Best known as a member of the ’90s boy band *NSYNC, Joey Fatone once won over the hearts of countless crimped-hair teenage girls with his vocal talents and striking, good looks (see sexy overall photo below) but now, since crazy pants and Discmans went out of style, Fatone has found various other successes as a solo act sans his once-signature fire-red hair. Continuing a career in the entertainment industry, Fatone has hosted several television shows including “The Singing Bee,” “Family Feud,” and “Rewrapped,” in addition to being a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” (where he placed second) and was also a guest host of “The Price Is Right Live!” at Bally’s Las Vegas. Beginning later this month, you can find Fatone getting back to his musical roots during his three-month, limited-time engagement guest starring as Dennis Dupree in Las Vegas’ hit “Rock of Ages.” We had the chance to ask the Florida native about his new gig and what his fans and “Rock of Ages” audiences can expect when he takes to the stage on February 20th.
How were you approached to guest star in “Rock of Ages”?
Basically they called me up. I think they knew I had an interest in the show and just loved the show in general. And they called up and said, ‘hey, we’d love for you to be a part of it’ and I was like ‘yeah that would be fun’ and that’s kind of how it happened really.
Have you always been a “Rock of Ages” fan?
I’ve seen the show a few times in New York but I never saw the one in Vegas. I just came out a while ago to go see it and I think it’s just a fun show, just a great and fun show. It brings you back, of course, to the ’80s — the hair band and all that stuff. It’s just a great show for Vegas I think. It’s a party atmosphere. It’s not an opera, for people that have maybe never seen a musical before. It’s a great introduction to a musical because it’s a bunch of ’80s hits that people my age have grown up and listened to and it brings in this fun little love story. And they break down the fourth wall where they address the audience a few times and I think it’s a great space to just get out your troubles, go and party, hang out, have a couple drinks and just kind of rock on.
What do you like most about your character, Dennis Dupree?
He’s the bar owner of The Bourbon Room. He’s kind of more of a laid back guy and I think he’s just a cool dude. He’s a little bit more of a ’70s guy. He wears bell bottoms and I haven’t even worked with it yet, actually today is the first day that I’m going to be putting on the wig and working with the wig, which is going to be interesting because the hair goes down past the shoulders so we will see how that’s going to work and how that’s going to look.
What has been the most challenging part about starring in “Rock of Ages”?
I think it’s the timing of certain lines because it’s within the music and it’s not sung, of course — there’s a bunch of dialogue that goes within the guidelines and in between certain musical interludes and that’s kind of what’s a little more difficult because you don’t want to rush too much but you don’t want to be way behind where the music stops and ends in between those things. I think that’s one of the most difficult things… it’s all coming together but I’ve only been rehearsing now, I think it’s been five days, maybe a week [but] I’m not really stressed. We’ve done it a bunch of times, a lot of repetition and stuff like that. It’s not like Lonny’s part where there’s a lot, a lot of dialogue, which is great but there’s a lot of key moments in this show. I’ve done it before [in other shows] in a little bit of a time crunch but as soon as the roller coaster starts rolling and you get into it, obviously you get comfortable with it but it’s that initial at first, get out on stage and get the jitters out.
How do your vocals feel?
It all depends. Believe it or not, sometimes doing hosting and talking a lot, you’re using a different part of your voice and you can lose your voice a lot quicker a lot of times than actually even singing. But I think what it is and since I haven’t even done it yet with the full band, I’ve only done it with the musical director playing the piano, it’s another thing. You get the microphone and the speakers and everything else and it’s going to be a little bit challenging, a little bit different and I’ve done that before where the first time you get on stage you start blowing your voice out in the beginning because you’re trying to adjust, trying to figure out where your level is on being comfortable and being able to hear yourself.
What are you most looking forward to during this limited time engagement?
I’ve done stints here before. I was in “The Price Is Right Live!” at Bally’s and the “Dancing with the Stars” show over at the Tropicana so I was here at one point for seven months, so three months is not going to be too bad and you know it’s great. I like Vegas a lot, I’ve always loved Vegas. There’s always been a special place in my heart for Vegas. It’s fun! You learn to pace yourself and you learn to not go out all of the time. You learn to do all of these things because it’s crazy because you always have these people coming into town that are friends and they’re like ‘we’re going to go out and party!’ and I’m like yeah that’s great, I’ll hang out for a little but I have a show tomorrow so I can’t be like killing myself.
One day, somebody may be cast as Joey Fatone in a ’90s revival show… have you ever thought about that?
That will be interesting, who would be cast in it? That’s what I think. I’ve never thought about it, it would be interesting – I don’t know – who would play me?
What is your favorite thing to do in Vegas when you’re not working on the show?
There’s a bunch of different places. It’s always fun because if you’re chillin’ and want to be low-key at bars, then Ellis Island is one place; if you want to be kind of really low-key at a dive bar, then Double Down is a great place. Places to eat… that’s a hard one because there are so many places here that are ridiculous. The new one that I found is actually here in the Venetian, Yardbird, is frickin’ awesome. I don’t know why… it’s so simple but it’s just amazing the way the combinations are in the flavors. Basically chilled watermelon with chili powder, I believe it’s lemon juice and mint, that’s it. I’ve never had it before but it was frickin’ amazing, though, it’s so simple. The combinations, the flavors are frickin’ awesome.
Other than “Rock of Ages,” what is your favorite Las Vegas show?
Wow. The one that I love is ‘Absinthe.’ ‘Absinthe’ is another great Vegas show. It has a combination of Cirque stuff with humor – dirty humor – I think it’s just the flow of the show just works really well and everything in the intimate setting in that tent, it’s pretty awesome.
For someone who has never seen “Rock of Ages” what can they expect?
Well, it’s a love story between Drew and Sherrie, which are kind of like the main characters; Lonny is kind of the narrator of the whole show. It’s all about ’80s hair band music. It takes you on a journey about you know, The Bourbon Room and how this family wants to tear down The Bourbon Room, the whole Sunset Strip. It’s great. The biggest thing about it, for anybody who’s never seen a musical, this would be the show to see because it’s not an opera, it’s more of rock. I mean that’s really what it is so it’s a great way to really introduce somebody to a musical.
Fill in the blank: Before every show I make sure that I ________.
Have clean underwear and make sure that I have all my props and all my lines memorized – hopefully.
What is a fun fact about yourself that not many people know?
I like to collect Superman stuff. I have a huge Superman collection. I’m a geek!