BWW Interviews: ROCK OF AGES' Dominique Scott Never Stopped Believing in His Dreams
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by Kathy Strain
Dominique Scott was born and raised in South Florida where his passion for music began. Currently playing Drew in the enormously popular Rock of Ages and touring around the United States, Dominique took a few minutes to answer some questions for Broadway World.
You started with music very young playing classical piano.
That actually was the first training I got. My first professional production was a regional show when I was 10. I did a show that ran for 2 months in a regional theatre in South Florida. I did that for a while. But the first training I ever got was in classical piano. I was in the 4th grade and I did that for about 4 years and then I started getting training in all music when I went to middle school, high school and college.
How did you go from that to the lead in Rock of Ages?
I never considered myself a pianist even though I was quite good and my mom, at one point, was trying to convince me to be some kind of concert pianist. But, it was not what my thing was. I was much more into rock and roll. My dad was a rock star in his time. He was the lead guitarist in a band called Hollow Spirit. They toured in Europe, Germany and stuff. I have that in me and a lot of my influence is from him. I was always a clown. In fact, my first job was as a professional clown. I was 14 or 15 and I got hired by a company to be a clown because I could juggle. I loved being in front of people. I loved performing and so classical piano was the first of all the skills that I picked up in my attempt to be a Renaissance man.
You have done some stand out things in your life including Chris in Miss Saigon, the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, as well as Freddie Mercury. Which role has been your favorite?
I think I’m very fortunate to say that my favorite role I’ve ever done has to be the one I’m currently doing. A lot of people can’t usually say that but I’m very lucky in that. The best thing I’ve ever done usually happens to be whatever I’m doing at the moment. Like when I was doing Chris in Miss Saigon, that was my favorite role, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. Two years ago I did Freddie Mercury and Stevie Wonder. That was my first job out of college and playing Freddie Mercury and Stevie Wonder; who gets to play those 2 music icons? If you would have asked me then, I would have told that that was the best job. I couldn’t have imagined a better job. Then Rock of Ages came along and now I’m playing to 3,000 people a night. I just rock it out screaming my face off every night. It’s something that I don’t know how it can get any better than this. If my track record continues like it has been then hopefully it will just keep getting better and better. I don’t know how.
Let’s talk about your role of Drew in Rock of Ages. How did you find out you got the part?
We had a callback on a Monday. We went for the final creative team, the director and producers and that was on Monday and I got the call on Friday. I was working in a restaurant in New York City waiting tables and I got a voicemail on my phone and I went to check the voicemail and sure enough it was the casting director offering me the role. It was really cool. Actually, I auditioned for it among 300 other guys a day at an open call in New York City and they cut me. My audition didn’t go so well I think for multiple reasons. You only sing maybe 15 seconds of a song; it’s extremely short. You wait all day and they cut me. They were like, “OK, thank you, bye.” I was really upset about that. So, I made a video and I sent the video of me singing all of the Drew stuff ‘cause I didn’t want to give up (you can watch the video of Dominique's audition here). It was too perfect for me. I sent the video in and then I got a call to come in for the final day. I came in for the final day and it ended up being me and 16 other guys, then me and 8 other guys, then me and 1 other guy and then just me.
Did you quit your job at the restaurant immediately?
No, no, no. We got the calls in April and rehearsals didn’t start until September 1st. I had another 3 months. It was a much easier 3 months to work at the restaurant than it was before.
How did you prepare to play the role?
That’s a really funny question that people ask me. And it’s funny because I think there’s 2 parts to the answer. The first part is that the hardest thing about the role for anyone to play is the stamina. It requires a great amount of technique vocally I think is probably the hardest male role out there on the Broadway circuit right now and quite possibly among the top 5 or 10 hardest male roles of all-time ever in music theatre. It’s really difficult. And so the preparation for that took really my whole life. I was fortunate that I ran into a very good voice teacher when I was 18. I had been taking voice lessons since I was 16 but I really started progressing with him when I was 18 and just working a really high vocal athletic thing; just working on singing highs for a long time and loud and all kinds of things. So, it’s something I’ve been training my whole life for along with my acting training. In terms of getting into the character, that’s the second part of the question. That took almost no work. If you think about it, Drew’s a 23 year old who moves off to a big city to become a rock star and that’s exactly what I did when I booked the job. I came to be a rock star. to be a Broadway star. It was not too hard for me. It was no stretch at all. Drew got the girl, I’ve done that. He’s busing tables in a restaurant, I’ve done that. I am kinda him.
What do you enjoy most about playing Drew?
I think what I enjoy most; I enjoy singing. I love singing and I love being able to sing this incredible classic rock. I sing all of the awesome songs that everybody knows. I really enjoy getting to do that. I think more specifically to the show, I really love the interaction that we get with the audience in this show. It’s very different than other shows I’ve been in where you just tell the story and the audience is there and there’s not much communication. Our show breaks that down a lot. We break down the 4th wall a lot. At the end of Act 1 I get to run to the audience, right up in front of the audience’s face and I hold a big note and I get to look around at them. We scream and we have fun and I get to yell at them. It’s something that’s really interactive and really exciting. It helps make the show different every night and it’s something I look forward to.
What do you think of the music of the 80s? Did you listen to the type of music of Rock of Ages before you got the role of Drew?
I grew up listening to classic rock because of my dad but to be honest I wasn’t listening to Poison or REO Speedwagon or Def Leopard. I was more of 70’s. I listened to Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple; those are more my bands. The fact of the matter is that classic rock is classic rock and they were all influenced by each other. I believe that the styles that I listened to growing up definitely influenced what I’m doing here.
Who are some of your favorite groups from the 80s?
One of my favorite rock bands of all-time is Foreigner. Unfortunately, we don’t get to sing my favorite Foreigner song. We would cover Foreigner with my actual band all the time. I love Foreigner and of course I love Steve Perry and Journey. But, I think Foreigner Is the top of that.
Have you seen the new movie with Tom Cruise? What did you think of it?
I think it’s very hard for us to watch it because of how different it is. It’s very different from the show. I really enjoyed Tom Cruise’s performance. I thought he was fantastic. I have only great things to say about his performance. I liked Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough; I thought they were also really good. I thought there were strong performances throughout the movie. I did feel that the movie didn’t have the same magic that the show has which is the reason why the show is so successful. The show is now one of the 50 longest running shows on Broadway. I think there’s a certain charm to the show that wasn’t able to be translated into the movie. A lot of that has to do with the narrator. In the show you’ve got this character of Lonnie who also serves as the narrator of the show and he talks everyone through it. That’s where a lot of the jokes come along. There are these tongue and cheek things, kinda like wink, wink, I know what’s going on and he comments on the action and it’s a little bit more streamlined. And that wouldn’t translate over the medium of film.
Tell me a little about your band Domin8trx. I love the name by the way.
We do a very bluesy, classic rock influence and it’s really cool how it goes along with the show and the music I’m doing with my band. I have a lot of different styles. I do opera, I do jazz, I do progressive, rock, the likes, Motown, I’ve listened to everything growing up in an attempt to make me a Renaissance man. I learned everything. I minored in Jazz Piano in college so I think the album we just released, Carrousel is a culmination of all those. There is a little bit of everything on the album. It took me 2 years to do but we are very proud of it. It’s the kind of stuff we do. It’s very energetic. I have eyeliner on onstage, we bring people up on stage; it’s very much a show. In terms of music, it’s classic rock with blues influence.
What do you like to do when you have time off?
Sleep. I really don’t have too much time off. I’ve got my music career, the music, the show and we’re travelling a lot, doing a lot of press trying to promote both. It’s a lot of work. I’m working on my next album. We’re hoping to do some Christmas things for the holidays. From recording to being in the show, waking up early doing press, there’s no time for anything else.
Have you ever been to Austin?
I’ve never been to anywhere in Texas so I’m really excited.
Do you have anything you would like to do while in Austin?
No, do you have any recommendations?
Magnolia Café is excellent.
Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about pursuing a career in theatre?
Yeah, and you’re gonna like this too because my advice; my sole advice, the biggest and best number in the show; don’t stop believin’. As cheesy as that is, I was in New York City; I went to 120 auditions before I booked Rock of Ages. I even got cut from Rock of Ages before I booked Rock of Ages. It’s not about talent. There are so many factors involved in the auditioning world whether you’re an actor or a musician, people are going to turn you down so many times. The key to making it successful is for you to not stop believing in yourself and loving what you do and believing it’s worth it and that’s what’s getting you up every day and pushing through. Yeah, don’t stop believin’.
If you had not become a performer, what profession would you have chosen?
In my 7th grade career project I chose astrophysicist so I will have to go with that. If I can’t do anything as a performer …I only said astrophysicist because that was my 7th grade project but I’m going to give that one some more thought. I never thought about anything else. It would be something involved in the arts. If I had to pick something completely away, I don’t know.
Don’t miss this great show when Rock of Ages comes to Austin, Texas at the Long Center from September 25 – 30th. You can never stop believin’. This show is really better suited for mature audiences 14 years and older. Tickets are available by going to their website.
Photo credit: Scott Suchman