UMaine alum, Broadway star brings ‘Broadway Rocks’ to Collins Center

Broadway star and University of Maine alum Merritt David Janes is returning to his alma mater to present the show “Broadway Rocks” at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 for the Collins Center for the Arts Gala.

Janes co-created the show with his classmates while studying at UMaine. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in vocal and instrumental education, he went on to study at Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City. Since then, he has performed in the original Broadway cast and first national tour of “School of Rock” as the character Dewey Finn. He also has played major roles in many other popular Broadway tours, including “The Wedding Singer,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Shrek,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “Phantom of the Opera.” 

The “Broadway Rocks” performance will feature Janes and several friends and colleagues from Broadway who will sing songs from roles they have performed on Broadway or on Broadway tours. They also will share stories that offer perspective into life on and off the Broadway stage. 

The performers include Amanda Jane Cooper, who starred for several seasons as Glinda in “Wicked;” Matt Cusack, a Broadway musician and actor, songwriter, arranger and producer; Kevin Faraci, who performed in the national tour of “The Wedding Singer” and in several Cirque Du Soleil shows; Elysia Jordan, who opened the First National Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock The Musical;” and Andy Peterson, whose credits include “Tootsie,” “Kiss Me,” “Kate,” “Pippin” and more. 

The show follows the Gala Dinner, which begins at 5 p.m. and includes the presentation of the center’s top annual arts awards. The dinner is optional and can be purchased separately. Tickets and details are available at Collins Center website