Jeremiah James has high hopes for the audience that The Last Match will bring in.
James spoke with WrestleZone about bringing Ramin Karimloo of Funny Girl on cast and shared how the whole thing came up. James was also part of the Funny Girl production and said Ramin got wind and shared his childhood dream of being a pro wrestler.
“He’s like, ‘If I could go back in time and not be doing what I’m doing now, and I’m very grateful for everything that I’m doing and I have this wonderful career, but it was always my dream to be a pro wrestler. I love pro wrestling and I love eighties and nineties pro wrestling.’ And I was like, ‘Well, man. Here’s your chance to become a pro wrestler legitimately.’
“It was so cool, man, because that’s the thing about pro wrestling, is that there are so many people that you don’t realize that have been fans or used to be fans and watch it when they were younger, and it has stuck with them throughout those years. Wrestling has that really deep nostalgia factor because, when you’re a kid, you’re seeing these larger-than-life characters, that are literal superheroes in the flesh doing things that you couldn’t even imagine. So having Ramin a part of that instantly gives us a sense of excitement and legitimacy in the theater world, because he is a massive superstar in the theater world and recording world. Internationally all over the world, he’s a rock star.”
James said that he was beyond humbled to have Karimloo want to be in the production, noting that it could help bring a specific world to a new audience.
“The goal with the show is to bring fans from the theater world who have never experienced wrestling, to walk out feeling like experts and having a true respect for that world. A perfect example that I like to use, a lot of people have heard of it, whether you’ve seen it or not. There’s that famous old musical called Evita, right? Madonna did the movie and there was a stage version of it that became the movie. Did anybody know who Eva Peron was before that show? No way, right? But they all walked out feeling like experts, right? Like ‘I know everything about Argentinian politics from the 1950s, and I know Eva’s whole story.’ That’s my goal with the show, the theater people.”
— Matt Cardona (@TheMattCardona) September 25, 2022
“Wrestling fans, the moment you guys arrive, you’re going to be like this — ‘I know this world. This is our world, baby. This was built for us,’ right? I want theater people and non-wrestling fans to come here and see this and go, ‘you know, maybe I watched it when I was a kid, or maybe I never really watched wrestling. And I always kind of thought it was this’ to walk out and go, ‘Man, I get it. This is brilliant. The art form is incredible. What they put their bodies through to entertain the fans, how the fans are connected as part of the storyline and how they help people rise and fall as characters and gimmicks and all of these things.’ The goal is for them to walk out and become new fans of the wrestling world.”
James is a big wrestling fan himself, answering the question by sporting a Brodie Lee t-shirt during the interview. James is a western New York native and shared how his fandom started and carried him through to today.
“I’ve been a lifelong wrestling fan. From the time I was eight years old to modern-day wrestling, I was even a fan through my twenties where a lot of guys will often – guys and girls will drop off and for a couple of years and pop back in. I was a stalwart fan through all of the Attitude Era, you name it, and across promotions, obviously.
“I’ve gotta be honest with you, I’ve loved the direction that AEW has gone. I love their kind of classic wrestling storytelling. It’s a little bit less cartoony and over the top, so I’m really enjoying the AEW product quite a bit, and I love what Tony Khan’s been doing by purchasing Ring of Honor and keeping these things alive that we’ve all followed over these years. And for me, Brodie Lee is a hometown guy from Rochester, New York. I loved that he finally had been getting his push in AEW and then having him pass away, it was heartbreaking for me and to obviously so many fans. But [I’m] really enjoying the product in general.”
— The Last Match: A Pro Wrestling Rock Musical (@TLMMUSICAL) September 13, 2022
Billed as an immersive Pro-Wrestling Rock Musical, The Last Match tells the story of Ben Vengeance — professional wrestling’s biggest star — on the night of his last match. With the weight of his legacy, the future of the wrestling organization, and the prospects of a peaceful retirement with his wife, Jenny — a wrestling star in her own right — on his shoulders, the evening promises to be anything but a quiet ride into the sunset.
The debut of The Last Match: A Pro Wrestling Rock Musical takes place on Monday, September 26th, 2022, at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, NJ with two performances at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM EST.
Ramin Karimloo stars in the lead role of Ben Vengeance, while TikTok sensation Amber Ardolino appears as The Fabulous Miss Jenny and pro wrestling star Matt Cardona plays Alexander Swagger.
The show is directed by Jeremiah James, with Phil Blechman, Bull James and Afa Anoa Jr. on as technical consultants. James also serves as a producer of the show along with Rachael Murray and Tommy Fierro. The Last Match is being developed in conjunction with the Jersey City Theater Center.
For Tickets: https://www.seetickets.us/profile/name/7870307
Matt Cardona will also be doing a special Meet & Greet tonight from 5 – 6:30 PM.
For more information on The Last Match, visit www.thelastmatchmusical.com