Rock of Ages Director Kristin Hanggi Brings the Music to Chicago

The director of the Broadway hit musical “Rock of Ages,” isn’t anything like you’d expect. First, she’s a she. Not an aging, wannabe male rocker with a few inappropriate tattoos.

Instead, Kristin Hanaggi is a 33-year-old, lovely, articulate artist.

She started her directing career with the show “Pussycat Dolls Live at the Roxy” in L.A. While there, she absorbed the theater’s legendary rock ‘n’ roll history.

“It was all around me, and I thought this would be a great setting for a musical,” says Hanggi during a recent interview about the Chicago debut of “Rock of Ages.” So when a producer came to her with the rights to a lot of ‘80s hair band music, Hanggi was ready and quickly pulled together the team that brought “Rock of Ages” to Broadway.

“The show is like a big rock concert on stage, but it’s also an awesome love story,” Hanggi says. “It’s about your heart and dreams, like everyone has when they come to L.A., and how your dreams change along the way.”

She wanted the show to be an experience. “I want you to feel the way you felt when you were 15 and young and alive, and could do anything,” she says.

The show was nominated for 5 Tonys in 2009, including Best Musical and one for Hanggi, who was nominated for Best Direction of a Musical. While it continues its successful Broadway run, the National Touring Company just opened “Rock of Ages” in Chicago and it stars “American Idol” finalist Constantine Maroulis. The show is only in Chicago for two weeks and closes October 3.