rockofages2.jpg
Dave Lake
Rock of Ages

The Paramount

Tuesday, Feb. 8

Also: Rock of Ages runs through Sunday at the Paramount , and a film version

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Rock of Ages Brought a Frothy, Fun Arena-Rock Tribute to the Paramount Last Night

rockofages2.jpg
Dave Lake
Rock of Ages

The Paramount

Tuesday, Feb. 8

Also: Rock of Ages runs through Sunday at the Paramount, and a film version of the musical is expected on the big screen next year.

Rock of Ages has almost everything you could want in a touring Broadway hair-metal musical. There's glittery Spandex, teased hair, bathroom sex, and of course a hearty helping of cheese. The show, which started off-Broadway before nabbing several Tony nominations and hitting the road, is an arena-rock love story set mostly in 1987 in a Sunset Strip bar called The Bourbon Room. It stars former American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis, who plays Drew, a busboy born and raised in South Detroit (natch), who dreams of finding rock stardom. What he finds instead is love in the form of a small-town waitress named Sherrie (you can see where this is going, right?), who wants to be an actress.

Not your average Broadway musical, Rock of Ages begins with a message from a faux David Coverdale, whose humorous introduction sets the tone, part rock musical and part rock concert, with showgoers hollering at the actors and cheering loudly for their favorite songs. Thankfully, nobody called for "Free Bird."

"It's the show that dudes that never see Broadway shows can come to," Maroulis said during a phone interview on a rare day off from the show's 50-city tour. "They can bring their girls and just have a ton of fun." And the crowd wasn't your average Broadway-musical crowd either, with tattoos and leather jackets mixed with the Paramount's older season-ticket holders.

The show seemed to resonate well in Seattle, despite being a town that doesn't have deep hair-metal roots. "Seattle basically singlehandedly wiped this entire genre out from our memory," Maroulis said. "So it'll be awesome to bring it there and celebrate the pre-grunge music."

And celebrate the '80s it does. The show is wall-to-wall music, and features a ton of rock-radio staples, including "Wanted Dead or Alive," "The Final Countdown," and the show's closer, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

Rock of Ages falls short, however, in its loosely drawn characters and thin storyline. It feels like a radio-rock episode of Glee with the songs jammed into a very loose narrative thread. There are some very funny moments--particularly REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight This Feeling," which involves two men and a fog machine--and the show pays tribute not just to the music of the '80s, but the decade itself, with references ranging from aerobics to The Breakfast Club. But in the end, Rock of Ages plays just like the songs that fill its two-and-a-half-hour running time: frothy and fun. The show may be vapid, but that's the point, and it relishes in it unabashedly.

BTW: Despite the show's name--and the fact that Maroulis sports their T-shirt through most of the first act--there's not a single Def Leppard song in the show.

Musical-reality-show-contestant roundup: Besides Maroulis, Rock of Ages also features Mig Ayessa, who was a finalist on Rock Star: INXS.

Fake bands alert:Several fictional hair bands are mentioned in the show, including Arsenal, Shark Island, Steel Jizz, and Taint.

 
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