of Rock of Ages
Girl does Broadway… Still Dreaming Big and
As friend and fan, I (Tammy Scileppi) have been
following Katherine’s fast-track career for
several years watching her perform in Wicked,
Chorus Line (as Kristine) and White
Christmas (as Rhoda)—and now she’s
appearing in the cool rock musical Rock of Ages!
Katherine Performing with
POISON at the Tony Awards
of Ages: Remember the 80's? Half shirts,
fringy jackets, mohawks and big hair with lots of
mousse….How about ping pong…..and those
“amazing” CD’s and VCR’s?...was
“Hit me with your best shot” (by Pat
Benatar), playing on your walkman? Flashback to
1987 …..good lookin’ boy with big dreams
meets pretty girl with bigger dreams in the exciting
rock musical Rock of Ages…told through
the hit songs of iconic rockers like: Journey, Bon
Jovi, Poison, Whitesnake, Pat Benatar, REO SPEEDWagon,
STYX, Twisted Sister, Survivor, and others?
Please tell me about
growing up in Dudley, Mass. and how you began your
Actually, there are no sidewalks in Dudley! it’s
such a small town…people still leave their
front doors unlocked….. And on Fourth of July,
everybody visits their neighbors for barbecues.
I started dancing when I was 3; I was always dancing…Jo
Ann Warren (Dance Studio) was instrumental in getting
me to where I wanted to be professionally—for
studying voice, it was Jane Shivick—both helped
me be well-prepared for auditions. As I got older,
I played some sports but continued with my passion,
dancing. I looked up to a cousin who was a performer/dancer
with Disney, in shows at its theme parks. So, there
I was, auditioning for Disney Tokyo—and I
got the gig and stayed in Japan for 8 months; I
decided: I want to do this! Then I went on to spend
a year performing with Disney Florida, then found
myself in Germany to study in a voice program.
Tammy Scileppi: I
know you traveled and performed in Europe before
coming to NYC.....but how did you adjust to NYC
lifestyle and tempo after growing up in a small
town? What challenges did you overcome when you
began your journey?
My first job was in Japan. That was only the second
or third time I'd ever flown on a plane. I had never
eaten sushi, or lived alone, or danced professionally.
It was all very new and different. NYC is a different
beast though. I thought because I had lived abroad,
I had a leg up. It was still hard to essentially
have two full-time jobs--the one that supported
me financially (catering) and the one that brought
me closer to my goals (auditioning and class). I
think it's necessary to struggle…. It's sweeter
in the end and nothing good comes easy…
Tammy Scileppi: You
seem very focused and determined, yet quite modest
about performing in several Broadway shows. How
come you are so laid back about your awesome performance…in
Rock of Ages?
I love what I do! But it’s not the be all
and end all….it’s all about who you
Tammy Scileppi: So,
where do you see yourself 5, 10 years from now?
Is settling down with kids and a “white picket
fence” part of your future?
That is a great question. I would love to have babies
and a family someday, for sure. For now, I think
I should continue following my heart and staying
challenged. Down the road I'd like to go back to
school and combine the arts with doing something
that helps people. I don't know exactly what that
means right now, but that's what I would like…
Rock of Ages
hit The Great White Way on April 7, 2009; can you
give me some gossip about the after party? I heard
that “rock royalty” attended…
Well…it was a hot party! It took place at
the China Club: Wanna know who was there? Dee Snider
of Twisted Sister, Survivor’s Jim Peterik,
Neal Schon of Journey, and many others. Really exciting!
Tammy Scileppi: What
if one split second sent your life in two different
directions….do you think that the end result
would be the same? In the movie, Sliding Doors,
the main character misses her train and in a parallel
universe, just makes her train.....the events and
choices she makes in her life, unfolding in different
ways.....then conjoining..... result in the same
ending. If for some reason, you had decided to take
a different road from the one you chose, and had
not pursued your passion, do you think that somehow
you would still find yourself in the same place
I don't really believe in hindsight or regretting
anything if I've enjoyed how I've spent my time.
I think everything happens for a reason and I appreciate
the "downs" just as much as the "ups"….I
believe I am right where I should be.
If you could twitch your nose or wave a magic wand--just
for fun--which of the roles you played would you
like to become for a day?
I would love to live in the 1940s for a day (like
Rhoda)…. when White Christmas took
place. Hear how they talk, see how they dress, and
get a taste of what it was like back then. That
would be interesting.
Tammy Scileppi: What
lessons have you learned along the way? What aspect
of your life do you still need to work on?
to never expect it will get easier. Every day I
have to continue to fight for my own happiness.
Jobs are fleeting… what counts is being honest
and true to who I am and loving myself and the people
around me. In the end, that's what matters!!
Tammy Scileppi: Do you see yourself working
behind the scenes one day? You mentioned that within
your circle you know people who are writers and
other creative types.
I really respect those who create—writers,
composers, etc... I am not sure if I'll become one
but I fantasize about opening up my mind and being
a part of that group. Right now I don't see it,
but maybe down the road in some sort of collaborative
When was your big break?
10 months after arriving in NYC…..auditioning
for Wicked (getting the part) and performing
in my first Broadway show (at the Gershwin Theatre)—I
was in the Broadway production of Wicked,
as well as, its touring show and also in a Chicago
production of Wicked. The producers couldn’t
believe they found a dancer who can sing like ‘that’—that's
what helped me get cast. I thought I had got hired
as a dancer for Wicked, then I saw my contract
and it said “singer/dancer." Ironically,
in A Chorus Line I play a dancer who can't
Tammy Scileppi: Like
all of us, you must get overwhelmed by the pressure
and hectic schedule? What is your favorite thing
to do in New York to de-stress (aside from working
Yes! Mental health days are essential!!…I
love long dinners with good company, going to the
movies, and finding new things to do in the city…
I went bike riding last week on the West Side and
I loved it!! To de-stress, I try to spend time with
good friends… and zone out with books and
movies. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else
right now! I love New York with a passion!!
Tammy Scileppi: Tell
me about your recent gigs for the show?
I performed at Broadway in Bryant Park
on stage, with Savannah Wise, Michele Mail, and
Becca Tobin…this past summer…it was
an open air free lunchtime series, for 6 consecutive
Thursdays…we sang for the crowds! It was an
amazing experience performing with POISON and the
cast in the opening number…. and the day before,
June 6th, the band members, (Bobby Dall, C.C. Deville
and Rikki Rockett), visited the show and hung out
backstage after the performance, with me and the
entire cast. It was [also] an amazing experience
performing with POISON and the cast in the opening
number…at the Tony Awards.
What kind of advice can you give someone trying
to “make it” in any field?
My mantra: “…Stay challenged….physically,
mentally and professionally….and keep moving
Don't miss Katherine Tokarz and her “wow”
performance in Rock of Ages!
• Monday: 8pm
• Tuesday: 7pm
• Wednesday: No Performance
• Thursday: 8pm
• Friday: 8pm
• Saturday: 2pm & 8pm
• Sunday: 2pm & 7pm
ROCK OF AGES TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE THRU JANUARY
Regular Price: $59.50 - $139.50
The Brooks Atkinson Theatre (256 W. 47th Street).
All tickets (including VIP Green Room and Premium
Seats) can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com.
Call: 212-307-4100 or in person at The Box Office,
256 W. 47th Street.