Thursday January 19th 2017

“Rock of Ages” reviewed by Michael Horn

Shannon Mullen as SherrieRock on! The latest production of “Rock of Ages”, currently playing at The Bank of America Theatre is an energetic and hand clapping romp through the era of hair bands that will leave lovers of 80’s music wanting more. “Rock of Ages” tells the classic “boy meets girl” story of Drew and Sherrie, who come to Los Angeles, seeking to fulfill their dreams, and of course, fall in love- eventually. Lonny, the “Narrator” played by Andrew Sklar, is the “conscience” of the story, and more or less, shows us the way. Drew ( Dominique Scott) is a busboy at the Bourbon Room on the “strip”, with aspirations of having his own band and Sherrie ( Shannon Mullen) is an aspiring actress from Kansas. Sound familiar? Well, the story gets better as a father and team of developers. played by Travis Mitchell and Tanner Hussar, come from Germany with oodles of cash and convince the Mayor of L.A. that the “strip” should be redeveloped into a clean living area, eliminating the sex, drugs and Rock N’ Roll lifestyle. Uh-Oh! What will happen to the Bourbon Room and the music? The owner of the Bourbon Room, Dennis ( Brian Ashton Miller) calls on Rock Star Stacee Jaxx ( Joshua Hobbs) and his band, Arsenal, that recently announced they were breaking up, to perform their last concert at The Bourbon Room. Will this be enough to save the day?

Written by Chris D’ Arienzo, who pulls no punches in representing his raunchy, sleazy and corrupt story, “Rock Of Ages” under the direction of Kristin Hanggi brings the music to life and choreographer Kelly Devine, gives us a hair flipping, arm waving feel of the times. The costumes by Gregory Gale truly reflect the period and add reality to the concert. Beowulf Boritt’s set puts us on the “Strip” smack-dab in the middle of the Bourbon Room!

“Rock of Ages” is a make fun of itself musical, campy, sometimes raunchy, but always focused on the music. It features the hits of Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, REO Speedwagon,Pat Senator, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake and much more. A total of 28 songs from the era including “We Built This City”, “Can’t Fight The Feeling”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and “Don’t Stop Believing”. Dominique Scott and Shannon Mullen work well together and deliver strong vocals. Travis Mitchell and Tanner Hussar play their roles top the hilt and their “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” number with Regina (Jessica Pucek) is absolutely hysterical. Joshua Hobbs shows off his muscles but it is his outstanding vocals that you remember. Brian Ashton Miller looks the part of a sleazy bar owner but balances song and comedy extremely well. Sklar does a fine job jumping in and out of numbers and guiding us through this frenzy. The rest of the large cast is strong s,supportive, energetic and delivers the music with verve. And, we cannot overlook the “Rock of Ages” Band: Marshall Keating, Paul Wiley, Maddox, Bones Elias and Rigio Flores, who bring the great sounds of the era to life. The closing number “Don’t Stop Believing” is truly outstanding. While very loud, it is the perfect tribute to the music of the 80’s. The show delivered as advertised and was worthy of the   standing ovation it was given.

“Rock of Ages” is one of the short runs brought in by Broadway In Chicago and will only be here through Sunday, the 16th with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Friday and Sunday. Saturday night at 8 p.m.

Matinees are Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets range from  $18-$85 and are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices. This theater is located at 18 West Monroe, by phone at 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Rock of Ages”DREW AND SHERRIE

 

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