"ROCK OF AGES," March 2-3, Kingsbury Hall, 801-355-2787, running time 2 hours, 30 minutes (one intermission)
Perhaps you heard the guitars wailing Friday night at Kingsbury Hall?
The national tour of the Tony Award-nominated "Rock of Ages" blasted into town on Friday night and some in the audience — not still in their primes — might have sore neck muscles the morning after. There was plenty of head-banging to go around.
Let's get a couple of things right out in the open:
1. This is not your average night of theater. Meaning, some traditional theatergoers may not appreciate what "Rock of Ages" has to offer. But it also means that the person you've been trying to get inside a theater may actually go.
2. From the minute the "turn off your cell phone" speech begins, you know this show is irreverent. The choreography is very sexual, the women wear next to nothing for a good portion of the show, some of the language is strong, and the men do a whole lot of hip thrusting and make grade-school barbs.
"Rock of Ages" boasts more than 25 '80s rock classics — by Journey, Styx, REO Speedway, Bon Jovi, Poison and Whitesnake, to name a few. And the crowd on opening night was drinking it in, offering applause at the beginning of many familiar chords.
Leading the rocking charge is Dominique Scott as Drew, a boy raised in South Detroit looking for his dream in L.A. Scott has some pipes, no denying that. In five years, he'll be perfect for the part. Right now, he looks and sounds so young, it's almost hard to believe that he's ever come close to living the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
I did enjoy his connection to his love interest, Sherrie, played by the petite Shannon Mullen, who did a fine job selling her power songs, like "I Hate Myself for Loving You."
The standout in this production is Justin Colombo who plays our fearless narrator, and long-time rocker, Lonny. With a sweet mullet, he swings nunchuks, does awesome karate-style high kicks and sticks out his tongue with a sort of Gene Simmons regularity. And, he can sing.
His friendship with the bar owner, Dennis, delightfully played by Matt Ban, is very fun to watch.
And big kudos need to be paid to the "Rock of Ages" band that brings the songs to life — sounding just the way you remember them. Chris Cicchino on lead guitar playfully engages the crowd. Darren Ledbetter (piano, conductor) leads Maddox (guitar), Alan Childs (drums) and Andy Gerold (bass).
If you're a 30-40-something, "Rock of Ages" will allow you to relive your youth. Just remember to take some aspirin when you get home.
Sensitivity rating: overtly sexual choreography, skimpy costumes, drinking, smoking, off-color jokes and some strong language.
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