Monday, April 06, 2009

Rock of Ages

Photo/Sara Krulwich

There's more at the heart of Rock of Ages than just the tried-and-true love story of a would-be rocker, Drew aka Wolfgang Von Colt (Constantine Maroulis), and the aspiring actress from the Midwest, Sherrie (Amy Spanger, who despite playing innocent, is still sultrifying). Or rather, what makes the blood pump is its homage both to the soul of rock 'n' roll on the Sunset Strip and to the Broadway house it now occupies ("We Built This City" indeed). Far more accessible than Xanadu (though still campy, thanks to Mitchell Jarvis's turn as the delightfully unhumble Narrator), Rock of Ages samples liberally from its 30+ songs to draw its crowds, while Chris D'Arienzo's book makes fun of the artificiality required to pull it all together. Director Kristin Hanggi forcefully embraces the good and bad of such a production, coming up with such creative staging (or comic sight gags) that we can forgive the few awkwardly placed numbers. Rock of Ages certainly isn't a show for the ages, but it is one for all ages, and it's certainly the right show for now: after all, we wanna rock (and laugh).

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