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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Tony-nominee 'Rock of Ages' rocks into Minneapolis

By Tatiana Craine

Who doesn’t love White Snake? Come on, there are more than a few of you with a secret obsession for the iconic rockers hiding under massively huge, permed and bleached manes. Don’t worry, your secret’s safe here. Better yet, there’s a cure for this fixation-and it involves a lot of singing and dancing. Hennepin Theatre Trust has brought yet another recent Broadway gem to Minneapolis with “Rock of Ages.” Direct from the Great White Way, the hit musical rocked its way onto the Orpheum Theatre’s stage for its premiere Oct. 19. Nominated for five Tony awards in 2009, the jukebox musical features the absolute best of 1980s rock including songs by Styx, Foreigner, Twisted Sister, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Journey and of course-White Snake, among others.

The first national tour of “Rock of Ages” stars Constantine Maroulis (of American Idol Season Four) as struggling musician Drew trying to make it big in Los Angeles. Joining him are Rebecca Faulkenberry as aspiring actress Sherrie, Patrick Lewallen as narrator and sound-guy Lonny and Nick Cordero as club owner Dennis.

“Rock of Ages” takes place on the infamous Sunset Strip, a mile and a half stretch along Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Known for its nightlife (including music venues, nightclubs and strip clubs), shopping and eateries, the seedy underbelly of the Strip from three decades ago sets the scene for Drew and his cohorts as they struggle against the odds for fame, fortune and love. Sherrie, a small-town girl with wide eyes and big dreams, arrives in Los Angeles with a purse and a suitcase before promptly getting mugged. After the incident, rendered comic by the inexperienced Sherrie, she meets the helpful and soft-spoken Drew who offers to get her a job at The Bourbon Room. The club, run by Dennis, accepts her into its makeshift family.

However, the sun seems to be setting on the Strip-literally. A German father and son duo aspire to sanitize the stretch for more family-friendly and economically beneficial businesses. This ignites a storm of protest from everyone that calls the place home. Rockers and exotic dancers alike hit the picket lines with signs like “Rock not rubble” and “Strippers not strip malls.” In efforts to raise enough money to save the club, Dennis calls in a favor with his old acquaintance, Stacee Jaxx. Stacee fronts the band Arsenal (which incidentally doubles as the production’s phenomenal onstage band), and agrees to play a farewell show at The Bourbon Room. In typical musical fashion, things start to go downhill with the immoral, hedonistic addition to the group, and everyone’s plans go horribly awry.

If the music doesn’t entice you, the costumes surely will. With the recent resurgence of 80s fashion into mainstream culture, it’s fascinating to see rock and roll-inspired fashion at its best. Bordering (and often branching over into) the ridiculous, designer Gregory Gale invokes all the different music styles in his well-assembled costumes. Featuring fishnets, studs, acid wash, feathers, huge hats, tassled epaulets (yes!), shoulder pads, structured leather jackets, neon paint splotches and everything in between-these costumes truly sum up the different musical sentiments and styles of the era.

The show is pretty darn tight with performances, effects and production fine tuned as the strings of a shredding electric guitar. It’s obvious the cast and crew are having a blast performing and putting on one hell of a show. Truth be told, I’ve never seen theatergoers as roused and enthusiastic as the audience on opening night. Hooting and hollering along with the cast, the crowd’s passion for the music became evident by the end of the first song, and their energy grew exponentially by the end of the show. Equipped with cigarette lighter-shaped click-lights, everyone waved their hands in unison (lighters lit and held high) during the ballads and powerhouse songs. The entire audience was on its feet and belting lyrics during the finale, the classic Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

It’s hard to find Broadway shows that invoke so much exhilaration from audiences and deliver a musical-cum-concert vibe with nearly-flawless execution. So if you want to see a fun show, relive the decade where shoulder pads meant business or just warble along to your fave made-in-the’80s tunes, “Rock of Ages” will keep on rockin’ long after the curtain falls.

“Rock of Ages” will run at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Orpheum Theatre until Oct. 24. Tickets are $24-76, available through the theater box office and TicketMaster. For more information, visit

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    Theresa SimpsonSep 11, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    some truly interesting details you have written.

  • A

    Alison RobertsonSep 10, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    I truly appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thx again…

  • D

    David ShortSep 5, 2019 at 3:45 am

    I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?