I’m not gay, I’m German.
Rock of Ages is on its tenth-anniversary tour and they happened to stop at my sister’s school. Last year I saw my first professional musical which was Kinky Boots, which I did a review for. This year, it was Rock of Ages.
I didn’t know much going in. I heard about the musical and knew it would be something I’d enjoy, but didn’t know anything about the plot itself. And it turned out to be more fun than I expected.
We Built This City
The Narrator, Lonny, takes you through the musical. He talks to the audience, explains the characters, and helps certain things happen to them. He’s still a character within the story but breaks out of it to address the situation.
The musical itself is set in the ’80s and uses songs from that time to fit into the plot. All the songs are classic rock, which is one of the reasons I was excited to watch it.
We follow Drew, an aspiring rocker working at a bar called The Bourbon Room along the Sunset Strip. Lonny introduces his love interest, Sherrie, an aspiring actress. Meanwhile, two German developers want to tear down the strip, abandon the rock-and-roll lifestyle and introduce clean living.
Upon learning that his bar will get torn down, the owner Dennis wants to bring more revenue in by asking a band called Arsenal to perform their last show together as the lead singer, Stacee Jaxx, is going solo.
As Lonny would say, things start to fall apart before they get better.
Most people will recognize the songs (if you listen to any classic rock.) They’re used within the story and connect to what’s going on, like “We Build This City” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
Unfortunately for me, a woman behind me felt the need to sing to EVERY SONG. My mom and sister didn’t hear her, but I did. I did…
I like that the musical had sort of “stereotypes and cliches” from that time whether it’s rockers hooking up with numerous women or the insta-love of Drew and Sherrie.
One of my favorite performances is Lonny and Dennis singing “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and dancing together. They were my favorite couple of the show, it was unexpected, but in the best way. I kept thinking, “A thousand points for this.” I found them to be more interesting than Sherrie and Drew, to be honest.
Also, props to the fact that they have an actual band playing the songs on stage. They have a part within the show (as the remaining members of Arsenal) and interact with the characters.
There is a movie version, which I haven’t seen, but if you have the opportunity to see this musical live, I would recommend it. It’s a lot of fun, most people will know the songs, and it tells a story of following your dreams.
I should mention it is a bit more “adult” with some swearing and sexual themes, but nothing raunchy. I did find out later on from my sister’s friend who is an usher that some people walked out because they brought their young children/grandchildren and it was inappropriate for them, but then there were some other kids in the audience who stayed for the whole thing.
Moral of the story: research a musical before seeing it.