Rock of Ages is a “jukebox musical”. That is, take the songs from an artist, a genre or an era and stuff as many of those tunes as you can around a story. In the case of Rock of Ages, the music of classic 80’s hair bands like Journey and Styx are used to tell the classic tale– boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again. (See the cast perform “Don’t Stop Believing” on the Tonight Show HERE.)
Constantine was part of the original Broadway cast–nominated for a Tony for playing the role of Drew–the sweet, but clueless rock star wannabe from Detroit. He left Broadway to take the show on the road. After a try-out in Chicago, the show opened in Boston on October 6.
Drew is a busboy at the famed Bourbon Club on the Sunset Strip. He talks his boss, Dennis, a grizzled Sunset Strip veteran into hiring a girl he meets cute on the street. Sherrie is fresh off the bus from Kansas and has dreams of becoming a famous actress.
Constantine is endearing in the part–even if a little too old to be playing a twenty something. His dancing is positively dorky. But, think Cory Monteith in Glee–the bad dancing fits his character. He does a great job belting out rock classics like “Oh Sherrie” and “Here I Go Again” even if he has a little trouble hitting the big power notes.
The love story is set against the backdrop of the Sunset Strip in the 80’s, where evil developers out to gentrify the Strip. That means tearing down the Bourbon Club. Tongue-in-cheek humor is employed, often breaking the “fourth wall” to address the audience or bring back the action to the present. (Betty White jokes! Seriously!). Hi-jinks ensue as a cast of characters try to save the club, while Drew and Sherrie lose themselves, to eventually find each other in the end.
If you’re a fan of Poison, Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon, etc., this is definitely the musical for you. But even if you aren’t (like me–I was listening to the Replacements, the Pixies and REM back in the day) it’s still a lot of fun.
The show is set up like a rock concert. Along with the program you get a souvenir light that audience members are encouraged to wave. Standing up is encouraged, as is drinking during the production. The Boston crowd got into it–singing along, clapping and waving their lighters.
The supporting cast is solid. Some of you might remember MiG Ayesa, who came in 3rd on Rock Star INXS? He was absolutely hilarious as the drugged-out rock star who steals Sherrie away from Drew. I didn’t recognize him at first, he’s that good.
Rock of Ages remains here in Boston through October 17, and then it’s on to Minneapolis. Check out the schedule HERE.