Age & Hometown: 30; Bozeman, Montana
Current Role: An “awesome” Broadway debut as Drew, a Hollywood busboy who dreams of rock stardom, in Rock of Ages.
Shooting Star: Born and raised a “Montana boy,” Aaron C. Finley spent his days in the driveway, shooting hoops. “I’ve wanted to be a professional basketball player since I was five,” he says, “but I also had this natural penchant for singing.” After hearing him sing in choir, Finley’s parents tried to convince him, unsuccessfully, to focus more on music. “I wanted to be in the NBA, but when I stopped growing during freshman year of high school, I knew I was screwed,” he says with a laugh. As a music major at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington, Finley got his first taste of theater—ever. “I was asked to do Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and I was like, ‘What’s that?’” he recalls. “I took the part, and I realized, wow, this acting thing is actually kinda cool!”
Took a Midnight Train: Finley embraced his inner rock star in a Seattle production of Jesus Christ Superstar, where he played Jesus and Judas (alternating with Broadway vet Michael K. Lee). The show’s director, Tony-winning composer Brian Yorkey, offered his star some sage advice: “New York City needs you, and you need to be there.” But relocating from Seattle to the Big Apple meant uprooting his wife, Abby, and their kids, six-year-old Mackenzie and three-year-old Ty. “I asked my wife, ‘Should we move into a postage stamp apartment in New York and try to make this work?’” the actor recalls. Abby’s response? “Let’s do it! Why not?” The Finleys arrived in Washington Heights in March—by August, he was making his Broadway debut.
I Wanna Rock: After quitting his day job waiting tables at the Waverly Inn, Finley was warmly welcomed by the Rock of Ages crew. “Kate Rockwell and I have become instant buds,” the star says of his onstage love interest, “and the whole cast loves softball, so I’m hoping I can be on their team next season.” As aspiring rock star Drew, the actor loves feeling the energy of the “excited and inebriated” audience, which he likens to a shot of adrenaline. “They cheer, they’re singing along, they’re going crazy,” he says. “It's surreal, because then I go home to my tiny apartment and play with my kids.” After taking such a big risk, Finley is overjoyed to be fulfilling his dream of starring on the Great White Way. “To be in New York for four months, and now on Broadway?” he says with a smile. “It’s unbelievable!”