Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Rock of Ages”

If you have never experienced a play that is in reality a “live” rock concert, then you will truly find “Rock of Ages” a theatrical experience like nothing you have seen before. This entertaining, high energy show returns to Chicago for a much longer run than last year, nine weeks at the intimate Broadway Playhouse located at Water Tower off the “Magnificent Mile”/Michigan Avenue. While it has been announced that a movie version is on the way, which will be filled with top stars and of course a big budget for all the glitz one can imagine, this truly belongs on a stage, live and the intimacy of Broadway in Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse is perfect!

“Rock of Ages” is one of those plays where some wonderful music has been utilized in a story created to fit the music. The music for this show comes from Journey,REO Speedwagon,Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake and many more, including titles like ; “Can’t Fight This Feeling”, “Here I Go Again”, and Don’t Stop Believin, in total 28 songs of the mid 80’s which is the time that this story takes place- on Sunset Strip, where a small town girl, Sherrie ( a delightful Shannon Mullen), who wants to be a star meets a young dreamer,Drew (A powerful performance by Domminique Scott- he really rocks) who wants to be a rock star. They work in the same bar, but as it turns out, developers who bribe the Mayor want to tear down this iconic club and build a strip mall in its place, so their love story gets interrupted in many ways until the final scenes.

It is more than a love story though , in that we meet many characters ( perfect of the time) and  we see that each character, young or old, had or has a dream and the moral of the story is to follow that dream, no matter what. While that is “warm and fuzzy”, we all know that real life is not always as we had hoped, and yet this kind of inane group of characters, for at least two and a half hours, have us in another place- we do see that dreams might come true, if only until they take their final bows ( which in itself is a show). This is a fun experience that will take your mind off any problems you may be facing at work or home, for at least those hours, and perhaps make you think about your own dreams and aspirations.

This is pretty much the same set used last year and is designed from the Broadway production- the direction ( Kristin Hanggi) is redesigned to fit the Chicago stage by Adam John Hunter and the choreography ( original Kelly Devine) is recreated by Marcos Santana. The band ( the are onstage the entire show)truly rocks. Led by Darren Ledbetter, with Alan Childs on drums,Andy Gerold on bass, and guitars by the incredible duo of Chris Cicchino and Maddox- wow! watching them and listening to them is a treat a sthe music of this era comes alive on Michigan Avenue ( well, actually Chestnut), but this entire ensemble is solid, from start to finish:Justin Colombo is a comedic Lonny, our narrator and of course a character in the story ( his asides are hysterical). The Rock Club is owned by Dennis ( deftly handled by Jacob L. Smith) and all the girls are sexy as well as talented with a special note to Amma Osei as Mother ( what a belter) and the adorable Katie Postotnik as Regina.Matt Nolan does a great job as Stacee Jaxx and the adorable Stephen Michael Kane is hysterical as Franz, the son of the German developer( played by Philip Peterson)- he is a hoot.

This is a “Rock concert” so the audience is expected to react to the music. In fact, they even hand out fake Bic lighters when you enter the auditorium ( flashlights) so you can enjoy the total “Rock” experience.Yes, many peope will want to wait for the movie ( Tom Cruise is starring), but let’s be honest- there is nothing as great as “live theater” and a concert is far better when witnessed “live”, so why wait? “Rock of Ages” will be here through August 5th with performances as follows:

Tuesdays,Wednesdays,Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

There are no cuts and splices when you see “live theater”- it is happening right then and there, which is the way it was meant to be seen. Yes, ticket prices are a bit higher tan movies, although the gap appears to be closing. Tickets can be ordered by visiting any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices or their kiosk at Water Tower. To order online visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com

Tickets range from $70-$80 and there are no bad seats at Broadway Playhouse located at  175 East Chestnot, easy to get to via public transportation. You can also park at Water Tower Place and get a validation at the box office for discounted parking.

For more info on the show, visit www.rockofagesontour.com

I suggest that this show is for mature audiences as there is some language and suggestive situations.

want to know more, visit the Rock of Ages page at www.theatreinchicago.com


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