Yeah, I saw Rock of Ages last night. As any of my faithful readers may have guessed, my musical education happened mostly in the 80’s, with 1984 being the year the floodgates opened. So I’m exactly the target audience for this musical.
First of all, let’s be honest: it’s really corny. But it assumes its kitsch to the fullest, and there are enough metaphorical winks to the audience to make it OK. All the trappings, clichés, innuendos and warts of the era are there. We laugh because we remember taking it all seriously, but at the same time we long for the era of larger than life rock stars who sang about partying, enjoying life, loving and losing, and sex. Lots of sex. Rock of Ages is full of scantily clad girls (and guys), but that’s no different than your average music video of the era. (Is it just me or have we become more puritan in the meantime?)
Rock of Ages tells the story of an aspiring rock star who’s in love with an aspiring actress. On the road to finding happiness on the Sunset Strip, stands Stacey Jaxx, the narcissistic ex-singer of hard rock band Arsenal. I’m not going to spoil the ending (well, ok, a little), but let’s just say that it is targeted very much to an audience that might have left behind the music of their youth (I’m a dinosaur: I still listen to a lot of the stuff I listened to as a teenager). This is not about the journey to glory of the chosen few, but the fork in the road most of us have taken.
You don’t go to a musical for great singing, but it was competent, and the musical arrangements were great. The acting was excellent too. It’s always dicey to let song lyrics create the plot of your show (something that Across the Universe did brilliantly) but they do a very good job of creating a good story (with a stick it to the man side plot). And they use Can’t Fight this Feeling in a way that I’m pretty sure is not what REO Speedwagon envisioned! But more than anything, it’s good songs, lots of laugh, and a hell of a good time (Don’t need nuthin’ but that, don’t we?) It’s like going on a time warp (wink, wink) to a time where the world was just as complicated, but where WE had no worries.
When I was a kid, I felt my parents were old. After all, there were musicals like Grease that were about the music of their youth! Walking out of Rock of Ages last night I thought “Oh… now it’s my turn”. But now I see that age is in the heart, and that music CAN keep us young. Thanks to Rock of Ages for that little bit of time travel. m/
Music includes hits by Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Warrant, Poison, Bon Jovi, Foreigner, Quiet Riot and many more. Despite having a very popular hit called Rock of Ages no music by Def Leppard is part of the show because they refused to give permission. Bunch of douchebags. Lighten up guys. It’s only rock ‘n roll.