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Rock of Ages Review - Abundant Energy, 1980s' Rock and Roll and More

By Sharon Sultan Cutler

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I had “the time of my life” (a song title plus my personal feelings) at Rock of Ages, playing for one week only at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre.  A one-word suggestion for all Chicago Splash Magazine readers-Go!

This five-time Tony Award Nominated Smash-hit musical is filled with silly humor, sight gags, shtick, and outrageousness – both in its content and the actors/singers who grace the stage dancing and singing their hearts out.

Basically, the simple story is set in 1987 in Hollywood’s Sunset Strip at the fictitious Bourbon Club, a legendary rock ‘n roll joint where star-gazer small-town girls like innocent Sherrie (Shannon Mullen) meets rocker wannabe star Drew (Dominique Scott).  Miscommunicated messages ensue: are they friends or potential lovers?  Find out in the grand finale, Don't Stop Believin' (Journey, 1981), which brings the audience to its feet in a clapping sing-a-long.

The story is narrated by stoned-out Lonny (Justin Colombo), who’s silly and funny straight through the show.  German father and son Hertz and Franz (Philip Peterson and Stephen Michael Kane) have been sent to The Bourbon Club to raze it for a new building project.  Dissension prevails as club owner Dennis (Mike Ban), long-haired and also strung-out on ‘80s drugs and drink, tries to keep the established hangout intact.

The story is told in song -28 unforgettable and classic rock tunes including some by Journey, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake, Foreigner– and I knew every word of all the songs except two or three, which were vaguely familiar. The superstar ‘80s groups’ greatest hits include “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “We Built This City”, “The Final Curtain”, and “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

ROCK OF AGES is directed by Tony Award Nominee Kristin Hanggi (Bare, Pussycat Dolls on the Sunset Strip) and choreographed by Kelly Devine (Jersey Boys – Associate Choreographer).  With a book by Chris D’Arienzo (writer and director of the film Barry Munday), original arrangements by David Gibbs (Counting Crows, Film: That Thing You Do) and the Music Supervision, Arrangements & Orchestrations by Ethan Popp (Tarzan; Europe: We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia).

ROCK OF AGES  features set design by Beowulf Boritt (Spelling Bee, LoveMusik), costume design by Tony Nominee Gregory Gale (Cyrano, The Wedding Singer), lighting design by Jason Lyons (The Threepenny Opera), sound design by Craig Cassidy (Phantom, Mamma Mia), and projection design is by Zachary Borovay (A Catered Affair).  ROCK OF AGES is produced by PHOENIX ENTERTAINMENT

 The performance schedule for ROCK OF AGES is as follows:

Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.,

Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.


Individual tickets range from $18 - $90. A select number of premium seats are also available. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores), and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Groups of 15 or more may receive a discount on most shows by calling (312) 977-1710.  Gift certificates, which can be redeemed for any production or for season ticket packages, can be obtained at Broadway In Chicago box offices, www.BroadwayInChicago.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 775-2000. Please note: Ticket prices and performance schedule are subject to change.


For more information on ROCK OF AGES visit www.broadwayinchicago.com or www.rockofagesontour.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Rock of Ages

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Published on Nov 09, 2011

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