How I Reluctantly Enjoyed “Rock of Ages”
Maybe it’s because the music featured is the music of my youth. Maybe it’s because the lead guy is a hottie. Maybe it’s because I am hetero enough to admit that watching scantily-clad women grinding to such songs of yesteryear as “Too Much Time on My Hands” by Styx and Quarterflash’s “Harden My Heart” was strangely erotically entertaining, and funny, and fun. Either which way, “Rock of Ages” was a good time. I left feeling nostalgic and wanting to dance. I left feeling old, but in a cool way. I left thinking it would be great to start a new exercise regimen involving gyrations galore to 80s rock (I’ll keep you posted on that). I left sated and uplifted, thinking of high school and friends I still know and those I no longer know. I left wanting to add to my Amazon wishlist.
Let’s be honest here: I am not a fan of theatre, in general. Sure, there’s the occasional odd play or sketch show that I feel is worth an hour or so of my precious time. (Get it? Pat Benatar reference. See? I can’t stop now.) But, dammit, there’s something about an earnestly-belted out power ballad from days gone by that really gets me all fired up. (Ok, sorry, another Benatar reference. I’m out of control, apparently.) I guess what made it fun was that the cast really looked to be having a good time. There was humor in the song selections and there were men who were doubtlessly gay, yet attractive, dancing 80s style, in somewhat exaggerated 80s garb, with attractive women wearing next to nothing.
The plot is meaningless, contrived, silly, predictable and every other negative adjective one can use to describe a plot. But trust me: No matter! This show isn’t about the plot; it’s about the music, the journey (yes, Journey) back to “better” days. It’s an expensive (albeit worthwhile) trip down musical memory lane for anyone over say, 33. The lead chick is both adorable (as an ingenue) and almost sexy (as a nearing-jadedness stripper), but her singing isn’t quite as strong as the other leads’. It’s more than passable though, and she’s a good dancer who looks quite fetching in a push-up bra and fancy panties, so I think that must more than make up for it. Dan Finnerty of The Dan Band is in the show, and he’s quite good, as is Kyle Gass, who is 1/2 of Tenacious D. Chris Hardwick stole the show as a Poison-esque rock star, hated by his bandmembers, who is universally adored by chicks and universally admired by dudes, for reasons that make no sense, which of course is the point. He’s a tragic figure in a way, and a real asshole, but funny.
They give all patrons a “free” lighter to pay tribute when the mood strikes. I found myself flicking my Bic on several occasions. If you have a spare 50 bucks and nothing to do and want to be regaled with live versions of such classics as Europe’s “The Final Countdown” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, by all means, GO!
Rock of Ages
Renmar Studios, Stage 6
3/2/06-3/18/06, 8 pm
for tix, call: 800.595.4TIX
or visit www.rockofagesmusical.com