OGDEN, Utah, June 5, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Ogden’s Ziegfeld Theater is taking audiences on a rowdy, slightly raunchy trip through hair band history.
Think rock from 20 to 30 years ago. Think angry young men in jellybean-hued Spandex. Think flirty young women in “like a virgin” net tops and visible neon bras, short shorts and tall heels, and, in one case, visible-from-space blue eyeshadow.
Think long hair, teased and permed for maximum volume and crispiness.
Think “Rock of Ages,” a self-mocking jukebox musical that takes a laugh-out-loud look at angst and excesses of the ’80s and ’90s rock music scene.
The Ziegfeld rates this musical, with book by Chris D’Arienzo, as equivalent to an R-rated film. Besides a thin romantic plot, visual suggestions of drug use and sex, and a liberal sprinkling of curse words, “Rock of Ages” — at least this production — offers a laughable excess of gratuitous pelvic thrusting.
People who can’t take a joke, just tell yourselves, “We’re not gonna take it,” and stay home.
The payoff is two dozen or so songs from the Glam Rock era, originated by artists including Styx, Twisted Sister, Poison, Bon Jovi and Europe. The production’s singer-actors are backed by a live, onstage band, which includes music director Rick Rea, and which does an impressive job with every song.
The romantic leads are Sherrie and Drew, who are: “Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world. She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere.” And “Just a city boy,
Born and raised in south Detroit. He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere.”
You get the idea. Rock songs tell the story.
Jake Holt and Natalie Nichols are cute and relatable Drew and Sherrie. Both actors have good singing voices and one displays a surprise skill on an aerial apparatus.
Daniel Akin and J.J. Bateman add a lot of humor as Dennis and Lonny.
One owns the bar, and has Greg Allman hair and a no-nonsense attitude.
The other sports a mullet, performs at least 85 percent of the public thrusts and gets at least 70 percent of the best jokes.
And Derek Gregerson gives a performance and a half as Stacee Jaxx, a self-absorbed, glam rocker who steals hearts in the story and scenes in the show.
Need to make a correction here. The character of Drew is played by a fine actor whose name is Jake Holt, not Jake Hold. I’ve been to this fun ride back to the 80s twice and can’t wait to go again. Thoroughly entertaining and the entire cast is amazimg!