Rock of Ages
"Rock Of Ages" takes place on the Sunset Strip of Los Angeles in 1987. 'Hair' bands are dominating the airwaves and it's a party every day at The Bourbon Room, a legendary bar on the Strip. Trouble comes in the form of Hertz, an overly aggressive businessman who wants to tear down the bar in favor of other business developments.
This causes a stir among the locals who love the Bourbon Room and overall L.A. music scene. Protests against the demolition are staged and the war on hair metal has begun.
Caught in the middle of the turmoil are two young lovers Sherrie and Drew, both of whom are trying to make it in the music biz. "Rock of Ages" is essentially a two-hour rock concert with a thinly veiled (albeit fun) plot.
Having seen "Rock Of Ages" in New York about a month ago, I found it interesting that the set and character interpretations for the Vegas production are almost identical. I appreciated the fact that this production worked in as many Vegas jokes and references as possible, offering a little variance to a show with which I was already familiar.
I was disappointed that there were no playbills offered as I walked into the theater. A courteous usher referred me to the souvenir stand where I could purchase a program for ten dollars. I decided to pass. I feel as a courtesy to the theater patrons, not to mention the hard working cast and crew, it would have been beneficial to have a playbill in hand. Still, this was a minor inconvenience. The Vegas production of "Rock of Ages" is every bit as entertaining as the New York version.
Carrie St. Louis (Sherrie) did an excellent job portraying the out of town youngster alone in the big city. Her counterpart, Justin Mortelliti (Drew), was also great as the young guitarist who dared to dream big.
Alyson Nicole Bloom (Regina) had a fun energy as the young protester desperately trying to save The Bourbon Room. Kyle Lowder (Stacee Jaxx) was wonderful as the spoiled brat rocker with whom we all fall in love. Troy Burgess (Dennis DuPree) is a great character actor with his portrayal of Dennis, the owner of the bar. Mark Shunock (Lonny) did a fine job as the narrator who wanders in and out of the action throughout the show.
The vocals throughout were fantastic, highlights for me being Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock," Journey's "Oh, Sherrie!" and Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You." This production also does a nice job inviting the audience in by having the actors in the aisles several times throughout the production. Perhaps this is a minor point, but I feel it's important to mention that, due to the fact that the theater at The Venetian is very large (seating close to 2,000), I was definitely feeling the distance between the actors and me, which was not true of the New York production.
If you're looking for Shakespeare or a lighter Cole Porter musical, you've definitely come to the wrong place. If you're looking for a show that you can take your forty something husband to, and will actually enjoy, "Rock Of Ages" is the show for you. It is a lot of fun and deserves a long run on the Las Vegas strip.
"Rock Of Ages" enjoys an extended run at The Venetian Hotel and Casino, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South in Las Vegas, Nevada. For tickets or information, call 702-414-9000 or visit www.venetian.com.