THEATERMANIA: Was it tough to originate the role of Franz in Los Angeles and then not open the show in New York?
TOM LENK:. It was hard, because I thought I was saying goodbye to the show forever. Wesley Taylor is so talented and such a sweet guy, and I think it's really cool that he got the opportunity.
TM: Do you play Franz differently than you did in L.A.?
TL: I didn't want to just do what I did before. The show is a lot different so it wouldn't have been appropriate. When I came in there was a conversation: "Will I be able to do the performance that I want to do?" Some of the things in the script were ad libs that I did in L.A. but Wesley's approach was totally different and I liked it. So it was a challenge to throw out everything that I had been comfortable with. It's been an interesting combination of things I liked from before and things that Wesley did that I enjoyed. Plus, the show has become much tighter and funnier after the really good cuts they made. The other characters have become so fun that I had to bring it up a notch.
TM: Does that mean that you had to make Franz more larger than life?
TL: I don't even have to think about that. Before this, I did a show with Kristin (Hanggi, the director) playing a German fashion designer, and I was doing a German character who was the world's biggest Star Trek. This silly outrageous German thing is so ingrained that it really isn't any effort at all.
TM: How are you enjoying life in New York?
TL: I've never lived here before, and New York's been kinda brutal. I've had a series of crazy events and apartment traumas. I'm also discovering that it's hard to see people outside the show; the schedule is not really conducive to hanging out with friends, falling in love or finding a life partner. I thought I would get in shape, reveal my newly svelte body in a leotard on stage and all that would happen immediately.
TM: Has the stage door experience at the show been anything like interacting with your fans from Buffy The Vampire Slayer?
TL: First of all, getting to go around the world to meet Buffy fans has been one of the best experiences of my life. That said, sometimes you have to take some bad with the good when people go too far. Really, this stage door at Rock of Ages is charming. The only thing is that sometimes there will be someone who doesn't realize that the compliment they are giving you is back-handed. Someone told me I had really big shoes to fill. I just smiled and didn't tell then I had worn them before.