Friday, April 15

Broadway Across America: Rock of Ages

Clowes Memorial Hall, located at Butler University, was packed for the Indianapolis opening night of Broadway Across America's Rock of Ages. The venue's energy was electric with anticipation for a rockin' time and BAA delivered the audience exactly what they wanted: Fun in a loud, raucous manner.

Constantine Maroulis, Boston Conservatory-trained and American Idol participant (Season 4), portrays wannabe rocker Drew/Wolfgang in L.A.'s Sunset Strip c. mid 1980s. Maroulis' portrayal of the sensitive, shy guitarist/singer won fans with his vocal performance, as well as receiving the "aah factor." With a scenic view and a four-pack of wine coolers (remember when they hit the shelves?) Drew fails at his attempts to woo love interest Sherrie, portrayed by Elicia MacKenzie. They eventually realize that Every Rose Has its Thorn, and, although not all dreams come true, sometimes what happens instead is much, much better.

Maroulis is surrounded by several strong cast members, including (but not limited to) Nick Cordero as Bourbon Room owner Dennis Dupree (who also won favor with the audience), and Peter Deiwick as Arena Rock lead singer Stacee Jaxx, who you want to hate but end up adoring and Travis Walker who leaped his way into the audience's heart as Franz. The entire show crams in one Rock God hit after another, We Built This City, I Want to Know What Love Is, Wanted Dead Alive....

Patrick Lewallen shines as narrator Lonny dishing out some serious tough love throughout the show, softened by his comedic offerings. Lewallen, the most polished on stage, is the King of Debauchery, cranking up the fun and ripping off the one-liners and physical comedy. His high energy never waned although he was virtually in every scene and song.

The production ricochets between a loud rock concert, a spoof of the 80s and a happily-ever-after fairy tale. Although the sound system was noticeably off, the audience didn't seem to mind, perhaps assuming it was meant to mimic the overly loud concerts of that era.
Blue jeans and rock T-shirts are not only acceptable but almost required to fit in. Not for the easily shocked or underage, strippers strut from beginning to end and obscenities are thrown in everywhere possible. The zany, over-the-top look at the famous club in L.A. gives a caricature view of the 80s in a way which should be annoying. end up laughing at the zany antics.

Bottom Line: Like that bad boy your mom told you to stay away from, Rock of Ages seduces you with leather jackets, electric guitars and rock-n-roll,  zapping you back to the MTV-era and promising you Nothin' but a Good Time.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and performing arts critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.


Carolyn said...

Excellent review!!
I was there second row opening night...LOVED it!!

Elizabeth J. Musgrave said...

Thanks! Second row is excellent, particularly for this show.