When Dee Snider was asked to return to Broadway as the special guest star of the musical “Rocktopia,” he jumped at the chance.
“I have a lot of love for the theater after my ‘Rock of Ages’ experience,” said the Baldwin native, calling from his home in Belize. “It’s very flattering to be asked to sing these legendary rock songs.”
“Rocktopia,” which opened last month at the Broadway Theatre, combines classical music with rock classics, bringing together Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” in the same arrangement. Co-creator Rob Evan, a Broadway veteran of “Les Misérables” and “Little Shop of Horrors,” calls it a “classical revolution.”
“The idea is that Mozart and Freddie Mercury would be at the same party,” said Evan, after a recent matinee. “Time is the only thing that separates them.”
Though Snider already examined the combination of rock and orchestral music in his Van Helsing’s Curse project, he said that “Rocktopia” makes a broader statement, showing how rock and classical music can be seen on the same level.
“We don’t need to be legitimized, but this is nice,” Snider said. “When you hear these songs side by side, you recognize that they should sit at the same table.”
Snider will take on the guest star role in “Rocktopia” Monday through April 15, singing Led Zeppelin classics “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir,” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” as well as pieces of other classics.
The former Twisted Sister frontman said he will also draw on his past as a classically trained countertenor, when he attended LIU Post for a year.
“At this point, I look for challenges,” said Snider, who is working on a new hard-core metal album, as well as animated kids show “Monsters Rock.” “Something like this is challenging. It makes me stretch.”
“Rocktopia” musical director Tony Bruno, who also plays guitar in the show, says he is looking forward to the unpredictability that Snider brings. “Every day is a new experience,” said Bruno, a Farmingdale native who used to play in Long Island bands and opened for Twisted Sister. “I have no idea what will happen.”
Snider said he appreciates Train’s Pat Monahan, the guest singer for the first two weeks of “Rocktopia,” but that he will approach his role differently.
“I’m a fire-breathing rock star,” he said, laughing. “That’s what I bring to the mix.”