According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rock of Ages

Classic rock takes center stage in this fun and energetic musical. It may not be innovative, but it's darn good entertainment.Constantine Maroulis and Kelli Barrett in Rock of Ages

Photo by Joan Marcus

Reviewed by Cindy Pierre

Chris D'Arienzo's Rock of Ages is a fun, nostalgic, Q104.3 promoting, classic-rock bonanza that's heavy on guitars and good vocals and light on story. What little dialogue there is gets used, predictably, to segue into the recognizable hits of Whitesnake, Styx, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister and a pool of others. It's a good thing that the talented and energetic cast, particularly Constantine Maroulis (American Idol) as Drew, Will Swenson (Hair) as Stacey Jaxx and Michele Mais (Zoot Suit) as Justice are more than enough to carry the musical with their soaring vocals and fantastic showmanship.

Flashing back to '80s LA, Lonny (Mitchell Jarvis, channeling Jack Black attitude and Kevin James' physical comedy) tells the story of a rock club facing demolition, and of the beautiful rebels and outcasts rising up to save it. For the sake of ballads, there’s also a love story between Drew and Sherrie (Kelli Barrett), a wannabe actress turned stripper.. None of this is particularly innovative, so director Kristin Hanggi focuses on keeping the action fluid, and lets Beowulf Boritt’s decked-out set (rock memorabilia, stripper poles, a revolving platform from a classic MTV video) stand out. Coupled with Gregory Gale's costumes and Kelly Devine's decade-appropriate choreography, the show succeeds in taking the audience back to that era.

Much of your enjoyment of Rock of Ages will depend on being able to sing and dance along, so if “Dead or Alive” isn't in your soul, then the lighters waving in the audience won't ignite a loving feeling. But, if fishnets, spikes, and “More Than Words” gets your blood pumping, you'll appreciate all the hard work that went into getting the rights to all these oldies. Not only that, but it'll be the solid rock on which all your hidden dreams, forgotten desires, and—for some—youth can stand.
Rock of Ages (2.5 hrs with intermission)
New World Stages (340 W. 50th St, New York, NY 10019)
Tickets: $46.50-$80.50.
Telecharge: 1-800-432-7250 or 212-239-6200,
Through December 21, 2008.

No comments: