Amazing news for fans of the Buffyverse and Broadway … the best of both worlds are finally coming together! Tom Lenk, who portrayed the amazingly hilarious villain-turned-goodie Andrew Wells on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and briefly on Angel), is joining the cast of the rock musical Rock of Ages on Broadway! According to one of Tom‘s latest tweets, today is his first day of rehearsals with the cast … he tweets:
I have my first rehearsal for Rock of Ages today! So excited! Moved into my new place on Saturday, I can’t believe I live in NYC now!
Tom had to keep this news tight-lipped (not even his friends knew about this) and was not, apparently, able to talk about this new gig until today … as Entertainment Weekly claims the scoopage on his move to Broadway:
Tom Lenk, who starred as Andrew on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will make his Broadway debut as Franz in the Tony-nominated musical Rock of Ages on Sept. 14. Lenk originated the supporting role, the son of a German developer who wants to demolish the Sunset Strip (including LA’s favorite rock club), in Los Angeles and Las Vegas productions. He phoned EW to give us the scoop and the often hilarious backstory. A UCLA theater grad with formal voice training, Lenk went to college with Rock of Ages‘ Tony-nominated director Kristin Hanggi. They’ve worked together before — on a production of Ann E. Wrecksick, an Annie spoof about bulimic orphans, in the basement of a Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake, Calif. the summer after his first season on Buffy. She knew he was also friends with Rock of Ages writer Chris D’Arienzo, and phoned Lenk to tell him that D’Arienzo had a role that might suit him. “In Ann E. Wrecksick, I had done a character of a German fashion designer. I’d also been doing this sketch for years about a German character who’s obsessed with Star Trek and Melrose Place, based on my time having been invited to appear as a random Buffy person at a Star Trek convention in Germany and a friend’s Hungarian husband who was obsessed with Melrose Place,” he says. “So they knew I did this German thing, and it happened to be perfect for the show.” Franz’s big moment, the song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” comes when he starts a relationship with Regina, who works in the Mayor’s office and protests his and his father’s plans. “I’m a little nervous. The way I performed it in LA and Vegas is not nearly as exhaustive as the version that’s happening now on stage. I would stand and sing, and then do some dancing. But now it’s dancing while I’m singing, so I have two weeks to become Beyoncé,” he says … He begins rehearsals today, but he won’t actually get to perform with the actors he’ll share the stage with until the afternoon before his evening debut. “Which makes me want to have a complete heart attack/throw up,” he admits. “I know I should be prepared for this. I do have a theater degree. I do theater all the time [at LA's Upright Cabaret]. I did a tour of Grease in Germany like 10 years ago, but I was an understudy for Doody and Eugene and I never went on. So I never got my big put-in rehearsal.” Clarification: He could have gone on once as Doody, but he’d booked a German Audi commercial that was coincidentally shooting in Austria on that same evening. During that commercial audition, Lenk, who speaks passable German and will use a thick accent in Rock of Ages, was asked if he skied. He lied and said yes. “I get to the set, and I’d missed something in the translation — it was ski-jumping. They let me freak out for awhile until they revealed that I had a stunt double,” he says. “I only booked the commercial because ski jumpers are like jockeys, they have to be tiny and lightweight. They already had the costume, and they needed somebody to fit it. I was too big even. It was crazy. I missed my big show, Grease das Musical, which is fine.”
This is ABSOLUTELY amazing news. Tom is one of my good friends and I couldn’t be more happy, more proud of him. I’ve seen his live performances a few times and I’m telling you, Broadway is in for a treat. I understand that Tom‘s first performance with Rock of Ages is on September 14 and, as luck would have it, I will be in NYC that whole week. You can bet your buns I’m gonna be there. Altho I got to see the show earlier this year, I can’t wait to see it again … and with Tom Lenk in a featured role? All I can say is, Woot!!!!! Much, much love and congrats goes out to Tom on this amazing news today … I’m sure he’ll be working his ass off for the next couple of weeks … and I can’t wait to see the fruits of his labor.