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|Rock of Ages|
Original Broadway Cast Recording
|Rock of Ages|
Original Broadway Cast Recording
Rock of Ages is a rock/jukebox musical, with a book by Chris D'Arienzo, built around classic rock hits from the 1980s, especially from the famous glam metal bands of the decade. The musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe among other well-known rock bands.
It is directed by Kristin Hanggi and choreographed by Kelly Devine with music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Ethan Popp. Arrangements for the original Los Angeles production were furnished by David Gibbs.
The show is noted for being more lighthearted and comedic than other shows on Broadway, although some critics have raised concern about the objectification of women and the minstrel-like performance of the mayor. During performance, the performers frequently break the "fourth wall", directly addressing the audience and seemingly forgetting (or perhaps reminding the audience) that they are actors in a musical. Despite the musical's title, the Def Leppard song of the same name is not included in the musical.
As of November 2013, it is the 35th longest-running Broadway show.
Lonny Barnett, who serves as the show's narrator, sets up the story: In 1987, an aspiring rocker named Drew Boley works as a busboy in the Hollywood bar/club called The Bourbon Room, owned by Dennis Dupree and assisted by Lonny ("Just Like Paradise/Nothing But a Good Time"). He falls instantly for a girl, Sherrie Christian, who just arrived from Paola, Kansas hoping to make it big in acting ("Sister Christian"). Drew convinces Dennis to hire Sherrie as a waitress.
A pair of German developers, Hertz Klinemann and his son Franz, convince the city's Mayor to abandon the "sex, drugs and rock-n-roll" lifestyle of the Sunset Strip and introduce "clean living" into the area, much to the anger of the City Planner, Regina ("We Built This City"). When Dennis learns that part of the plan involves demolishing The Bourbon Room, he believes the club can generate more money by having rock star Stacee Jaxx and his band Arsenal, who recently announced their break-up, perform their last show at The Bourbon ("Too Much Time on My Hands"). He calls Stacee and convinces him to play the band's last show in the club where he had begun. As Drew struggles to write new lyrics, Sherrie urges him to go after his dreams ("I Wanna Rock"). Regina begins protesting Hertz and Franz's redevelopment plans ("We're Not Gonna Take It").
Later, after arguing with her parents during a phone call, Sherrie begins to discover feelings for Drew, who supports her dream. Also, Drew, auditioning to open for Arsenal, finds the lyrics he has been searching for and realizes that they have come from his feelings for Sherrie ("More Than Words/Heaven/To Be with You"). After obtaining the opening slot for Arsenal, Drew invites Sherrie to have a picnic in the hills overlooking Los Angeles ("Waiting For a Girl Like You"). There, he mistakenly suggests that the two are merely friends to calm their nerves, disappointing both of them and ruining the date.
Stacee Jaxx arrives at The Bourbon and gives an interview about his life ("Wanted Dead or Alive"). Sherrie is immediately smitten with him, and believing she means nothing to Drew, has sex with Stacee in the men's room ("I Want to Know What Love Is"). While Stacee and Sherrie are copulating, Drew opens for Stacee and Arsenal, not knowing a record producer is in the audience. After their tryst, Stacee tells Dennis to dismiss Sherrie before the concert begins. His guitarist realizes what Stacee did and knocks him out. The record producer in the club was impressed with Drew's performance and suggests he take over for Stacee. He then offers Drew a contract, which he accepts. Sherrie seeks comfort from Drew after she is fired, but having seen her go into the men's room with Stacee, he dismisses her ("Cum on Feel the Noize"). In the midst of these events, Regina continues her protest ("We're Not Gonna Take It [Reprise]").
An upset and unemployed Sherrie meets Justice Charlier, the owner of the nearby Venus Club, which Justice prefers to call a "gentleman's club." She relates to Sherrie's story, saying that many of the small-town girls hoping to hit it big in LA end up making a living as strippers. Grudgingly, Sherrie accepts Justice's offer to work in her club ("Harden My Heart/Shadows of the Night"). As the act closes, everyone is alone – Drew, as an upcoming rock star; Sherrie, fending for herself as an exotic dancer; Regina protesting the redevelopment; and Dennis, trying to save his club ("Here I Go Again").
Hertz and Franz begin demolition on the Sunset Strip, alienating them from each other as Franz falls for Regina and sees "the error of their ways." Dennis and Lonny join the fight with little success ("The Final Countdown"). Drew's rocker image is upsetting the record producer, and Sherrie is learning how things work at the Venus Club ("Any Way You Want It/I Wanna Rock [Reprise]"). When they meet on the street, Sherrie is embarrassed about her job and Drew is upset that his record company is attempting to reshape him into part of a boy band. They argue and Sherrie admits that she was crazy about Drew, but failed to make a move because he said they were friends. They part ways more troubled by these new revelations ("High Enough").
A drunken Stacee arrives at the Venus Club and is pleased to see Sherrie. After being forced to give him a lapdance, she beats him up while dancing ("I Hate Myself for Loving You/Heat of the Moment"). Drew arrives to admit his feelings to her, but becomes angry when he sees the two in a suggestive position and storms off. Justice later tells Drew that as soon as he left, Sherrie had punched Stacee in the jaw.
Regina continues her protest against the destruction of the Strip, but yields no success. She convinces Franz to stand up to his father if he does not believe in his father's vision. Franz admits that he has his own dream, namely to open a confectioner's store in Germany. He rebels against his father and admits his love for Regina ("Hit Me with Your Best Shot"). Meanwhile, Dennis and Lonny, upset at the loss of The Bourbon Room, suggest they have feelings for each other ("Can't Fight This Feeling").
Sherrie decides to leave the Venus Club after the scene with Drew, and Justice tells her that she had a similar experience with her first love. Everyone is in turmoil as they attempt to move on with their lives ("Every Rose Has Its Thorn"). Franz leaves for Germany and Hertz begins to regret the hurtful way he treated his son ("Keep on Lovin' You"). Regina arrives and explains to Hertz that Franz does not hate him; he simply wants his father to support his dream. Hertz later returns the deed to the Bourbon Room to Dennis and invests in Franz's confectionery store.
Drew, now a pizza delivery boy, realizes none of his dreams have come true—he still is not a rock star, and Sherrie is leaving on a midnight train. Lonny arrives and explains to Drew that his life is so miserable because they are all characters in a musical and that it was their book writer who made it so. He also reveals to Drew that he serves as the show's "dramatic conjurer" that if Drew wants a happy ending, it is up to him to get the girl. After hearing this, Drew realizes that he does not need fame to make him happy, only Sherrie ("Oh Sherrie"). He reaches her at the train station in time, and they realize that their love has survived all their trials and reconcile ("The Search Is Over").
In the epilogue, The Bourbon Room is spared from demolition and Stacee Jaxx, now a washed-up has-been who has been charged with statutory rape, flees to Uruguay ("Renegade"). Franz opens his confectionery store in Germany and has a long distance relationship with Regina, who becomes the new mayor of West Hollywood. Dennis passes away, leaving the Bourbon Room to Lonny, and Sherrie and Drew move to Glendale and start a family. Lonny notes that on The Strip, sometimes the dreams with which you enter are not always the dreams with which you leave, but they still rock ("Don't Stop Believin'").
|Drew Dillenbeck||James Snyder|
|Sherrie Christian||Laura Bell Bundy|
|Lonny Barnett||Dan Finnerty|
|Stacee Jaxx||Chris Hardwick|
|Dennis Dupree||Kyle Gass|
|Franz Klinemann||Tom Lenk|
|Regina McKaig||Patty Wortham|
|Justice Charlier||Michele Mais|
|Hertz Klinemann||David Holladay|
The musical premiered on July 27, 2005 in Los Angeles at King King, a club on Hollywood Boulevard. It moved to the Vanguard Hollywood in January 2006 where it played for six weeks. Chris D'Arienzo's book was directed by Kristin Hanggi, with choreography by RJ Durell. Orchestrations and arrangements were by David Gibbs and Kyle Puccia. Gibbs has also played guitar in the onstage band, Arsenal. Laura Bell Bundy played the role of Sherrie in this early production.
Following a successful run at the Vanguard, the show then moved to Ren-Mar Studios, where it played to sold out crowds. In May 2006 there was a short run at the Flamingo in Las Vegas.
The musical opened Off-Broadway at New World Stages on October 16, 2008 and ran through January 4, 2009, featuring Constantine Maroulis, Paul Schoeffler and Will Swenson. Kelly Devine was the new choreographer, and Ethan Popp was brought in to help orchestrate new songs added to the production.
The production transferred to Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre with previews beginning March 20, 2009, and officially opening on April 7, 2009. The Broadway production temporarily closed on January 9, 2011 and moved to the Helen Hayes Theatre on March 24, 2011.
The show's band has significant stage time compared to other musicals' bands and orchestras. The band dresses in typical metalhead costumes, fitting with their role as Stacee's back up band, and they are always on stage. The drummer plays inside a cage with a sign on it that says "Please don't feed the drummer". One of the guitarists in the stage band, Joel Hoekstra, is a member of Night Ranger (whose hit "Sister Christian" is performed in the show) and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Another guitarist Tommy Kessler is also a member of the band Blondie.
The musical held an open call in October 2009 looking for fresh new faces. In December 2009 the cast was selected and quickly rehearsed for a performance on City TV's New Year's Eve Special. Previews began on April 20, 2010 at The Royal Alexandra Theater Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with the official opening on May 11, 2010. The cast included Elicia MacKenzie as Sherrie and Aaron Walpole as Lonny. The show closed with its final performance January 2, 2011.
The US tour began at The Bank of America Theatre in Chicago, Illinois on September 21, 2010 and closed at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. on July 24, 2011. The tour visited sixty additional venues. Tour stops included: Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale. Constantine Maroulis reprised the role of Drew for the tour.
2nd National US Tour (2011–present) A second national tour launched on October 4, 2011 in Providence, Rhode Island. The cast featured Dominique Scott as Drew, Shannon Mullen as Sherie, Justin Colombo as Lonny, Katie Postotnik as Regina, Matt Nolan as Stacee Jaxx, Stephen Michael Kane as Franz, and Amma Osei as Justice.
At the 2nd National Tour's 2012 stop in Austin, TX, critic Jeff Davis with BroadwayWorld.com gave the show a glowing review, calling it "the funniest, and often filthiest, jukebox musical" and gave high praise to the entire cast, saying "In addition to a stellar cast of principles, Rock of Ages features one of the hardest-working ensembles I’ve ever seen. They have more energy than a cokehead groupie, and they clearly have fun as the belt out rock standards, making the six-year-old show still feel fresh and new.
The Australian production officially premiered in Melbourne in April 2011 at the Comedy Theatre with previews from March 2011. Justin Burford (End of Fashion) played the role of Drew with Amy Lehpamer as Sherrie, Michael Falzon as Stacee Jaxx, Brent Hill as Lonny, and Anthony Harkin as Dennis. The production moved to Brisbane in November 2011, opening at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC, on 12 November 2011. The Australian production closed after the final performance in Brisbane on 4 December 2011.
Natalie Andreou (who replaced Amy Pemberton three weeks into the run) and Oliver Tompsett play the show's young lovers, Midwestern transplant Sherrie Christian and wannabe rocker Drew Boley.
The cast also features Simon Lipkin (Lonny), Rohan Tickell (Hertz), Rachel McFarlane (Justice/Mother), Jodie Jacobs (Regina/Candi) and Sandy Moffat (Franz), as well as Nathan Amzi (The Mayor), Grant Anthony, Scarlette Douglas, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Cordelia Farnworth, Ian McIntosh, Twinnie Lee Moore (Waitress Number 1), Jamie Muscato, Andrew Spillett, Zizi Strallen (Constance/Dream Sherrie), Amy Thornton (Young Groupie) and Dylan Turner (Joey Primo).
Amy Pemberton's early departure from the show was due to contracting glandular fever; she only managed to perform in the first week of previews and West End Live 2011. She remained on leave from the show for several months, with Natalie Andreou filling in, until it was decided that she would no longer continue the role and Natalie made official full-time Sherrie. However, Pemberton remains in pictures stills in the 2011-2012 program and main show advertising board displayed at the theatre.
It has been confirmed that Oliver Tompsett, Shayne Ward, Justin Lee Collins, Zizi Strallen, Amy Thorton, Twinnee Lee Moore, Jamie Muscato and Dylan Turner will depart the show on September 23, 2012; Natalie Andreou (Sherrie), Simon Lipkin (Lonny), Rohan Tickell (Hertz), Rachel McFarlane (Justice/Mother), Jodie Jacobs (Regina/Candi) and Sandy Moffat (Franz), as well as Nathan Amzi (The Mayor), Scarlette Douglas, Carly Mercedes Dyer,(Waitress Number 1) Cordelia Farnworth, Ian McIntosh, Grant Anthony & Andrew Spillett are all due to remain with the cast.
On August 22, 2012 via Twitter that Ross Hunter will be replacing Oliver Tompsett as Drew. On September 16, 2012, the Rock of Ages London Facebook page it was announced that Tim Howar and Daniel Fletcher will take over as Stacee Jaxx and Dennis Dupree. It has since been announced that Tim Driesen will be playing the role of Drew every Tuesday until the transfer of the show from the Shaftesbury Theatre to the Garrick Theatre in January 2013.
At the June 1, 2012 opening of the Bourbon Room on the casino floor at The Venetian, Las Vegas, it was announced that Rock of Ages would be coming to one of the resort's theaters beginning in December 2012. A "surprise" flash mob was deployed at the grand opening of the lounge, followed by the announcement.
|Drew Boley||Diego Boneta|
|Sherrie Christian||Julianne Hough|
|Lonny Barnett||Russell Brand|
|Stacee Jaxx||Tom Cruise|
|Dennis Dupree||Alec Baldwin|
|Justice Charlier||Mary J. Blige|
|Paul Gill||Paul Giamatti|
|Mayor Mike Whitmore||Bryan Cranston|
|Patricia Whitmore||Catherine Zeta-Jones|
|Constance Sack||Malin Åkerman|
The film rights for Rock of Ages were sold to Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema. The film is directed by Adam Shankman and was originally expected to begin production in the summer of 2010, but started shooting in May 2011, for a June 15, 2012 theatrical release. Tom Cruise plays Stacee Jaxx in the film. Shankman knew Cruise was in when he heard him on the first go around of his voice lesson, confirming he "has a fantastic voice". Cruise sang five hours a day to prepare for his role as musician Stacee Jaxx. "It's this brilliant mashup, it seems, of Axl Rose, Keith Richards and Jim Morrison", Shankman said of what to expect from Cruise.
On February 14, 2011, it was announced that Mary J. Blige had signed on to play Justice Charlier in the film. On March 3, 2011, it was confirmed that Julianne Hough will play the role of Sherrie, Drew's love interest. On March 6, 2011, it was confirmed that Alec Baldwin will play the role of Dennis Dupree in the film. On March 24, 2011, it was announced that Paul Giamatti will be in the film, playing the manager of Stacee Jaxx. The film will feature the music of Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Journey, Poison, Europe, Night Ranger, Twisted Sister, and REO Speedwagon.
Constantine Maroulis, Broadway's original Drew, makes a cameo appearance in the film. Joel Hoekstra and David Gibbs also make appearances, as do Broadway producers Matt Weaver and Barry Habib. It was confirmed on April 13, 2011 that Amy Adams would not have a part. Anne Hathaway was also rumored to cameo as the reporter who interviews Stacee Jaxx during the song "Wanted Dead or Alive".
Owing largely to their ROAdy Productions short film "Waiting for Shankman," many members of the Rock of Ages First National Tour appeared as dancers in the Jukebox Hero scene in Tower Records. These tour members are: Angela Brydon (Waitress #1), Holly Laurent (swing), Patrick Lewallen (Lonny), Lauralyn McClelland (Constance Sack), Josh Sassanella (swing), Erika Shannon (swing/dance captain), and J. Michael Zygo (swing).
|Role||Original Broadway Cast||Current Broadway Cast||Original Toronto Cast||First National Tour Cast||Original Australian Cast||Original West End Cast||Current West End Cast||Second National Tour Cast||Second National Tour Year 2|
|Drew Boley||Constantine Maroulis||Aaron C. Finley||Yvan Pedneault||Constantine Maroulis||Justin Burford||Oliver Tompsett||Ross Hunter||Dominique Scott||Dominique Scott|
|Sherrie Christian||Amy Spanger||Kate Rockwell||Elicia MacKenzie||Rebecca Faulkenberry||Amy Lehpamer||Amy Pemberton||Natalie Andreou||Shannon Mullen||Shannon Mullen|
|Lonny/Record Company Man||Mitchell Jarvis||Genson Blimline||Aaron Walpole||Patrick Lewallen||Brent Hill||Simon Lipkin||Simon Lipkin||Justin Colombo||Justin Colombo|
|Stacee Jaxx/Sherrie's Father||James Carpinello||Joey Calveri||Peter Deiwick||MiG Ayesa||Michael Falzon||Shayne Ward||Tim Howar||Matt Nolan||Universo Pereira|
|Dennis/Record Company Man||Adam Dannheisser||Adam Dannheisser||David W. Keeley||Nick Cordero||Anthony Harkin||Justin Lee Collins||Daniel Fletcher||Matt Ban||Jacob L. Smith|
|Franz||Wesley Taylor||Cody Scott Lancaster||Cody Scott Lancaster||Travis Walker||Lincoln Hall||Sandy Moffat||Sandy Moffat||Stephen Kane||Stephen Kane|
|Regina/Candi||Lauren Molina||Josephine Rose Roberts||Josephine Rose Roberts||Casey Tuma||Francine Cain||Jodie Jacobs||Jodie Jacobs||Katie Postotnik||Megan McHugh|
|Justice/Sherrie's Mother||Michele Mais||Theresa Stanley||Angela Teek||Theresa Stanley||Rachel Dunham||Rachel McFarlane||Rachel McFarlane||Amma Osei||Amma Osei|
|Hertz||Paul Schoeffler||Paul Schoeffler||Victor Young||Bret Tuomi||David Whitney||Rohan Tickell||Rohan Tickell||Phillip Peterson||Phillip Peterson|
The show was nominated for five Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for Constantine Maroulis, Best Direction of a Musical for Kristin Hanggi, Best Costume Design for Gregory Gale and Best Sound Design for Peter Hylenski, but did not win any. It also received two Drama League nominations: Distinguished Production of a Musical and Distinguished Performance for Constantine Maroulis, as well as two Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Wesley Taylor In June 2009, The Boulevard Magazine featured Rock of Ages as their June – July 2009 Cover with inside features on Constantine Maroulis and Director Kristin Hanggi
On July 1, 2009, after a matinee performance of Rock of Ages, the cast set a new Guinness World Record for the Largest Air Guitar Ensemble. A total of 810 participants, including audience members and fans, shattered the previous record of 440 people playing air guitar simultaneously.
In March 2010, while starring as Drew in the Broadway production, Constantine Maroulis received the honor of being immortalized in a caricature at Sardi's, taking his place alongside other Broadway luminaries similarly honored at the legendary New York City establishment.
In June 2010, Rock of Ages Toronto won the TAPA's Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Production in the 31st Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards for the 2009/2010 season.
On October 26, 2009, the show hosted the first ever "Golden Mullet Awards" after the 8pm performance. Billed as "Broadway's fourth biggest night", the show gave out "Golden Mullets" (a mock of the Tony Award) to the best on Broadway. Many of the categories that used for the awards were also puns of songs from Rock of Ages itself.
The winners were:
One more award was presented to Bret Michaels of the band Poison in jest of his infamous injury at the 2009 Tony Awards, where after he was finished performing with the cast of Rock of Ages, a descending set piece knocked him down and broke his nose.