April featured alumnus: Chris D’Arienzo

It all started with a dream.

Chris D’Arienzo, Paw Paw native and ’94 MSU School of Journalism graduate, said during an interview with the Macomb Daily that he would go to musicals all the time while visiting his mother on the East Coast.

Photo via Flickr.

He dreamed of one day having a musical of his own.

“I said I wanted to write a Broadway show,” D’Arienzo said during the interview.

Writer for the smash-hit musical “Rock of Ages,” D’Arienzo was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2009 including best musical.

Based on hits from the ‘80s, “Rock of Ages” includes music from Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Pat Benetar, Whitesnake Twisted Sister, Poison and Asia, to name a few.

Despite his initial negative attitude, D’Arienzo decided to go to New York to make his “Rock of Ages” dream come true.

“When I pitched it, I jokingly said, ‘This is a Broadway show,’ and everyone kind of laughed,” D’Arienzo said during his Macomb Daily interview. “Then all of a sudden we were going to New York, and we said, ‘The critics are gonna hate us, but hopefully the audience loves us. Then we opened and got a rave in the New York Times.”

Touring around the world, “Rock of Ages” has been recognized as one of the 50 longest-running musicals of all time.

Dabbling into the film industry, D’Arienzo also wrote and directed the film “Barry Munday” and is currently directing the film “Always On My Mind,” starring Nick Nolte and Glenn Close with music by Elton John.

On April 6, “Rock of Ages” will be returning to D’Arienzo’s alma mater for a one-night show at MSU’s Wharton Center for Performing Arts.

The show begins at 6 p.m. and tickets start at 25 dollars.

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