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Fargo native lands ‘dream role’ in ‘Rock of Ages’

Trollwood alumna Becca Kotte is starring in the musical, “Rock of Ages,” in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy Denise Truscello.

FARGO — Trollwood Performing Arts School alumna Becca Kotte is living her dream starring in the musical “Rock of Ages” at The Venetian in Las Vegas.

The 27-year-old plays Sherrie, a small-town girl chasing her dreams of making it big in 1987 Los Angeles. The show features rock anthems, big hair and the bright, tight clothes iconic of the ’80s.

“It’s like the Journey song, ‘Just a small-town girl livin’ in a lonely world.’ The character I play in ‘Rock of Ages’ comes from small-town Kansas, and she goes to L.A. to be a big star. I can relate to that character,” the Fargo native said. “You feel like a fish out of water, but if you just keep going, you can really achieve what you set your mind to.”

The 2005 Fargo South High School grad was involved in “Crazy for You,” “Footloose,” “Les Misérables” and “Kiss Me, Kate” at Trollwood, located in Moorhead, Minn. She also participated in Straw Hat Players shows at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

After high school, Kotte went to college at the University of Miami. Next, she moved to New York, where she worked as a wedding singer and on cruise ships.

Two and a half years ago she moved to Las Vegas, where she sang with bands before becoming part of “Rock of Ages.”

“When the economy crashed, shows were closing left and right, and the jobs that were there for theater actors just kind of dissipated,” she said, adding that she also has sisters on the West Coast.

When she started with “Rock of Ages” about a year ago, she worked as an understudy for seven different characters. She played the lead 20 to 30 times throughout the year, and a couple of weeks ago she took over the role.

Q. What do you like about musical theater?

A. It’s been a hobby of mine forever. I grew up going to dance class and doing theater in high school. It didn’t occur to me until right before I went to college that I could do it as a career. It’s something that I’ve always loved to do.

I think the coolest part of it is people can sort of leave their troubles at the door when they go to see a theater performance. I love that I have this platform to inspire people and help them through whatever is going on in their lives. As a performer I can help celebrate the good things and help them forget the bad things.

Q. Is this a dream role for you?

A. Absolutely. I have wanted to do “Rock of Ages” since it came out. I’m obsessed with ‘80s music, I love singing rock music and obviously I love theater, too.

I’ve always wanted to do this show, and it was my goal and it is absolutely a dream role. I have to pinch myself sometimes that this is really happening.

Q. Are there any other musicals you would like to be in?

A. One of the more iconic shows that I’ve always wanted to be a part of is “Cabaret.” They just revived it on Broadway, and who knows how long it will be around, but I’ve always wanted to do that.

I try to be open about that stuff because you never know with entertainment what’s going to be going on at any point in time. My main goal is just to keep working as an actor and not have to support myself waiting tables.

Q. Do you prefer comedies or dramas?

A. I’ve always loved making people laugh. It keeps the mood light to do comedy. That’s definitely how “Rock of Ages” is. I get to laugh my butt off every night, and I can’t believe I get paid for it.

I did dramas in college, but I’ve never done a drama where you’re doing it eight shows a week. I don’t know what that would be like, but I’d definitely like to try it out. I know what it’s like to do a comedy every night all week, and I love that.

Q. How do you keep up your enthusiasm for the show?

A. So far it has not been an issue. I’ll go into work sometimes and may not really feel like it, but as soon as I hear the guitar music and the crowd so amped up to be there – this might be the only time they get to see “Rock of Ages” or any Broadway musical at all. It’s my responsibility to deliver every single night.

It’s a big responsibility, but it’s one I really enjoy, and it’s an honor to be able to do that.

Q. Do you get nervous?

A. A little bit. I’ve never really had stage fright.

My office is a stage in front of 1,500 people every night, and it’s just the coolest job in the world and I can’t believe it’s mine.