever, Peter Pan The Pantomime, directed by Janice Honeyman, Doringrosie directed by Weslee Lauder, as well as Mamma Mia!, Spamalot, Sister Act, Aspoestertjie, Robin Hood And The Babes In The Woods, Aladdin Jnr, Big Bad Musical and Pop Quiz in South Africa.Natasha successfully debuted as Writer and Producer for Dragging 30, which played to sold out houses in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. She has also Directed and Choreographed musical theatre productions for numerous high schools. Natasha has starred in several national and international TV commercials and presented on 101.9 Chai FM & 2Oceans Vibe Radio.
Justice (Lois du Plessis)
Lois is no stranger to South African stages. She obtained her Nat. Dip. In Drama at Tshwane University of Technology. Her theatre credits include Sexy In The City, Walking In Memphis, Born To Run, Who Really Freed Nelson for which she received a Naledi nomination in 2005 for the Best Female in a musical. Her last role was playing Killer Queen in the hit musical We Will Rock You. Her television credits include: Stoute Boude, Backstage, Pure Monate Show, Jozi Streets, Dube On 2, Weakest Link Sa, Noot Vir Noot, Asifa Shabba And Hillside. She Has Been In 2 Short Films: Father And A Noteworthy Journey. Lois can be seen on Netflix in “COVERED” ISRAEL and NEW BREED ALIVE in Asia. In her younger years she was in one of South Africa’s first reality competitions called Coca Cola Popstars, where she made it to the Top 10. Lois was later signed along with 4 others by EMI forming Afro Z. Lois believes that season of her life prepared her for her nine-year journey traveling the world with Grammy Award Winning group Israel and New Breed which she still describes as surreal. Lois feels blessed to have collaborated with many artists both locally and internationally. She returns home after almost 12 years in the USA and is exited to spend the next few years spending quality time with family and pursuing her fist love for Acting. Lois is excited about joining the cast of Rock of Ages and thanks God daily for every opportunity she has been afforded.
Matt Counihan (Franz)
Matthew graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a degree in Psychology and Sociology. However, the magnetism of the Arts held a stronger allure. Although was not the traditional Drama/Music graduate, this did not stop him from pursuing his dream of performing. has had the privilege of performing in a multitude of Children’s theatre productions, Westside Story (Tony), Hair (Paul), Cabaret (Emcee), Peter Pan, the Westend hit Saturday Night Fever (Bobby C - for which he received a Naledi Theatre Award Nomination for Best Male Newcomer), The Full Monty (Nathan), Snow White, The Rocky Horror Show (Riff Raff), Pinocchio (Jiminy Cricket), Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour) and many other noteworthy productions throughout South Africa. formed part of the Westend and South African co-produced touring company of Grease where he played Doody (also having received a Naledi Theatre Award Nomination for Best Supporting Lead). Following this, expanded into the world of Education where he was able to share his practical experience in a formal learning environment. During this period, Matthew maintained his connection to performance and returned to the stage with the South African touring company of Jersey Boys, the multi-award-winning Broadway musical, where he played Joe Pesci. On his return, was head-hunted by Redhill School to position Redhill as a leader in creativity, innovation and Arts advancement. It was at Redhill that he took up the strategic post of Director of Visual and Performing Arts; a pioneering position in the Independent Education arena. continues to work in education (as a consultant) and remains a strong advocate of the Arts. Matthew has established himself as an upcoming director, producer and a zesty creative and as such, was appointed as the Artistic Director of National Children’s Theatre.
Raquel Munn (Constance)
Chantal Stanfield (Waitress)
Chantal Stanfield is a South African-born Actor, Singer, Dancer, Voice-Artist and all-round performer on stage, small and big screens. She graduated with a BA Theatre and Performance degree from the University of Cape Town in 2005.
Television credits include various lead roles on the TV soap 7de Laan and TV Series’ Montana, S.I.E.S, Geraldina Die Tweede and international series The Philanthropist. Her leading film work includes the new feature film Farewell Ella Bella, Kyknet films Die Staat Se Bul, Gelukbringer and Hondelewe, and short films Coke Town and Tamarind.
Numerous cabaret and tribute shows include brief stints in the Seychelles, London and Turkish tours of 80’S Mania and Queen, Spanish tours of 80’s All Stars and her own one-woman cabaret about South African divas Ladies First, directed by long-time mentor and cabaret doyenne Natalia Da Rocha.
Theatre work includes Annie Jr The Musical, drama Mixed Metaphors and seasons at Cape Town’s burlesque supper club Vaudeville. She headlined the new Afrikaans musical Die Sideboard and played the Stepdaughter in Luigi Pirendello’s Six Characters In Search of an Author at the Market Theatre.
Her most recent and personal work is From Koe’siestes To Kneidlach – her one-woman show, co-produced by her company Kizara Kreative and Theatre on the Square, which tells the cross-cultural story of a girl from the ‘Cape Flats’ getting involved with a Jew-ish boy.
Rock of Ages Other Cast Biographies
Thokozani Jiyane (Ensemble)
Thokozani Nzima, also known as Zano, was born in eMbalenhle – a mining township in the Mpumalanga province. He has had an extensive career in Musical Theatre, having been featured in Soweto Story, an original South African take on Romeo and Juliet, The Full Monty for Creativentertainment, the South African premier of Rent: The Musical, directed by Anthony Rapp, Knights of Music, The European Tour of Under African Skies for The Barnyard Theatre Group, the Pantomime Robinson Crusoe & The Caribbean Pirates for Janice Honeyman and Sister Act: The Musical for Joburg Theatre. His TV credits include Mthunzini.com for Penguin Films, Sestop La for Black Brain Productions on SABC 1, Generations: The Legacy for Mfundi Vundla Productions on SABC 1.Currently Zano is enjoying a solo music career with an album, “Colours Of My Soul ”, and a Soul/R&B EP, “The Emily EP ”, under his belt. He’s the Creative Director of his own music production house “Klean Kut Kreatives [Pty] Ltd”.
Ryan Flynn (Ensemble)
Ryan was literally born into the industry, touring with his mother (Anne Power) and father (Bill Flynn) all over the world as a child. He got his first taste of a professional film set while studying 2nd year at film school in the E-TV series Jozi Streets, where he got to act alongside his father. He would get a second opportunity to do so in the musical A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, which is still his biggest highlight in his career. He has also appeared in several series, movies, plays and musicals such as Jersey Boys, Sound Of Music, Cinderella (Receiving a Durban Theatre Award for best male lead in a musical), The Mile High Club, Beautiful Creatures, Peter Pan (Pantomime), The Rocky Horror Show (Receiving a Naledi Theatre Award nomination for best newcomer), Robinson Crusoe (Pantomime), To The Power Of Anne (Feature Film) to name some. He has most recently finished filming a full feature animation INSIDE JOB and horror feature film HELL TRIP, both scheduled for release end of 2018. He is also a TV/film writer, copywriter and production manager. He also occasionally DJ's on the hit music radio station, HOT 91.9 FM. Ryan was seen in the award-winning musical PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, which went on to tour Hong Kong. Most recently, Ryan performed the role of Princeton in AVENUE Q, a career dream for many years.
JP Rossouw (Ensemble)
JP completed his studies in Musical Theatre at Oakfields College. He has performed in stage shows African Adventure, Dawid – Die Musical and Liefling. He also featured in Al Julle Volke at the KKNK, Shrek The Musical for KickstArt Theatre and A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD for the National Children’s Theatre. Pantomime performances include Sneeuwitjie, Doringrosie, Puss In Boots, Snow White and Pinocchio. He was last seen in the Fugard Theatre’s production of West Side Story.
Alexandra Girard (Ensemble)
From a young age Alexandra, performed in musical productions for the Peoples Theatre (The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Alice In Wonderland) and children’s television series GALOOBY and KIDEO. At the age of nine years, Alexandra was accepted into the prestigious Ballet Theatre Afrikan Academy, under the direction of Martin Schonberg. Thereafter joining the professional ballet company. After being cast as Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ, Alexandra relocated to Paris where she performed as lead female vocalist in A Tribute To The Musicals (Theatre Gymnase), E-Volution (Don Camilo), Broadway Christmas Cabaret, Maria in West Side Story In Concert (Switzerland), Tantomile in Cats The Musical (Theatre Mogador, Paris). Choreographic works include various productions at Theatre de l’Ecam. Alexandra toured internationally with the Cats The Musical UK cast. Alex most recently toured New Zealand, China, South Africa, Germany and Austria as part of the international touring production of CHICAGO The Musical. She rejoins the company for the final season in China later this year. Alex is thrilled to be performing back in South Africa as part of the ROCK OF AGES company.
Lara Kleynhans (Ensemble)
Lara began her theatrical journey from the age of nine with her commitment to dancing in various styles, singing and participation in drama productions in school. She acquired Trinity Musical Theatre exam certificates through Stageworx Entertainment and began her professional career on stage starring in Sleeping Beauty Jr. at the People’s Theatre in 2013. Lara graduated from Oakfields College in 2019 after starring in various student productions such as EDGES (2017), FOUR, which toured to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival (2017) and A Chorus Line (2018). In 2018 she starred as Princess Twilight Sparkle in the My Little Pony live shows and she also performed in the opening performance of I HOPE I GET IT at the 2019 Naledi Theatre Awards. Her latest performance was at The National Children’s Theatre as the leading role of Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web (2019).
Stefania du Toit (Ensemble)
Stefania du Toit graduated with a distinction from The Cape Academy of Performing Arts where she received her diploma in Performing Arts and related studies. Stefania was a member of the Cape Dance Company (contemporary dance company) for 4 years and has a certified Pilates certificate. She trained in dance , drama and singing and has performed on many highly acclaimed national and international stages, such as; Artscape, Montecasino’s Teatro, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, Edinburgh Arts Festival, Salisbury Arts Festival, The Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Joburg Theatre, The Fugard theatre and Pretoria State Theatre. Straight out of college Stefania has been involved in, music videos, dance and musical theatre shows, TV and major corporate functions including STARLIGHT EXPRESS; Janice Honeyman’s Aladdin; Fugard Theatre’s Rocky Horror Show; Reik Na Die Sterre (Dance Captain); MOFFIE (physical theatre); Singin In The Rain (world tour); ANNIE; EVITA (world tour); Jonathan Roxmouth’s Musicals In Concert; Chicago the Musical (Germany/Austria tour), Afrikaans Is Groot, Bidvest, The Voice S1, PSL Awards, Eoh, The Nedbank Golf Challenge and the GHOEMA AWARDS. Stefania has also been involved in co directing and choreographing, for two of Hyde Park High Schools major musical theatre school productions. She was also the choreographer for The Royal Escape Experience, The Bright Rock Players Choice Awards and the 2019 GHOEMA AWARDS just to highlight a few. Stefania also has a passion for teaching and teaches dance and fitness at various studios in and around Johannesburg. Be sure to catch Stefania at the end of the year playing the role of Columbia in Pieter Toerien’s 2019/20 production of The Rocky Horror Show in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Rock of Ages Creative Team
Jaco van Rensburg (Executive Producer)
Jaco completed his B.Tech Degree in Musical Theatre at the Pretoria Technikon in 2005. He worked as an actor in numerous international musicals, namely Cats, Chicago, Jersey Boys, Janice Honeyman Pantomimes and many more. He also worked as Choreographer for the Joburg Theatre and Resident Director for Pieter Toerien.
Jaco has always been interested in the business of show business and completed numerous Arts Administration courses online and in New York City, under leadership of Broadway producer, Ken Davenport (Tony© Award-winning producer of Kinky Boots, Spring Awakening and Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America).
VR Theatrical was selected by the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship as one of the businesses to be mentored by Richard Branson’s unique Business School in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Jaco honed his marketing and advertising skills.
VR Theatrical acted as General Manager for UK based female impersonator extraordinaire, Ceri Dupree and co-produced the blockbuster National Tour of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, the SA Premier of Hedwig And The Angry Inch and self-produced a revival of the hilarious quick-change comedy, The Mystery Of Irma Vep with Jonathan Roxmouth and Weslee Swain Lauder.
Timothy Le Roux (Resident Director)
Timothy’s creative highlights include choreography on Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair (Pieter Toerien Productions). Resident Director on Spamalot, Starlight Express, The Boys In The Photograph And Sister Act (Joburg Theatre) And Choreographer On Droomkind (Add-Life Productions), Showboat (Cape Town Opera) and co-Choreographer for BIDVEST 2014 and 2015. More recently he was Resident Director on the acclaimed Joburg Theatre production of The Color Purple scheduled for a return season at Joburg Theatre in 2020, before a possible international tour. Choreographer for VR Theatrical on I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change As Well As Director On Avenue Q And Here’s To You – The Simon And Garfunkel Songbook. He served as Associate Director on the 2018 Joburg Theatre Pantomime Snow White and also directed and choreographed Supreme Divas For Joburg Theatre. Timothy was previously Resident Director and Company Manager for Joburg Theatre from 2010 until 2019.
Wessel Odendaal (Musical Director)
Scenic Design (Scenic Design)
Nadine Minnaar graduated from TUT (Tshwane University of Technology) with Cum Laude, specialising in Scenic and Prop Design. As part of her degree she designed the set and wardrobe for the Opera, Cosi Fan Tutte (Mozart). Over the last 8 years Nadine has made a name for herself, working in the Theatre, TV and Film Industries on productions such as Egoli (Franz Marx Productions), Disney’s High School Musical, Winnie - The Opera, Mamma Mia!, Ester - Die Musical, Dawid - Die Musical, Liefling – Die Musical, Kyknet Fiesta Awards, Pieter Toerien Productions and more. Nadine owns Scene Visual Productions, a creative company that focuses on set design, scenic painting, set building and set coordinating.
Pierre du Plessis (Wardrobe Design)
Pierre has been working as a fashion designer for the past decade and has been involved in many aspects of Entertainment. He recently completed designs for Naledi – An African Tribute which toured internationally to France. He specialises in high fashion design, but allows himself the freedom to dabble in the theatre every now and again. Previous corporate clients include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, FNB, Stuttafords, VISA, Nissan, Edgars and ABSA, to name but a few. Most recently Pierre designed costumes for VR Theatrical’s The Mystery Of Irma Vep.
Oliver Hauser (Lighting Design)