LA is the city of dreams, every year dozens of hopefuls make their way to LA to catch a break in the music industry or the film industry and for as many show up with this dream only a small handful make it. In the mid 1980s the hot place to see and be seen was the Sunset Strip, the birth place of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Alice Cooper, Frank Zappa and The Who are just some of the bands who made it big on the strip and with stars in their eyes these young hopefuls work the strip any way they can.
Enter Drew and Sherry, both kids who have arrived from different parts of the country and find each other here working the Bourbon Room on Sunset; surrounded by a cast of stellar characters and strange situations only the strip can hold. From the creative mind of Chris D’Arienzo (Writer) and the stage direction of Kristin Hanggi (2009 Tony award nominee for best Driection ) comes “Rock of Ages” which tells the loves story of these two hopefuls with the music of Styx, Journey, White Snake, Pat Benetar and many more.
From the moment the band takes the stage the atmosphere of a live action rock show grips you, the laser lights, the pounding music and the rocking attitude take you in immediately. The viewer gets introduced to Lonnie Barnet your narrator and bar back played by Patrick Lewellan, a fairly new comer to professional stage acting, and he takes you on a journey establishing the characters and situations in a mad dash of comedy! He’s brilliant! Leading the cast and audience thru this fantastic show. Constantine Maroulis (American Idol, The Wedding Singer [Broadway]) is the starry eyed and much enamored Drew from Detroit Michigan. All Drew wants to do is ROCK! And show his boss Dennis Dupree, played by Nick Cordero (Evita, The Last Five Years) that he’s not just a loser but that he wants to rock the house! Sherrie played by Rebecca Faulkenberry (Aunt Dan and lemon, The Shape of Things) arrives to LA and gets mugged right in front of the Bourbon Room where Drew meets her and instantly falls for her, and so begins their tale of love, heartbreak and the quick rise and fall in the entertainment industry.
Mix in an aging over the top super star Stacee Jaxx played by MiG Ayesa (Burn the floor, We Will Rock You) with his super sleazy attitude and typical troubled and ridiculous 80s rock persona, and all the incredible support cast actors, dancers and singers and you have an incredible, hilarious and absolutely engaging show. I found myself pounding the floor with excitement as the show’s conclusion was a rocking rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”.
This show never stopped being amazing, even the intro to the intermission was fantastic! The sets and costumes were stunning and made me feel like I had stepped back in time to those days were big hair, big heels and sex sold it all! The audience is fully engaged and never stops having a good time. Even in the most heartfelt moments or even in the raunchiest scenes, ie: Sherrie and Stacee’s trist in the men’s room where the revolving set gave you the inside scoop as to what was happening in there, made you roar with laughter. I wouldn’t miss it and honestly would want to go back and see it again! I commend the cast both principal and supporting for giving the audience and incredible show! There was nothing to not like with this show, the dancing was superb, sharp and spot on, the singing was rock and roll come alive and the acting was stellar!
“Rock of Ages” is playing a very short engagement at the Segerstrom Center for Performing Arts in Costa Mesa California Now thru March 6th! So make tracks and get your tickets now before its too late! It is not to be missed.
And remember; “Sometimes the dreams you come out to the Sunset Strip aren’t the dreams you know you wanted”.