CROONER ELIJAH ROCK SINGS THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK TO UNITE US ALL IN THESE RACIALLY TURBULENT TIMES
America, as a country and as a concept, is currently on the ropes as it pertains to equality, parity and compassion between cultures, races and classes. It has existed this way since its very beginnings… However, when we rewind back to the `40s and `50s, we remember a special collection of songs sung by a stellar collection of individuals both Black and White that brought comfort and clarity to daily lives. The stories they told through the music were most profound when we found them sharing a stage together…Ella Fitzgerald with Frank Sinatra…Bing Crosby with Louis Armstrong. The material we most typically heard them singing together stemmed from “The Great American Songbook,” a loosely defined top shelf of songs by composers that include Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and George Gershwin. Among the finest and most purposed crooners performing this music today – largely in the tried and true traditions of its origin – is singer/dancer Elijah Rock, whose debut recoding is titled Gershwin For My Soul.
“Artists of diverse ethnicities performing these songs together on stage and television provided the healing portion for the times,” Rock states. “They were the progressive onesfor at least grappling with wanting to see beyond racism because they shared the commonality of music. Collaborating first hand and face to face with artists outside of their own culture, they learned about the human being - not just the fellow entertainer - and how there should be equality among all people because we all essentially have the same wants and desires for a good life of prosperity, love and fulfilment. The essence of this music is the integration of jazz and Eurocentric symphonic leanings with lyrics that possessed positive universal themes about love and striving to live their finest life. We’re still feeling the impressions of that music because of its uplifting and introspective intentions – intentions needed now more than ever in this country.”
Elijah Rock has been touring in support of Gershwin For My Soulin a myriad of presentations that purposefully place The Great American Songbook as a unifying force in venues from Feinstein’s 54/Below in New York City to Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood. He’s moved from being backed by a jazz trio to the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Jazz Big Band. Elijah also teams with singer Donny Most to more literally illustrate the unity of black and white in the show “Celebration of the Classic Crooners” that salutes singers from Sammy Davis Jr. to Tony Bennett - where by singing “Birth of The Blues.” Together on stage they can reopen the conversation about racial equality in an artful way.
Beyond the stage, Composer and Entrepreneur Dean Hakada is developing a documentary under the working title of ‘Breath and Imagination’ which delves into the makings of Rock- a true classic crooner and partially inspired by a cherished Bel Canto vocal technique that extends from Spaniard Manuel Garcia (who taught it to the Italians where it became a staple of opera) and Vladimir Chernov (the great Russian Baritone who Rock adapted the technique from) to the late Roland Hayes, an African American tenor singer who Rock has portrayed on regional stages across the country and who he believes embraced and embodied the technique philosophically.
Rock elucidates, “It’s about breathing a tonality that manifests a sound. What you are singing on the breath reflects the core essence of what you are feeling/thinking in the moment. Breathing is the function that unites us all. If you’re not breathing, you’re not living. That philosophy is important for singers. The stage is our platform, and the entertainer’s job is to be transparent and, ultimately, to unite. That doesn’t mean we can’t address sensitive subjects but at the end of the day, the resolution is how we can live together. As humans, we can’t live without art. Art enables us to first envision that which we ultimately long to make real.”
“How I can be a part of the cultural healing of what is going on today?” Rock concludes. “The music I sing from The Great American Songbook is not intended to invoke a nostalgic backward glance to a bitterly divided time in American history. It’s performance art in the universal language of music shared with an explicit intention to imagine a world where human beings see each other as equals in all walks of life – an open window into open-mindedness, and a singular, compassionate vision of truly making America great again.”
(Written by Jazz Writer- A. Scott Galloway, August 2018)
ELIJAH ROCK IS A HIT AT SUN LAKES COUNTRY CLUB 8/23/18
"Rock came out on stage in a sparkly jacket, tuxedo pants and tap shoes. His beaming smile and energetic moves delighted his audience. His full, rich voice filled the room, and his smooth and suave demeanor was fabulous." "At the end of his program, Rock showed off his classical training with “Nessun Dorma,” one of the most famous male arias in opera, earning himself a standing ovation." [more] Record Gazette
Elijah Rock to perform with Virginia Symphony Jazz at Gloucester Arts Festival 6/30/18
“When they asked me to be a part of it I was elated because I used to have family in Virginia,” Rock said. “I’ve never been to Gloucester, but Virginia’s just a special place and they’re special people and I love what they’re doing with this festival. And then the opportunity to perform with the Virginia Symphony big band was just something that I’ve really been wanting to do, is really perform with big bands across the country.” [more] LA Times
JAZZDAGAMA'S RAVE REVIEW OF ELIJAH ROCK'S GERSHWIN FOR MY SOUL ALBUM 5/4/2018
Mr. Rock is exactly that kind of vocalist: a velvet tenor-to-baritone voice almost ideally suited to a Wagnerian role as he is to the role of Porgy or anything (Gershwin or otherwise) on Broadway. And that is in addition to singing hymns in church or perhaps even dirty, low-down blues in a club that smells like the legendary Slugs once did. Mr. Rock is that prodigiously gifted – and chameleonic – and if you dial in for a magnificent, soulful performance of Gershwin then you have the correct number. [more] JazzdaGama.com
ELIJAH ROCK at Feinstein's/54 Below JUNE 7th, 2018!
FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club, presents Elijah Rock in "Gershwin For My Soul" on Thursday, June 7th at 9:30pm.
Elijah Rock is emerging as the new generation’s next great Crooner. From Gershwin to Sinatra and back again, Rock’s voice, charisma, and dazzling tap dance give each tune a special place in his powerful repertoire. Elijah will be featuring his East Coast trio with Musical Director Robert Garcia (Drums), Addison Frei (Piano), and Peter Brendler (Bass). This is a show you don’t want to miss! For tickets, https://54below.com
North Coast Rep’s 'Around the World in 80 Days'-themed Spotlight Gala coming April 22, 2018!
North Coast Rep’s “Around the World in 80 Days”-themed Spotlight Gala will be held Sunday, April 22, from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Del Mar Country Club. The memorable evening begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction accompanied by jazz stylings of guitarist Bob Boss. A seated, plated dinner will be served in the ballroom, with Around the World theme décor. After the dinner, auctioneer Clint Bell will conduct the live auction and fund a need segments. Then, Elijah Rock, crooner extraordinaire and sensational tap dancer, will entertain with classic hits from the Great American Songbook and more. Chairperson is Holly Smith Jones and Co-Chairs are Debra and Jim Lampley and Dori and Jeff Patterson. For more information and tickets, visit northcoastrep.org
NORHT COAST REP'S REVIEW OF ELIJAH ROCK'S HIT SHOW "GERSHWIN FOR MY SOUL!"
Elijah Rock dazzled our audience in two sold out performances of his show "Gershwin For My Soul" with his mastery of jazz, pop and even classical song stylings. Mr. Rock’s virtuosity includes a fantastic band, old school charm and even tap dancing that thoroughly enthralled our patrons.
Artistic Director- North Coast Repertory Theatre
ELIJAH ROCK STARS IN "A NIGHT OF ROMANCE-THE SHOW" On NOV 9th,2017 at THE SPACE IN LAS VEGAS!
On Thursday November 9th, a scintillating new vehicle, “A Night of Romance: The Show” – one unlike any other on or near Las Vegas Strip – makes its monumental debut at The Space (3460 Cavaretta Court, Las Vegas). Billed as “a spell-binding evening full of enchantment, mystery and elegance,” this transfixing new program brings to life “The Greatest Love Songs and Stories from the Golden Era of Old Las Vegas to today.” Audiences will revel in heart-tugging, timeless melodies from The Great American Songbook as well as some of the most beloved love songs in popular music – from “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Just the Way You Are.” The selections have been sequenced into a song cycle that chronicles all the stages of romance and the search for new love again.
Starring in this top shelf, date night sensation is multi-dimensional entertainer and recording artist Elijah Rock. This electrifying award-winning performer has portrayed legends such as Cab Calloway in “I Only Have Eyes For You: The Life and Lyrics of Al Dubin,” “Crooner” in “Words By Gershwin,” and “Coalhouse Walker, Jr.” in “Ragtime” - plus a recurring role in the spicy Showtime Television series “Masters of Sex.” Those experiences and more have led to Elijah’s arrival in America’s Entertainment Capital, Las Vegas, with the custom-crafted “A Night of Romance: The Show.” This taps exquisitely into his skills as a singer, dancer and all-around leading ladies man superbly befitting his character’s moniker, “Mr. Romance.”
Musical Supervisor for “A Night of Romance: The Show” is Grammy Award-winner David Loeb, who holds the distinction of being Ben Vereen's MD for over 30 years. He is also an acclaimed jazz pianist who has worked with Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Arturo Sandoval, and has orchestrated for George Benson and more. Hand-picking musicians from the Jazz Studies Program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he is Director of the Jazz Studies Program, Loeb is cushioning and propelling Elijah’s performance with the city’s very best.
So, bring your sweetheart out to “A Night of Romance: The Show,” a crystal jukebox come-to-life that promises to make every night Valentine’s Day!
LA JAZZ SCENE Reviews Elijah Rock’s Performance at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood on 8/3/2017
Rock has a lot of confidence, singing “Fascinating Rhythm” and “I Can’t Get Started” with a deep, resonant voice. I was very impressed with his warm tone, excellent enunciation of the lyrics and his relaxed style. The quartet couldn’t have been better. Storie was so good as he added depth to the material. Every musician was outstanding. It was so good to hear a singer and musicians at this high level of ability and emotion. Wow! Rock took his time with each tune; a slow, measured “I Can’t Get Started” and “How Long Has This Been Going On?” Each a fine, polished gem, which can be heard on Rock’s new CD, Elijah Rock Gershwin For My Soul. Rock is a crooner of the “old school” like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Joe Williams, Steve Lawrence, Mel Torme and others who toured, recorded and made lifelong fans along the way. [more]: LA Jazz Scene
Elijah Rock's Radio INTERVIEW with JACQUELINE Gerber on Cleveland's WCLV Classical 104.9 6/2/17
Award-winning triple threat Elijah Rock is a native of South Euclid, attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, and spent time as a Singing Angel. Now he's returning to Cleveland to headline Grand Illusion: A Magical Odyssey, Cleveland Play House's annual benefit on June 3. He's also just released a new album called Gershwin For My Soul. Elijah visited WCLV to chat with Jacqueline Gerber. [Listen]
Elijah Rock'S Radio Interview with Carl HUnt on ROUTE 66 Cleveland's WRUW FM 91.1 5/31/17
[PRESS RELEASE]- AwArd-winning Triple Threat Entertainer is Jazzin' Up GERSHWIN On Record with 'Gershwin For My Soul"
(Los Angeles, CA – March 31, 2017) Long-dedicated to upholding and aligning himself with the first class carriage and aesthetic of timeless entertainment, singer/actor/dancer Elijah Rock is carrying the blazing torch for the legacy of George & Ira Gershwin, bringing a contemporary and decidedly African American twist to their timeless music with several forward thinking projects.
Gershwin For My Soul (release date April 18) is the Cleveland-born baritone’s brand new critically acclaimed album. Jazziz Magazine marvels, “Rock brings both chops and emotion to his masculine yet sensitive delivery.” Rock traveled to Thailand to star and make his directorial debut in a gorgeous music video for the lead single/title track “Gershwin For My Soul” that is bringing a sensual touch of class to video outlets around the globe. Rock and his lovely co-star cavort in the sun-dappled climes and evening breezes of Phuket interspersed with Elijah crooning about the timeless grace of Gershwin and sumptuous amour – thus Elijah’s new moniker, “Mr. Romance.”
It is but one of 12 masterful performances on the album, produced and arranged by Grammy-winning keyboardist/musical director Kevin Toney to bring the music of Gershwin into its rightful contemporary space, ably aided by bassist John B. Williams and drummer Greg Paul, plus guitarists Jacques Lesure and John Storie. The arrangements range from hiply syncopated updates on “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Our Love is Here to Stay” to Rock milking the rarely heard extended introduction to “How Long Has This Been Going On?” (before it falls like feathers into a soft brushed blues) and a version of the delightful “S’Wonderful” in a tender take that recalls the spirit of recently departed Al Jarreau. The album represents a full circle journey for Rock who started singing at 8 in church followed by his first Gershwin songs from “Porgy & Bess” at 16 at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
That connection is key to Elijah Rock reviving the music of “Porgy & Bess” in a revolutionary new presentation that takes what was originally written as an Opera then turned into a Broadway musical into a pure jazz adaptation. Utilizing the story as retold in the most recent Broadway book written by Suzan Lori Parks, with Kevin Toney’s sparkling arrangements for 5-piece band and Rock in the role of “Porgy” with a scaled down cast, this “Porgy & Bess” premiered at the 300-seat Ensemble Theater in Santa Barbara, California to raves from audiences bowled over by the intimacy, the freshness and Rock’s mastery.
NAACP Theater Award-winning triple threat Rock sailed into these latest endeavors on the wings of glowing acclaim for his stage performances of the characters ‘Crooner’ in “Words by Ira Gershwin” and of the legendary Cotton Club star Cab Calloway in the musical revue “I Only Have Eyes For You” for which he was nominated for a 2016 Ovation Theatre Award. The Glendale News raved, “Baritone Rock, with charm to spare, shifts smoothly from crisp jazz phrasings to the operatic...” The Hollywood Progressive proclaimed, “The youthful Rock, who appears in Showtime’s TV series ‘Masters of Sex,’ is establishing himself as one of his generation’s foremost interpreters and performers of The Great American Songbook.”
Up next for Elijah Rock is a residency in Las Vegas where a top team of producers are developing a vehicle around the star entitled “A Fine Romance” featuring The Songs of George & Ira Gershwin and The Great American Songbook. In this intimate show, Rock will flesh out the “Mr. Romance” in a theatrical environment that promises to bring back to Vegas the taste and sophistication of yesteryears.
“Before this experience, I hadn’t really embraced the balladeer aspect of my gift,” Rock muses. “It was about me being vulnerable enough to know I could do it. It’s been an interesting transformation for me.” Ultimately, Elijah Rock will be wowing longtime lovers of Gershwin music as he cultivates a younger audience with his all-around showmanship, singing and even his paddle-n-roll style of tap dancing - lost arts all that have found in Rock a tireless cultural savior.
“I believe there is a cross demographic that this music will serve,” Rock concludes. “I am grateful to Tony Bennett, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Gregory Porter, Diana Krall and Michael Bublé for their success in keeping the music relevant to today’s pop world. I approach singing from a traditional perspective with a fresh twist. Gershwin For My Soul not only represents America’s classical music, it will give me a platform to address a lot of other things about the culture and where we all stand today.” [more]: All About Jazz
ELIJAH ROCK STARS AS "Porgy" IN THE GERSHWIN'S PORGY and Bess: Ensembe Theatre- Santa Barbara, CA (2/9- 2/26/17)
Elijah Rock gives Porgy enough jauntiness to keep him going, but is most riveting when he sings the unforgettable songs Gershwin has provided: “I Got Plenty of Nothing” “Bess, You Is My Woman Now” and, in a final restoration of faith, or at the very least an earnest try at bravado, “O Lord, I’m On My Way.” Rock’s Porgy is not a powerful figure, though he regains some agility when life is going his way and metal braces help him stand up for himself. But it’s Rock’s magical singing that makes him stand out, with extended lines and graceful nuance delivered by a voice that can be forceful or gentle as the moment demands. [more]: Ventura Star
Elijah Rock: Gershwin has been a part of my life since the beginning of my formal training as a vocalist. In 2015, I did a show called “Words by Ira Gershwin,” with the musical director Kevin Toney. That was a jazz interpretation as well, and those arrangements were swinging, so when I found out that Toney was going to be working on this adaptation, I had to. I’ve been wanting to play Porgy for a long time. [more]: KCRW
For Rock, who will be making a radical transition from the role of madcap dancer Cab Calloway, which won him an Ovation Award Nomination in 2016, to the physically disabled yet emotionally strong Porgy, the challenge of the show involves the way that its “mixture of musical styles” requires a “merging of all the disciplines” of acting, movement, and song. Rock cites the close relationship he enjoys with musical director Toney as one of the key elements to achieving this, as the jazz band is in many ways as important to the production as any of the actors. [more]: Santa Barbara Independent
ELIJAH ROCK REVIEWED IN WINTER 2017 EDITION OF JAZZIZ MAGAZINE!
Rock brings both chops and emotion to his masculine yet sensitive delivery. [more]: Jazziz Magazine pg. 39
SONGBOOK SALUTES: Rock (who takes a tap dancing solo in "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin") injects plenty of spirit into the music. [more]: Jazziz Magazine pg. 113
JW 89.5FM Radio Interview with Elijah Rock (Phuket, Thailand)
Elijah Rock Brings Cab Calloway to Life in ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’ at the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood.
Elijah Rock, a great fan of what he calls, The Great American Songbook, gets to perform the music of one of his music legends, Cab Calloway, in a featured segment of the production. [more]: Eurthisnthat.com
WATCH NEW VIDEO! Singer Elijah Rock to Release “Gershwin For The Soul” in Spring 2016 [more]: UrbanMusicScene
Elijah Rock featured on AllABOUTJAZZ.COM
Award-Winning Triple Threat Entertainer Elijah Rock Shifts Focus To Music With Unique Contemporary Indiegogo-Funded Ep Salute “Gershwin For The Soul” [more]: AllAboutJazz
Elijah Rock featured on EJAZZNEWS.COM- The #1 Jazz News Website
(Los Angeles, CA – August 10, 2015) Long-dedicated to upholding and aligning himself with the first class carriage and aesthetic of timeless entertainers from the past, singer/actor/dancer Elijah Rock is in the final stages of preparation to bring a contemporary and decidedly African American twist to the music of George & Ira Gershwin with his forthcoming recording project, Gershwin for the Soul. [more]: EJazzNews
Words by Ira Gershwin: Colony Theatre- LA
“You were a treasure to experience in “Words by Ira Gershwin!” this past spring. You have a command of the Great American Songbook which is rare among singers of today. You have a strong voice which is a distinctive and mellifluous baritone that sounds classic and polished, hip and vulnerable all at once. You are a triple threat entertainer who can act, sing, and tap dance. It is clear to me that we need more young entertainers like you who are passionate to carry on our tradition. You know how to vocally craft a lyric so each phrase carries depth and meaning. I know Ira would have been impressed had he had the opportunity to experience you LIVE on the stage in Burbank!” Michael S. Strunsky, Trustee -The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts
Rock also moves easily between styles, particularly turning his arias from Porgy and Bess into passionate showstoppers that make this musical evening ring with elegant sophistication.”
“But it is Elijah Rock (Crooner) who steals the show. With a voice resonant and loud enough for opera, this recurring guest star on Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” has the stage presence and dancing ability to go as far as his talent will take him. Here, especially in the songs from “Porgy and Bess,” the 2014 NAACP Theatre Award Winner displays a deep and natural understanding of and flair for the material. This critic hopes to see Rock on the stages of Burbank or Los Angeles again soon.”
“Rock is the Crooner, and he sings deliciously and dances even better: He is given a chance to tap against drummer Webster and he scampers around the stage, steps and everywhere else.”
[more]: Los Angeles Daily
“Baritone Rock (NAACP Theatre Award-winner for his 2014 performance in “Breath and Imagination” at the Colony), with charm to spare, shifts smoothly from crisp jazz phrasings to the operatic “Oh Bess, Oh Where Is My Bess?” and he proves to be a notable tapper in “They All Laughed,” a sizzling rhythm match with drummer Webster.”
[more]: Glendale News-Press
“Whenever it’s Rock, the brilliant star of the Colony’s Breath And Imagination: The Story Of Roland Hayes, once again showing off some of the most gorgeous—and versatile—pipes in town (and tapping to rival a Nicholas Brother,)…”
“Having said all this, the music – and in particular, the stellar, show stopping warbling and hoofing by the phenomenal Elijah Rock, makes this work worth seeing (and hearing!). Once again the scene stealing Rock, rocks the Colony, where he previously starred in Breath and Imagination -The Story of Roland Hayes, the African American tenor who professionally sang classical, concert music before Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson. The youthful Rock, who appears in Showtime’s TV series Masters of Sex, is establishing himself as one of his generation’s foremost interpreters and performers of the Great American Songbook, which Ira Gershwin contributed so much to, making Rock’s casting in Words fortuitous and natural. In a unique act of “decolonization,” Rock blow the roof off of the Colony – his vocals and especially Elijah’s tap dancing will knock your socks off, as this is really his show.”
[more]: HollywoodProgressive and PeoplesWorld
“Elijah’s character is simply “Crooner” but he is so much more as he steadily belts out a wide range of great Gershwin music and even treats the audience to an all too rare these days yet exquisite display of tap dance.”
Breath And Imagination: Paramount Theatre/ ArtsEmerson- Boston
“With his richly expressive voice and magnetic stage presence, Rock makes for a compelling Hayes, ranging skillfully from spirituals to art songs to original compositions by Beaty.”
[more]: The Boston Globe- Review
“Rock, always wearing white tie and tales, convincingly plays Hayes at various ages. Without make-up, he imbues the role with so much heart, one quickly forgets that it’s a grown man portraying a restless child, then a rash teenager who wants only to become an artist…Though Hayes was a tenor, Rock’s plush baritone is a thing of beauty whether he’s singing the traditional spiritual, “Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)” or French composer Gabriel Fauré’s “Les Berceaux.”
[more]: 90.9wbur (Boston’s NPR News Station)
“Rock and the members of the creative team are reminded of a popular symbol currently being used to protest the death of Eric Garner, who died after telling a New York police officer who had his arm around his neck that he couldn’t breathe. “I am thinking of the hashtag, ‘I can’t breathe,’ ” Rock explains. “This play will hopefully show us that we all need to breathe. The police need to breathe. The urban folks who have been suffocating need to breathe.”
[more]: The Boston Globe
“Jared Bowen from WGBH interviews actor Elijah Rock and director David Dower on their Arts Emerson production ‘Breath and Imagination’ and the artistry of classical singer Roland Hayes.”
[more]: WGBH- Open Studio LIVE Episode!
“The play opens with “Roland” speaking to the audience about a music school he is starting, on the plantation on which he was raised, and then the time changes to when he is a young boy with his mother at church, and thus his life unfolds before your eyes. This was done masterfully by Elijah Rock; he was able to suddenly be transformed from the older Roland remembering his life, to the young boy at church with his mother and then to the eighteen-year-old young adult Roland, hearing Enrico Caruso’s voice singing “Una furtiva lagrima.”
[more]: The Schiller Institute
“Mr. Rock is an exquisite performer. He has the vocal clarity and expression of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and stunning good looks all his own. Rock’s portrayal of Hayes had the audience laughing and crying in equal measure. He found great humor in the face of atrocious racism and sweet joy in melancholy spirituals. His version of “Lord, I Want to be A Christian” was so tender there were sniffles echoing through the theater. He was an entertaining character, an inspiring artist, and a gracious host. I am humbled by the range and dedication Mr. Rock displayed.”
[more]: The New England Theatre Geek
“The play is beautifully crafted to use the formidable vocal and acting talents of Elijah Rock to channel the sound, the struggle and the spirit of Roland Hayes…Mr. Rock’s rendering of that German lieder love song was a highlight of the evening. Another vocal and dramatic highlight was his interpretation of Hayes’ iconic rendering of the Spiritual “Were You There?” I wonder if there was a dry eye in the house.”
[more]: The White Rhino Report
“Elijah Rock is, without a doubt, breathtaking with his interpretation of Roland Hayes…Rock’s voice is a rich instrument he clearly has attuned to, and the careful control over his craft allows him to pay rendition to Hayes successfully. It is no wonder he won 2014’s NAACP Theatre Award for Best Male Equity performer with a role that demands great acting and great singing.”
[more]: Entertainment Monthly
“It all starts with an inspirational, passionate performance by the charismatic Elijah Rock — check him out in several episodes of the latest season of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” — as Hayes. There is plenty of music, and Rock handles the vocal requirements admirably, but Hayes the person is what makes the piece special.”
[more]: Rick Fahey’s on Boston Stages-Review
“The performances are uniformly exceptional. Rock is true to his name, anchoring the production with a fine voice and dignified bearing.”
[more]: South Shore Critic
“The title role is performed with great skill and verve by Elijah Rock as Hayes…”
[more]: Fuse Theater Review
Elijah Rock Interview with TrueMoxie
“I just booked my first guest-star recurring role on Masters of Sex on Showtime, which can be seen in the 2014 season. I feel like everything I’ve done has prepared me for a role on television. I’m ready for it. But it doesn’t take away from what I’ve build in the other parts of my career — it only enhances it.”
Breath And Imagination: The Story of Roland Hayes (Cleveland Playhouse)
“Like Hayes, Rock (born Eric Myricks) grew up singing spirituals in church and later wowed teachers at University School with his fledgling talent. As a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was the lone black vocalist, Rock couldn’t point to many role models in the world of classical singing…In one of his final numbers, Rock delivers a spiritual with tears streaming down his cheeks, and the words of Hayes’ mother echo in that performance. That alone is enough to make this critic stand, clap her hands and say, “Amen.”
[more]: Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Elijah Rock was raised in Cleveland as Eric Myricks. He has found success as a jazz singer, a tap dancer, and a stage and film performer. Rock has the perfect tenor voice for playing Roland Hayes. He is capable of making the spirituals pull at your heart strings and making the arias evoke comparisons with performers such as Enrico Caruso.”
[more]: Talkin Broadway
“Elijah Rock, as Hayes, masterfully captures the singer’s early humility and later determination as we trace his evolution as a man and an artist through intermittent, chronological flashbacks that start during a concert performance in 1942. More importantly, Rock displays the pure tones and soulful undercurrent that famously resided in Hayes’ vocal presentation. When his sensitive, nuanced rendition of “O del mio dolce ardor” ends, you realize how lost you’ve been in its presentation and how much you look forward to doing the same when the next aria arises.”
[more]: Cleveland Jewish News
“Cleveland native Elijah Rock, a University School grad with Cleveland Institute of Music, Singing Angels, Karamu and Lyric Opera Cleveland training, has a fine singing voice, the acting skills and the ability to create a very believable Roland.”
[more]: The News-Herald
“To portray the life of such an extraordinary man is truly a challenge and without a doubt, Elijah Rock is up to the task. He even closely resembles early photos of Roland Hayes…In short, Elijah Rock was born to portray the complex biography of the great Roland Hayes. He gives equal justice to the spiritual as well as classic operatic pieces. There is even a short dance sequence. Among his many talents, Elijah is also a professional tap dancer and has been hoofing since age ten. He credits his tap skills to his late teacher, Ed Bubba “Taps” Ferguson.”
“Rock and Gaines turn in spectacular performances. They create a tremendous love story that enters your heart and continues to grow through the entire performance. Rock (Hayes), who is equipped with an instrument from above, sings with adept passion, interpreting the storytelling and performance pieces with classical aplomb.”
[more]: TPOGraphy: Theatre Review
A Sinatra Christmas
“No pun intended but Elijah does indeed Rock. This gig is pure fun for the trained baritone, who can sing opera as well as pop. He did a magnetic job with “Candy Man”, “Jingle Bells”, Donnie Hathaway’s “This Christmas”, “L.O.V.E.” and in duet with Prego on “Me and My Shadow” as well as “Let It Snow!”
“Elijah Rock is a triple threat (actor/singer/dancer). I recently saw him present a show about the first famous Black opera star Roland Hayes. He was brilliant and in this Christmas show proves that he can cross over to more traditional jazz and standards. What an electrifying voice and presence.”
“During the fast moving proceedings Prego introduces Elijah Rock as “a triple threat,” because the multi-talented artist can act, dance and sing. Rock recently starred in Breath and Imagination: The Story of Roland Hayes, a bioplay about the first African American concert singer of classical songs, who preceded Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson, which was recently presented at Burbank’s Colony Theatre. To be frank (no pun intended!), the versatile Rock stole the Encore’s show. Like Sinatra’s fellow Rat Packer, Sammy Davis Jr., Rock tap danced up a storm and belted out numbers that are part of Sammy’s canon, like “The Candy Man.” However, Rock also sang songs that aren’t associated with Sammy, such as “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It),” which Marlene Dietrich put on the musical map. Rock rocked the Encore Dinner Theatre and was the best part of the entire show. According to Elijah and the venue’s owner, Peter Zappas, in the Spring Rock will return to the Encore Dinner Theatre for an encore, in the form of a full-on tribute to Sammy Davis Jr.”
[more]: HollywoodProgressive & L&L Magazine
Breath And Imagination: The Story of Roland Hayes -(Colony Theatre, LA)
“Rock’s sensitive portrayal captures Hayes’ determination to shape his own destiny, as well as his calm humility in the face of racial prejudice and resistance from his deeply religious mother (Karan Kendrick)…”Rock’s musical delivery is more nuanced, incorporating an initial hesitancy appropriate to the early stages of the singer’s development, only to emerge with soul-stirring confidence in the mature Hayes’ recitals of material ranging from gospel to lieder to opera.”
[more]: LA Times
“Guided by McClain’s fluid staging, Rock is nothing short of glorious, possessing a rich vocal instrument and strong stalwart demeanor that could very well have been that of Hayes or any other black man who had to constantly fight an impossible battle. He brings plenty of spirit to the fore.”
“Rock is as wondrous at convincing us that he is an eight-year-child as he is at portraying the adult Hayes, giving what must surely be remembered as one of the year’s most spectacular—and unique—performances.”
“Most stirring is Rock’s lustrous timbre as the mature Hayes: Harmonizing with Kendrick through earthy spirituals, he soars through Von Gluck’s “O Del Mio Dolce Ardor” before dipping into a soul-trembling version of “Were You There?”
“What. A. Voice. ELIJAH ROCK is Roland Hayes reborn. He had to be. Early on, we hear an actual phonograph recording of the singer that had inspired Roland Hayes: the great Enrico Caruso at the peak of his powers. And so Breath and Imagination throws the cap over a very tall wall for its lead actor. But Elijah leaps over it. And from the moment he dons the cap that recalls Roland Hayes’ boyhood days, we follow him on his hero’s journey.”
“Multitalented Elijah Rock, an actor, a jazz singer and classically trained vocalist of stunning power and subtlety, heads the cast as Hayes and does memorable justice to the play’s wealth of spirituals, operatic arias and art songs. He is as equally arresting singing “Were You There (when they crucified my Lord)” as he is capturing the nuances and resonant beauty in works by Schumann, Fauré and Gluck.”
[more]: Burbank Leader
“Roland Hayes is portrayed by a remarkable singer and actor, Elijah Rock. He even shows us briefly that he is a gifted tap dancer. He is required to sing everything from spirituals to grand opera. He has a powerful instrument and expressive way of singing.”
“Dear Elijah, there aren’t many real triple threats in the world. My late husband (Gene Kelly) was one. It was so refreshing to see – and hear – you on the stage last night and to confirm that there are, indeed, more incredibly talented men on the horizon who can sing, dance and act. Congratulations on a brilliant performance. I was captivated every minute of the way. I look forward to seeing you again soon and to following your extraordinary career.”
[more]: Patricia Ward Kelly
CHESS: The Musical (East/West Players)- LA
“Rock’s gorgeous operatic vocals more than match his leading man good looks as Anatoly, his deeply affecting “Anthem” ending Act One with an emotional wallop.”
[more]: StageScene LA
“Anatoly is the largest male role here and Rock commands the stage. He has a gifted voice and, under the musical direction of Marc Macalintal, he and all the other actors are careful to slow the music down just a bit to make sure the audience can understand the lyrics.”
[more]: EDGE Los Angeles
“Wonderful Joan Almedilla, as American chess second Florence, has spine-tingling power, together with Elijah Rock’s resonant, if curiously un-accented, Russian champion Anatoly and plangent Carey Rebecca Brown’s abandoned Svetlana making “Mountain Duet” and “I Know Him So Well” high points.”
[more]: LA Times
PARADISE- A Bluegrass Musical- Los Angeles
“As Tater, Elijah Rock does a rip-roarin’ tap routine in “I Don’t Wanna Sing on Broadway.”
[more]: Stage and Cinema
HOODOO LOVE- Los Angeles
“Throughout this play the music comes alive from original songs also written by the playwright Ms. Hall, and smack in the middle Candylady and Ace of Spades (Elijah Rock) throw down a mid-first act musical show stopper so grand that the theater simply cannot hold it, making the audience come alive, reveling, clapping and interactive.”
[more]: LA Theatre Review
“The standout musical highlight is a duet featuring McClain and Rock, a number that’s worth the price of admission.”
[more]: LA Weekly
Jazz ensemble The Downtown Project blends sounds of the world in hopes of educating the next generation about music
When Rock, a first-year opera studies student as well as the lead vocalist and one of the founding members of The Downtown Project, met Quincy Jones, Rock mentioned that he also was a jazz performer and, after auditioning, The Downtown Project was chosen to perform as one of Fowler’s Summer Sunset Concert series bands. [more]: Daily Bruin