Apr 2, 2009
Last week I caught Rock of Ages on Broadway and I had a remarkably good time--not just because the show is a savvy bit of post-boomer pandering that actually entertains, and not only because the audience of young and aging rock fans is unlike any I've seen on Broadway, or at any theater, period (with the possible exception of Hollywood's Cast Theatre in the mid-'90s), but because I realized that I have a better schlock filter than I'd expected. By which I mean: I was a precocious little fuddy-duddy back when hair metal was ascendant, and I even remember thinking about the popular music of the time, "I refuse to be nostalgic about this crap when I am/it is old." As sad as that image is--a teen anticipating future appeals to his collective '80s/'90s coming-of-age experience--I'm happy to report that I either did not or only dimly recognized at least half of Rock of Ages' disposable tunes (that said, "Oh Sherry" remains one of my favorite songs, so go figure). This realization--that I had successfully escaped a certain kind of spurious generational fellow feeling (in retrospect, I think avoiding MTV had a lot to do with it)--did not impair my relative enjoyment of what is essentially a winking oldies revue, or stop me from marvelling at the bracing novelty of audience members with punk highlights sipping Coors Tall Boys at orchestra center, or a balding bridge-and-tunnel Guido hitting on a barmaid who works the aisles during the loud numbers. What's not to like?
That's all by way of preamble to my new piece on the L.A.-based creators of the show: book writer Chris D'Arienzo, director Kristin Hanggi (of bare fame, picture above), and choreographer Kelly Devine.
Posted by Rob Weinert-Kendt at 10:48 AM