From pop star to rock star for Hear’Say’s Noel Sullivan

Noel Sullivan (Drew) and Cordelia Farnworth (Sherrie) in Rock of Ages The Musical UK Tour. Credit Manuel Harlan.
Noel Sullivan (Drew) and Cordelia Farnworth (Sherrie) in Rock of Ages The Musical UK Tour. Credit Manuel Harlan.
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It was way back in 2001 that Noel Sullivan became part of the pop group Hear’Say following the massively popular reality TV show Popstars.

But after the group split up, he carved himself out a successful stage career in musical theatre and brings his latest show, Rock of Ages, to Nottingham’s Theatre Royal for a week from Monday 9th June.

Noel said that he loves the discipline needed for performing on the stage, with the cast of a musical doing up to eight shows a week.

“Being a pop star isn’t really about the music, it’s about the promotion,” Noel said.

“I love the live feedback from the audience, the acting, the different roles of musicals. It’s a great job but it is hard work!”

Noel describes Rock of Ages as ‘an 80s jukebox musical of killer American rock anthems’. It is a comedy romance that is going down particularly well with people who remember that era.

“It’s a great show for people who remember that time - it’s a proper rock party,” he said.

“The audiences are going nuts for it. They are up on their feet dancing along.”

Noels plays the romantic lead Drew Boley. He falls in love with a girl and the story follows the ups and downs as they strive for a happy ending.

Noel says it is about achieving your dreams - but the outcome is not as you might expect and has a bit of a twist.

Starring alongside him is former Footballers’ Wives’ actor Ben Richards, who plays rock god Stacee Jaxx.

The show is embarking on a gruelling 20-week long UK tour including the stop in Nottingham.

Said Noel: “Even when you are really tired, when you hear the opening of the show that’s it - you’re up and you’re off!

“It’s so much fun - it definitely beats working for a living!”

Tickets for Rock of Ages are available at or on 0115 989 5555. They are £16 to £32 plus concessions.

It features the most famous and most popular rock anthems from the 1980s, including Don’t Stop Believin’, The Final Countdown, We Built This City, I Want to Know What Love Is and many more.

“When you look at the tracklist, even if you might not know the songs straight away, you will when you hear them,” said Noel.

“They are amazing songs. The whole show in general is going down really well, especially when we perform Don’t Stop Believin’ at the end.”

Being set in 80s Los Angeles, the hair, make up and costumes of Rock of Ages of course have to reflect this era - and all of its ‘glory’.

“I have got a huge brown wig. There’s a lot of wigs and shoulder pads and denim and lots of people in the audience are coming dressed up in fancy dress to the show too,” said Noel.

“It is definitely the kind of show where you can have a couple of drinks before and let your hair down!”