Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review Roundup: Did ROCKTOPIA on Broadway Rock the Critics?


ROCKTOPIA officially opens on Broadway tonight!

An explosive musical concert event that fuses the most iconic 20th-century rock with world-renowned classical masterpieces,ROCKTOPIA features the works of musical innovators across centuries-including Journey, Mozart, Queen, Beethoven, Aerosmith, Handel, Led Zeppelin, Tchaikovsky, U2, Heart, Puccini, The Who and more-performed by an elite lineup of vocalists, a five-piece rock band, a thirty-person choir, and a twenty-piece orchestra.

Grammy Award winner Pat Monahan, lead singer of the multi-platinum-selling band Train, makes his Broadway debut as a guest vocalist during the first three weeks of the run, through April 8, 2018. Monahan will perform songs by multiple artists in the show - including "Kashmir" and "Stairway to Heaven" by his favorite band and musical inspiration Led Zeppelin - as well as a special encore of his own hit "Drops of Jupiter" merged with Gustav Holst's "The Planets". Multi-platinum Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robin Zander, lead singer of Cheap Trick, will make his Broadway debut as a special guest vocalist for the final week of the limited engagement, April 23 - 29, 2018.

Let's see what the critics had to say!

Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times: Ultimately, though, the real problem is the set list's utter blandness. Commingling rock and classical music has birthed such wildly diverse artifacts as Emerson, Lake & Palmer's cover of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," the Metallica-San Francisco Symphony collaboration "S&M" and the popular prog band Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Sadly, no such ear-bending ambition is in evidence in this show's selections. Taken individually, these songs are in the canon for a reason, of course; one after another, their effect is numbing. Judging by the evidence on stage here, if classical music spawned one thing, it is the power ballad.

Joe Dziemianowicz, The Daily News: If the notion of Mozart's exuberant "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" married to Styx's guitar-grinding "Come Sail Away" or a lush Handel aria bleeding into Elton John's plaintive "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" sounds like music to your ears, this may be the mash-up for you. Otherwise, not so much.

Thom Geier, TheWrap: The very concept of "Rocktopia" feels so dated, like a glorified field trip to the local symphony hall for a High Art-meets-Low Art lesson in music appreciation. (The idea of blending rock and Rachmaninoff is not new.)

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: Rock and classical music had a shotgun wedding, and their love child is on Broadway in the form of Rocktopia. Not since K-tel's best-selling Hooked on Classics series in the '80s has there been such a misguided attempt to combine two musical forms.

To read more reviews, click here!

Related Stories

From This Author - Review Roundups

Review Roundup: Critics React To BAD CINDERELLA On BroadwayReview Roundup: Critics React To BAD CINDERELLA On Broadway
March 23, 2023

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bad Cinderella opens tonight, March 23, at the Imperial Theatre! Bad Cinderella features a score by Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tony Award-winner David Zippel, and is directed by Laurence Connor, with a book by Academy Award-winner Emerald Fennell and choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter.

Reviews: Critics Sounds Off on THE LONELY FEW at The Geffen PlayhouseReviews: Critics Sounds Off on THE LONELY FEW at The Geffen Playhouse
March 22, 2023

Geffen Playhouse production of the world premiere musical The Lonely Few is now on stage. Let's see what the critics have to say!

Review Roundup: Eric Bogosian's DRINKING IN AMERICAReview Roundup: Eric Bogosian's DRINKING IN AMERICA
March 20, 2023

Audible Theater is presenting Drinking in America, written by three-time Obie Award winner Eric Bogosian, starring Andre Royo ('The Wire'), and directed by Mark Armstrong.

Review Roundup: Bob Fosse's DANCIN' Opens on Broadway!Review Roundup: Bob Fosse's DANCIN' Opens on Broadway!
March 19, 2023

The best of Broadway gathered tonight at the Music Box Theatre to celebrate the opening of Bob Fosse's DANCIN'. Read the reviews as they come in here!

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & MoreReview Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More
March 16, 2023

The new Broadway production of Parade starring Tony Award winner Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, directed by two-time Tony nominee Michael Arden, opens tonight on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Read reviews for the production!