Q&A with “Rock of Ages” star and “Idol” alum Constantine Maroulis in town at the Fox through Sunday

 He was the fourth season “American Idol” contestant who oozed so much cheese into the cameras, lactose-intolerant viewers were forced to avert their eyes. But then in 2009, rocker Constantine Maroulis was cast in the hit Broadway musical “Rock of Ages” and ended up with a Tony Award nomination as Best Leading Actor for his role as wannabe rocker Drew Bowie. He’s reprising the role in the national tour of the musical that runs through Sunday at the Fox Theatre.
The hilarious homage to 1980s hair bands and the fans who wallpapered their bedroom walls with Poison, Whitesnake and Bon Jovi posters delighted Tuesday’s opening night crowd  from the moment David Coverdale hovered overhead to perform the obligatory pre-show cellphone and camera prohibition announcement. Along the way, Broadway musical conventions are sent up, wine coolers inside Igloo Playmate coolers are used as seduction technique and the word “asskickery” debuts as an adjective. Throughout, the audience waved LED “Rock of Ages” lighters aloft (FYI: Fox ushers hand out free “Rock of Ages” lighters to early arrivals) and sang along to the all-80s soundtrack.
You can check out our exclusive Q&A with Maroulis in the July issue of Atlanta magazine. But pssst, Here are all the questions we couldn’t fit in our print edition.

Q: In the Broadway production, Drew’s wardrobe included a Van Halen “5150” T-shirt. Do you get to rock that same shirt on tour?

 A: “The rock T-shirts change up. On this tour, I wear the ‘5150’ shirt but I prefer the Def Leppard ‘Hysteria’ shirt. I actually got the show to print me up a few extra of those.”

 Q: Which camp were you in as a kid? Vintage Van Halen with David Lee Roth or Van Hagar with Sammy Hagar?

 A: “It’s kind of like James Bond. It really depends on what you grew up with. I was a little young for vintage VH. The records with Sammy were out when I was first getting hip to rock n roll. My band played a cover of ‘Right Now’ in high school. It was quite the impressive undertaking to tackle that.”

Q: “Rock of Ages” audiences are known to whip out both old school cigarette lighters and now, the dreaded iPhone cigarette lighter app. Which does the cast prefer?


 A: “As long as the audience is into it, it doesn’t matter. The iPhone app is widely accepted. We take it as a total compliment. Unless you’re using it to shoot video. Then, I have a problem with it. There’s nothing like seeing a sea of lights out there waving. That said, the official ‘Rock of Ages’ L.E.D. lighter is available at the merch counter.”


 Q: You took a lot of heat for playing to the cameras on “American Idol.” Did the Tony Award nomination serve as vindication?

A: “I don’t really think about things in those terms. There’s always going to be haters in the world. The morning I received the Tony nomination was one of the greatest days of my life. I played a character on ‘American Idol’ and it obviously played very well. I knew what I was doing.”

Q: Unlike a lot of your “Rock of Ages” cast mates, Drew’s hair is all you. What’s the secret to keeping that rock star mane in check?

 A: “It’s a pain in the ass, to be honest. A lot of product is key. I used to have a come-as-you-are approach to it. But when you start waking up with dread locks, it’s not a good look. I can’t wait to shave it all off. But for now, I’m just letting it rawk.”