Rooms: a rock romance

European Premiere of a New MusicalRoomsPosterFinal
Music, Book and Lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman. Book by Miriam Gordon.
23 April – 18 May 2013
Finborough Theatre

ANDREW KEATES NOMINATED FOR BEST DIRECTOR AND CASSIDY JANSON FOR BEST ACTRESS IN THE BROADWAYWORLD UK AWARDS 2014. 

A Finborough Theatre commission, the European premiere of the hit Off-Broadway musical ROOMS – A Rock Romance, must close on Saturday 18th May, directed by multi-award-winning director Andrew Keates.

With special recorded guest appearances from Paul Gambaccini, the iconic voice of Radio 1 during the 1970s,Paul Kaye, best known as his alter-ego Dennis Pennis on The Sunday Show and Thorus of Myr in HBO’s Game of Thrones and composer/lyricist Paul Scott Goodman himself, ROOMS – A Rock Romance features an exceptional cast of two – Alexis Gerred was recently seen in the lead role of Bobby in Dreamboats and Petticoats on National Tour and in the West End, won acclaim for his performance in the title role of Dirty White Boy: Tales of Soho at Trafalgar Studios, and was runner-up in Eurovision: Your Country Needs You for BBC TV. He is partnered by Cassidy Janson who played Kate Monster/Lucy The Slut in Avenue Q, was standby and played Elphaba in the original London cast of Wicked, played Maggie Saunders in Lend Me a Tenor – The Musical at the Gielgud Theatre and starred in Tick Tick …Boom! at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

She longs to see every room in the world… He longs to stay in his…

ROOMS – A Rock Romance begins in late 1970’s Glasgow at the very height of punk rock, where Monica, an ambitious Jewish singer-songwriter meets Ian, a reclusive rocker. As the pair become quickly entangled – both creatively and romantically – their music together hurtles them from the dingy clubs of Scotland to the glitz of London and ultimately to New York City…

Featuring an astonishing score by award-winning composer Paul Scott Goodman and performed by a live rock band, ROOMS – A Rock Romance is both a thrilling musical journey and a poignant unconventional love story about two young artists, whose love for each other deepens whilst their desires tear them apart.

CAST
Alexis Gerred as Ian. Cassidy Janson as Monica.

PRODUCTION TEAM
Directed by Andrew Keates.
Musical Direction by Mark Warman. Choreographed by Sam Spencer-Lane.
Designed by Philip Lindley. Costume Design by Philippa Batt.
Lighting by Neill Brinkworth. Sound Design by Tom Lishman.
Accent Coaching by Sarah Stephenson. Singing Technique by Robert Archibald.
Associate Musical Direction by Barney Ashworth. Casting by Benjamin Newsome.

PRODUCTION VIDEO
All photographs by Scott Rylander. Music from the Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording of Rooms: a rock romance.

GALLERY
All photographs by Scott Rylander

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“it packs an emotional punch that we certainly didn’t expect. If you like your musical theatre raw, honest and moving then we highly recommend Rooms. It’s definitely a contender for one of the best musicals we’ve seen so far in 2013.”
★★★★★ Pip Elwood, Entertainment Focus

“The music is rocking, the cast is terrific…Go, enjoy, rock out.”
Heather Deacon, One Stop Arts

“the performers can be proud of their wholly entertaining efforts”
★★★★★ Emma Cooper, The Upcoming

“Cassidy Janson, as the ambitious Jewish rock-star-in-waiting Monica P. Miller and Alexis Gerred, as the borderline hermit guitarist Ian Wallace, are both excellent….Janson’s vocals are outstanding, showing both significant rock chops and a sweeter tone in the surprisingly touching interlude provided by “Happiness”.”
★★★★ Emma Watkins, WhatsOnStage

“Director Andrew Keates has crammed this fizzing tale of music, alcoholism, punk rock, escapism and the price of success into the Finborough Theatre, and the energy that Gerred and Janson pour out feels barely contained by the small space.”
★★★★ Anna Jones, Whats Peen Seen

“The Finborough surprises again.”
Mark Shenton, The Stage

“Five Stars based on the sheer merit of the actors, band, writers and director and for the Finborough for recognising this work and commissioning the musical. Don’s miss out!”
★★★★★ Fiona Lister, Mellow Day London

“A stomping good love story.”
★★★★ Anna Jones, Whats Peen Seen

“The Finborough never fails to surprise…this time there’s a full band, and very good they are, too.”
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“The Finborough is little more than a room itself but the powerhouse performances that ignite the stage from Alexis Gerred and Cassidy Janson transport the audience to a venue far bigger and spacious, the spell of this magical space deftly cast by the creative genius of Andrew Keates”
★★★★ Petra Schofield, Remote Goat

“Director Andrew Keates has delivered a production as close to perfect as you’d probably ever get…Yet another triumph for the Finborough”
Gareth James Culture Blog

“A solid two-hander show with fantastic songs, a tight live band and fearless performances by its two leads. In the intimate surroundings of the Finborough Theatre the show feels special like it’s a well-kept secret”
★★★★★ Pip Elwood, Entertainment Focus

“Writers Paul Scott Goodman and Miriam Gordon were in the audience, it is hard to imagine they will have seen a more layered production than is offered by Andrew Keates who squeezes every last emotion and nuance from the score and his stellar cast”
★★★★ Petra Schofield, Remote Goat

“Cassidy Janson is irresistibly charming as feisty and ambitious Monica, whipping the show along with her high-octane vocals and the energy of her performance, cut through suddenly by moments of vulnerability.”
★★★★ Lucy Thackray, The Public Reviews

“Paul Scott Goodman and Miriam Gordon’s book is wittier, Goodman’s music meatier and Andrew Keates’s staging neater than many a new piece of musical theatre recently seen in the West End.”
M. F. Jones, Exeunt Magazine

“Rooms is a simple joy but it really is a joy; it wouldn’t surprise me if it becomes the latest Finborough show to get a transfer.”
Nick, Partially Obstructed View

“A punchy contemporary rock score that has its own particular individuality…reminiscent of the work of Jonathan Larson and Jason Robert Brown.”
Mark Shenton, The Stage

“A cracking live gig…the two vocalists could be actual rock-stars…Supported by a tight, grooving band, they fill this particular room at the Finborough with…sheer belting force.”
M. F. Jones, Exeunt Magazine

“Well directed, well designed, very well performed and incredibly enjoyable. It would be a shame if this didn’t have a life beyond the Finborough.”
Tom Norman, Bargain Theatreland

“Groundbreaking…I have never seen such an electrifying show in such a tiny theatre.”
Andrew Tomlins, West End Frame

“I have to say that, going in, I feared a rock band would blow the walls off the little Finborough but such was not the case – the sound levels are perfect – mainly because the score is so much more than “rock”.  Goodman is a sophisticated and original composer able to write memorable tunes in all genres, as needed.”
Mallardo, WhatsOnStage

“A boy-meets-girl-with-ambition love story set during the dying days of punk, Rooms…may be billed as a rock romance but it also has some mighty power ballads at its heart.”
Catherine Usher, Musical Theatre Review

“A spine-tinglingly poignant closing number”
Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“Real-life couple Goodman and Gordon’s songs are classic musical theatre at heart, relentlessly catchy foot-tappers…It’s in the arrangement of the songs that the rock edge comes in, and it’s performed here by a great four-piece band.”
Nick, Partially Obstructed View

“A rousing score and two excellent performers…Paul Scott Goodman wrote a thrilling score: at times hard rock, sometimes soft and gentle ballads”.”
Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Paul Scott Goodman’s score is mind-blowing.”
Andrew Tomlins, West End Frame

“It is safe to say Alexis Gerred and Cassidy Janson blow the roof of the Finborough Theatre with their exceptional vocal talents. They both give superb portrayals of their characters’ journeys. I was particularly impressed by Cassidy’s performance, she had me in stitches during the funnier scenes and then she really pulled at my heart strings during the more tender moments of the piece.”
Andrew Tomlins, West End Frame

“The central performances are crucial to its success and happily Janson and Gerred are perfectly cast”.
Catherine Usher, Musical Theatre Review

“Cassidy Janson gave a high voltage performance as Monica P. Miller, at times exploding across the stage, at other times appearing sensitive and vulnerable.”
Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

“Cassidy Janson shows true star quality and bags of energy giving her all as Scottish Jewish Princess Monica P Miller aka Lillian Filth in this rock fantasia that satirises and encapsulates an era in under 90 action-packed minutes.”
Phillip Fisher, British Theatre Guide

“A strong supporting performance by Alexis Gerred playing her sidekick Ian, a drunken, depressive singer-songwriter who could have tried out for a starring role in Once with every chance of success.”
Phillip Fisher, British Theatre Guide

“In the speculation over who will succeed Nicholas Hytner as Artistic Director of the National Theatre in two years’ time, one name unlikely to even cross the selection panel’s minds is Neil McPherson. But he runs an unsubsidised, 50-seat room above a failed pub as if it were the National; I can only imagine what he could achieve if you gave him some actual resources to work with. The Finborough regularly punches above its weight in new writing, political theatre, classic revivals and international work, and now it reminds us it can also do the unashamed crowd-pleaser.”
Nick, Partially Obstructed View