Luke Matthews

It’s impossible to NOT have fun at Rock of Ages

It’s impossible to NOT have fun at Rock of Ages

(Disclaimer – I was provided two complimentary tickets to Million Dollar Quartet by Des Moines Performing Arts)

It’s been a year and a half since Rock of Ages made it’s debut at the Civic Center on its first national tour. The first tour featured Constantine Maroulis in the role of Drew and played a full six-day run. Now, the show is back for a limited two-day run. Even though the show’s time in Des Moines is short, you still shouldn’t miss it.

The show takes place around 1987 in Los Angeles. We see the innocent Sherrie, played beautifully by Shannon Mullen, leaving her Midwestern home for the bright lights of L.A. Sherrie has dreams of becoming an actress, a dream shared by most that come to L.A., but not often realized. She finds her way to the Bourbon Club where she meets Drew, played quite well by Dominique Scott. It was tough at first to imagine anyone else but Constantine in this role, but within 5 minutes, I had handed the role over in my mind to Scott. His range isn’t the same as Constantine’s, but then again, not many people can hit the notes he hits. Scott does a great job as Drew in this go-round.

The club in which Drew works is at the center of struggle throughout the show. German developers have converged on L.A. and have bribed the mayor so that they might “clean up” the Sunset Strip by replacing all of the rock bars and strip clubs with mini-malls and convenience stores. The Bourbon Club is the final hold out in the strip’s destruction.

Meanwhile, Drew is falling in love with Sherrie, but can’t seem to tell her. Sherrie loses her way in finding acting work and ends up working at a gentleman’s club called The Venus Club. The Bourbon Club’s fate appears sealed as owner Dennis (Cedar Falls native and UNI grad Jacob Smith) and the show’s narrator, Lonny, played by the brilliant Justin Colombo, stand by powerless.

Will the Bourbon Club be saved? Will Drew finally tell Sherrie how he feels? You’ll have to see the show for yourself. When you do, I challenge you to NOT sing along. The soundtrack to the show is pure 80s hair band gold. Songs like “Sister Christian,” Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” “The Final Countdown,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” make this the most sing-along-able show I have ever seen. The comedy is hilarious, the cast is awesome from top to bottom and the fun doesn’t stop from the second the backing band “Arsenal” hits the stage to the final bow.

Prepare to laugh and prepare to care about these characters. The narrator, Lonny, nearly steals the show. He has one of the most hilarious wardrobes I’ve ever seen. If you don’t have a crush on either Drew or Sherrie by the end of the show, well, then you just weren’t paying attention. You’ll even find love for a certain sassy German! That said, after my second viewing, I have to say that my favorite character in the show is Regina (pronounced, re-GY-na). Megan McHugh stole my heart in the role and made me fall in love with this character.

“Rock of Ages” had the entire crowd dancing. Do NOT miss this show. Get your tickets and get ready to have your face melted off. You’ll gladly offer it up to the rock gods of theater.

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