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BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Dutch Apple Dinner Theater

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BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Dutch Apple Dinner Theater

Fog machines! Stripper poles! Poop jokes! This ain't your Grandma's dinner theater! Dutch Apple goes outside their comfort zone with the funny and fun musical, Rock of Ages. This iconic tribute to the 1980's hair bands include literally dozens of hang-banging classics from artists such as Bon Jovi, Quiet Riot, Journey, and Poison. It really helps that the show's orchestra doubles as the Bourbon Club band. Their onstage sound was tight and vibrant, but not excessively loud.

Matt Michael stars as Lonny, the hard partying, glitter-toting, narrator of the show. He has a good sense of timing and great enthusiasm. Dale Obermark and Ellie Roddy played Drew and Sherrie, the romantic leads of the story. Both had solid rocker-style voices that would make Ozzy and Lita proud. Roddy was especially effective in displaying some vulnerability as a small town girl trying to make it in the big city.

Caitie L. Moss brought a lot to the table as Regina, the militant hippie. She had a powerful voice and a strong presence. I wouldn't want to mess with her onstage or in real-life.

Other stand-outs include Robert Tully and Nik Olson (both Dutch Apple virgins) who play the German father and son villains, Hertz and Franz. Both actors took creative risks and weren't afraid to get silly. Their energy and humor were greatly appreciated by the audience that rewarded them with big laughs.

The show has a lot of comic moments and a party-hearty sensibility. Be prepared for a few off-color jokes and double entendres. However, there is nothing especially racy except maybe the "female-empowering, bathroom choreography".

The only minor quibbles I have with the show are with the set. I think the Bourbon Room is supposed to be a bit seedy and past it glory days. However, the pristine nature of the set, the multiple TV monitors, and the impeccable lighting design makes the place seem downright glamorous.

I also would have preferred a more defined setting for the strip club scenes. Some of these were played directly in front of the Bourbon Club rather than a separate location. This staging might come off as a but confusing for first time audience members.

Dutch Apple has a major hit on their hands with Rock of Ages. The opening night sold-out crowd was both appreciative and well-deserved. I look forward to seeing some of their upcoming spicier shows like Chicago and Saturday Night Fever. Rock on!

Tickets, menus and more information can be found on their homepage.

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From This Author - Rich Mehrenberg