Arts & Entertainment

Musical Drama ‘Rock and Roll Man’ Debuts at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope

George Wendt and Alan Campbell. (Photo: Hope Horwitz)

“Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story,” debuting at Bucks County Playhouse (BCP) on Sept. 12,  spotlights the story of early rock ‘n’ roll legend Alan Freed.

It’s the 1950s, and a cocky young DJ discovers the music that all America wants to hear — except no radio station will play it.  Pursued by the notorious J. Edgar Hoover for promoting this unwholesome genre, Alan perseveres — unearthing the sound of a new generation through pure chutzpah.

Tony-nominee Alan Campbell (“Sunset Blvd.”) plays Alan Freed, and multiple Emmy nominee George Wendt (“Cheers) plays J. Edgar Hoover. That’s right, “Norm”! BCP bigwigs have figured out that rock-themed plays are big draws for their target audience, and Norm! is a magnet for both baby boomers and slackers.

Quartet from ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Man.’ (Photo: Hope Horwitz)

Campbell has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theater. He made his Broadway debut in the New York premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Sunset Boulevard” starring opposite Glenn Close and Alice Ripley, and received a Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award nomination for his performance as Joe Gillis. He also starred in Susan Stroman’s 2000 Tony Award-winning musical “Contact,” and appeared on Broadway as Sam Carmichael in the hit musical “Mamma Mia!”

Known worldwide for his six-time Emmy-nominated role of Norm! on the long-running sitcom “Cheers!” Wendt has appeared on Broadway in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Art,”  “Elf” and “Hairspray.” He played Juror #1 in the national tour of “Twelve Angry Men,” and is a veteran of Chicago’s Second City.

The cast also includes Bob Ari, William Louis Bailey, Whitney Bashor, Richard Crandle, John Dewey, Brian Mathis, Matthew Sean Morgan, Heather Parcells, Soara-Joye Ross, Melissa van der Schyff, Michael Siktberg and James Scheider.

The production features music by Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, with hits like “Sh-Boom,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Ain’t that a Shame,” “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and “Peggy Sue.”

The musical includes a book by Gary Kupper, Larry Marshak and Rose Caiola. Original music and lyrics are by Gary Kupper. Tony Award Nominee Randal Myler will direct with choreography by Brian Reeder. Music supervision and arrangements are by Dave Keyes and Gary Kupper. Dave Keyes is also the production’s Musical Director. Tim Mackabee is Scenic Designer and Jen Caprio is Costume Designer. Rui Rita is Lighting Designer, Rafe Carolotto is Sound Designer, with Christopher Ash as Projections Designer, and J. Jared Janas as Wig and Hair Designer.

Tickets to “Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story” range from $40-$75. The show runs through October 1, with an official opening night on September 16. Buy tickets online, or call (215) 862-2121.



About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

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