Photo by Joan Marcus
After successful runs in Los Angeles and off-Broadway, Rock of Ages has crash-landed at the Brooks Atkinson -- noisy, flashy, and most of all, funny. '80s rock, with its hair bands, codpieced lead singers, and rainbow-bright guitar heroes, was all about excess and pomp. The creators of the show smartly decided to play it entirely for laughs, and the result is an evening of pure escapist fun. The book, by Chris D'Arienzo, tells a story so self-consciously cliched it can't help bursting out of its boy-meets-girl envelope and turning on itself with in-jokes and outrageous mugging. There's nothing substantial going on beneath the music and dancing and horsing around, but the action and the fun never stop, and they're all we need. This show is pure visceral experience. What it's about is the music. The cast sings extremely well, and the band is kickass. This was undoubtedly the first and only time I'll ever actually enjoy hearing Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," and never has REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling" been so perfectly apropos as here, dramatizing a new-found gay love.
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