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July 28, 2017

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Behind-the-scenes of ‘Rock of Ages’ with just a small-town girl Becca Kotte


Rock of Ages Las Vegas

Becca Kotte, Celina Nightengale, Darren Criss and Kristen Paulicelli at “Rock of Ages” on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in the Venetian.

'Rock of Ages' Grand Opening at Venetian

The Launch slideshow »

'Rock of Ages' Cast at Azure

Launch slideshow »

Robin Leach is winding down from his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward again in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin gets ready to pick up pen, notepad and tape recorder to resume his Strip coverage, we continue today with “Rock of Ages” at the Venetian stars Becca Kotte, Tiffany Engen, Mark Shunock and Justin Mortelliti. Here’s Becca.

Hey, guys! Becca Kotte here. I play the role of “Sherrie” in Las Vegas’ production of “Rock of Ages” at the Venetian. For those of you who have seen the show, you already know the basics: Big songs, big hair, big everything!

Underneath it all, I’m just a goofy girl from Fargo (and still trying to shake that accent). Today, I’m going to take you on a backstage tour of perhaps the “less” glamorous side of live theater. Step into my office!

6:52 p.m.: Signing in! This is how stage management knows we’re here without having to send out a search party — 7:30 p.m. is the latest you are allowed to arrive for an 8 p.m. performance, but I’m usually there sometime before 7 in order to put on my ’80s face.

7:05 p.m.: The transformation into “Sherrie Christian” begins. First stop: Wig prep. In order for all of our own hair to fit under our wigs, and in order to have something to anchor the wigs to our heads, we put our hair up in pin curls, trying to get as flat a surface as possible. That gets covered by a wig cap, which is essentially a head-shaped nylon. Trust me, it’s very stylish.

7:10 p.m.: Makeup! “Rock of Ages” is set in 1987 on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. I use three shades of hot pink, two kinds of glitter and the biggest eyelashes I can find to complete the look.

7:30 p.m.: Wig time! Every cast member is assigned a time leading up to the start of the show to get his or her wigs on. Sherrie’s time is “half hour.” My appointment is quite involved since one of my mic packs (I have a main and a backup) gets attached to my head and fits under my wig.

I promise that it’s not as painful as it sounds. The other pack goes in a pouch in the back of my bra, so if you’ve seen the show and wondered why Sherrie has a mysterious hump on her back, there’s your answer.

7:50 p.m.: Vocal warm-ups. I try to warm up throughout the day as much as possible, but this is an opportunity for Justin Mortelliti (who plays “Drew” in the show) and me to make sure that we’re not only ready to sing the show, but also to connect with each other before we meet onstage. Red Bull in hand, of course.

8 p.m.: It’s go time!!! Suitcase and Slurpee in hand, I’m ready to rock out some ’80s tunes for the next two hours. See you out there!

“Rock of Ages,” which celebrated its 600th show at the Venetian last Friday, plays Tuesdays through Sundays, dark Mondays. Follow Becca on Twitter at @BeccaKotte.

Be sure to check out our other “Rock of Ages” guest columnists Tiffany Engen, Mark Shunock and Justin Mortelliti. On Wednesday, we meet up with Jennifer Aleman, who runs the long-running topless show “Crazy Girls” at the Riviera, and Las Vegas singer Franky Perez.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at

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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at

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