Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

"Rock of Ages" Director Kristin Hanggi

Jun 16, 2011 04:24PM ● By Anonymous

On tour from July 12th–24th this summer in Washington, D.C. is the international hit musical Rock of Ages playing at the National Theatre (located at 1321 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.).

Rock of Ages is about life on the Sunset Strip in the late ‘80s and follows two dreamers who search for fame in the City of Angels, but find something better. Hit music by Journey, Styx, Whitesnake, and other ‘80s era rock bands set the mood.

What’s Up? had the opportunity to speak with Rock of Ages director Kristin Hanggi about her experience on the tour and what viewers can expect from the Tony nominated musical.

WU: How did you get involved with Rock of Ages?

KH: I was working on
Pussycat Dolls Live at the Roxy and spending everyday on the Sunset Strip and just loved how much rock and roll history lived in those clubs. I thought that a rock and roll musical set on the Sunset Strip would make a great show. A year or two later Matt Weaver and Carl Levin approached me with a collection of music from the ‘80s and wanted to do a rock and power ballad show. We found writer Chris D’Arienzo and here we are!

WU: What does Rock of Ages meant to you?

KH: The message at the heart of it is that dreams do come true. Kids come out to the Sunset Strip with stars in their eyes. It’s a really exciting place, some make it, some don’t, but the experience is special.

WU: What’s it like to have so much positive attention from viewers?

KH: Everything has been so exciting. I think as a director you always want your show to be great, so I stay busy with concerning myself about keeping the quality high.

WU: What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced as the director?

KH: The biggest challenge has always been the time restraints. We’ve often had to do the rehearsal and tech processes quickly. But it has taught [everyone] how to work fast and do so as a team.

WU: Do you have a favorite scene or song?

KH: I love them all! Each scene is like my child, so every moment is special to me. And really the most enjoyable part is working with such rad, smart, and talented people—when that lead guitar player steps out and plays the opening lick under the smoke and lights we all just go nuts!

WU: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

KH: I think the thing about
Rock of Ages is that it’s so unlike anything else that people have had in the theater. It’s kind of like a hybrid between a concert and theater experience. It’s meant to be a lot of fun and for people to get up out of their seats. It’s meant to inspire your own beliefs and personal dreams.

For more information, visit,, or call 202-628-6161.