Rock of Ages: Just a Small-Town Girl...
Ed. Note: This is the second half of Rocks Off's "reviewer exchange program" with Art Attack.
Dan Lippitt/Theatre Under the Stars
Rock of Ages Hobby Center June 7, 2011
Hair metal makes for great show tunes. That's what we left with last night when Rocks Off went back to a "sexier time" of "musical debauchery and decadence" at the Rock of Ages performance at the Hobby Center.
Aftermath isn't an expert on the theater, so we're going to walk you through the plot as best we can. The story is set in L.A, specifically at The Bourbon Room and a strip club on the Sunset Strip: how every good story begins, no doubt, with bourbon and strippers.
Ex-American Idol contestant and now Broadway star Constantine Maroulis plays the male protagonist, Drew, an aspiring hair-metal rock star from Detroit who is stuck doing janitorial work at the Bourbon Room until he gets his big break. He meets his love interest, Sherrie, when she moves to L.A from a small town in Kansas to pursue an acting career.
Keep the italics in mind, it'll all come together at the end if it hasn't already.
While Drew and Sherrie grow closer working at the Bourbon Room together, some German developers - we're still unsure why they had to be German - are devising a plan to tear down the Sunset Strip and rebuild it into a more European construction by bribing the mayor.
The Germans should've known, though: They built that city on rock and roll. Someone's always playing corporation games.
Yes. That's how cheesy the set-ups were. How else are you going to tie in "We Built This City"? You have to threaten the City of Angels with a hostile German takeover! Anyway, commence the herpes, wine cooler, and "beaver" jokes that kept with the hair metal "so bad it's actually kind of good" theme. Here are some examples:
Foreigner, "Waiting (For a Girl Like You)": Drew and Sherrie go on a romantic date on a hill overlooking the city.
Twisted Sister, "We're Not Gonna Take It": City Planner Regina becomes outraged at the Germans' plan and pickets around the city.
Foreigner: "I Want To Know What Love Is": Sherrie bumps uglies with a famous lead singer in the bathroom at the Bourbon Room
Whitesnake, "Here I Go Again": Sherrie gets fired from the Bourbon Room and becomes a stripper.
Other notable songs featured in the two-and-a-half hour musical were "Oh Sherrie," "The Final Countdown" and "Shadows of The Night."
Plot and beaver jokes aside, these songs just work fucking perfectly as show tunes. Not only do Maroulis and MacKenzie both have pipes, but the added choral assistance, exaggerated dance moves and guitar solos make the show seem genuinely authentic as opposed to satirical.
When the last scene was building up its momentum and the narrator said something to the extent of "your dreams might change over time, but they still rock!", we knew the big climax was coming: The pan-ultimate karaoke classic, the red-blooded American drunk-as-hell-in-a-random-East-Texas-bar singalong: "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.
The entire show was a buildup to this particular song, and it was well worth the wait. The lights cut out and everyone stood onstage holding their lighters, as the audience stood and screamed as though they'd just watched Steve Perry do it live.
Personal Bias: When Sherrie quit her job as a stripper because it went against her morals, I thought to myself, "Yeah right. In real life she would've just bought an 8-ball and toughed it out like a real promising actress."
The Crowd: Balding. And bald.
Overheard in The Crowd: "This song is SO bad. I love it."
Random Notebook Dump: Pat Benatar is forever.
Rock of Ages continues through Sunday. See tuts.com for ticket information.
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