FANS of eighties rock will be reaching for their air guitars this month when the hit musical Rock of Ages comes to the Empire Theatre in Liverpool.

Dubbed the ultimate rock mix-tape musical, Rock of Ages is a hilarious story of dreams, love and – of course – rock.

A celebration of classic 80s rock culture, the show tells the story of a small town girl and a big city rocker falling in love to the greatest songs of the decade.

Featuring memorable tunes such as We Built This City, The Final Countdown, Don’t Stop Believing and I Wanna Know What Love Is, the show brings its wild celebration of Los Angeles rock culture to Liverpool on July 21.

Rock God Stacee Jaxx - made famous by Tom Cruise in the 2012 film – is played by former Footballers Wives and star of The Bill, Ben Richards.

The Strictly Dance Fever judge returns to the stage following an extensive career in London’s West End - with previous theatre credits including Guys and Dolls and Saturday Night Fever – but told the Globe he was not scared to follow in the Hollywood star’s footsteps.

“He’s the biggest star in the world but the good thing is that this was a show before it was a film and the show and the film are very different,” said Ben, taking a break from rehearsals.

“I actually haven’t seen the film and I hadn’t seen the show either. I went into the audition blind. I just read the script and I loved it and thought it was fun.”

One thing that did come as a surprise for Ben was the amount of nudity that comes with playing Stacee Jaxx.

He said: “I didn’t realise that I would be on stage in just my underpants so I’ve had to hit the gym three times a week for that.”

Describing the show as a “juxebox musical”, Ben said: “I grew up listening to the Commodores and Motown and I would go to my friend Paul’s and listen to rock music. I’m a big fan of that type of music.

“Rock of Ages is most people’s show. If you are the musical theatre fan that just likes theatre musical like Les Miserable then this probably isn’t the show for you.

“It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s good fun and it’s blasting out all of these rock ballads – the audience gets to have a good sing along too.”

Ben added: “I’m looking forward to Liverpool. If you get it right they make sure you know if they like it. Every show we have done so far has had a standing ovation and has gone down really well.”

  • Rock of Ages, which also stars former Hear’Say singer Noel Sullivan, runs at the Liverpool Empire from July 21 to July 26.
  • For tickets, call the Box Office on 0844 871 3017.