Don’t Stop Believin

Guest post by Becca

Easily the most fun show on Broadway, Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical that combines classic rock from the 1980s with a simple but heartfelt love story. Everything about this musical is over the top from the band being on stage to the narrator of the story, Lonny, a drugged-up, sex-crazed, hilarious assistant manager to the “Bourbon Room,” the setting of the play. It features the best songs of the 80s, including: “I Wanna Know What Love Is”, “Here I Go Again”, and “Don’t Stop Believin.”

Because it is the smallest theatre on Broadway, the Helen Hayes has a wonderfully intimate atmosphere. You never feel too far away from the stage; conversely you are always in danger of being spit on by the actors. During certain numbers, waitresses walk through the aisles to take your order for a beverage, inducing the feeling that you are a part of the backdrop, inside the bar with the two love birds.

The book for Rock of Ages was written by Chris D’arienzo, who keeps everything light. Yet the text is also fiery; it is redolent with sex and drug jokes, telling the story of a young man, Drew (Justin Matthew Sargent), who has moved from Michigan to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being a rock star. While working at the bar “The Bourbon Room,” Drew meets Sherrie Christian (previously played by Carrie St. Louis, who has vocal chords made of steel, NO ONE CAN SING LIKE THAT 8 NIGHTS A WEEK and currently played by Lauren Zakrin) and immediately falls hard for her. Sherrie dreams of being an actress and decides to wait tables at “The Bourbon Room” until she can fully pursue her goal.

Drew plans to ask Sherrie out on a date, but is thwarted by the rock star, Stacee Jaxx (Chester See), a narcissist who smooth romances all the ladies in town. They swoon when gyrates his hips and sings his songs, including “Wanted Dead or Alive” (the best number in the show).  Sherrie is not immune to Jaxx, and once he arrives, all hell breaks loose. Meanwhile, a German contractor wants to shut down “The Bourbon Room” and the city planner seeks to stop him.

Rock of Ages encourages people to join in, often breaking the fourth wall. The performers even address the audience directly, who then shout back at the narrator, prompting him to improvise on the spot, making each performance utterly unique.  (I even whispered “I love you” to the swing playing Lonny, Tony Lepage, and he had to keep from cracking up.) If you catch the musical on November 9th, Constantine Maroulis, the original Drew, should be performing. He recently tore his calf muscle and needed surgery, but with any luck he will come back and ROCK HARD!

This show is a great feel-good show, no deep or preachy messages here! It fully accepts what it is: Fun

Sherrie Sherrie Drawn by Becca Shapiro
Sherrie Drawn by Becca Shapiro
Stacee Drawn by Becca Shapiro
Stacee Jaxx Drawn by Becca Shapiro

Here’s what you should keep in mind if you decide to see Rock of Ages:

  • Theatre is small and intimate
  • Bathroom line is slightly slow
  • They serve fun drinks like Jello Shots
  • They are black on Wednesdays and have Sunday night and Monday night shows.
  • Fun show, but inappropriate for children
  • if you like 80s music it is a MUST-SEE

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