If your parents loved “Jersey Boys,” you’ll love “Rock of Ages.” It’s the 80s rocking answer to the swooning crooners.
The show is fast paced and super high energy, with a sweet but simple story that link songs by Journey, Styx, Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon.
Two innocents—Drew, “a city boy born and raised in South Detroit,” and Sherrie, “just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world”—meet in L.A., where both are trying to pursue dreams of stardom on the Sunset Strip. Their quest to find love and the need to put on a rock show to stop a developer and save the music gives the cast a chance to sing some of the best anthems and ballads of the 80s: “Sister Christian,” “Waiting for a Girl like You,” “Can’t Fight this Feeling,” and of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
The show stars “American Idol” finalist Constantine Maroulis, who continues his Tony-nominated role of Drew in the touring company. Maroulis has one of the harder jobs in the show—he plays the sincere love interest. The rest of the cast is absolutely over the top: the hilarious narrator, Lonny, who was played last night by Mitchell Jarvis, who originated the role on Broadway; the money-grubbing mayor; the ‘60s dazed bar owner; and the madam with a heart of gold.
The show succeeds because it has a sense of humor. It doesn’t take the music or the story too seriously. Lonny routinely talks to the audience and cracks jokes, the performers camp it up to the max, and the music literally rocks on the whole night.
If you can sing “Heat of the Moment” or “Can’t Fight this Feeling,” you’ll love this show. I wouldn’t bring a tween, as the show has raunchy language and fairly explicit sexual moments, but I would bring someone who isn’t sure if musical theater is his thing. You can wear jeans, wave the LED plastic lighter they give you when you enter, and even drink beer during the show. You’re not going to confuse this with a night at the Lyric, but that’s really the point.
Rock of Ages
Through October 3, 2010
Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago
Tickets: 800-775-200 or BroadwayInChicago.com
Have you seen the show? Leave us a comment and let us know what you thought.