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BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Hershey Area Playhouse

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This show is nothin' but a good time through August 1

BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Hershey Area Playhouse

Get out the Aqua-Net and leg warmers, Hershey Area Playhouse is taking you back to the 80's with their return to live theater, Rock of Ages. The show is both fun and funny. It doesn't take itself so seriously, in fact, at one point it makes a self-referential comment that the show is nothing but "poop jokes and Whitesnake."

According to the program notes, this production has almost been in rehearsals since the 1980's as well. There were 437 days (but who's counting?) between the first auditions and opening night thanks to a little hiccup called Covid. However, seeing the immediacy and energy of this live performance, it was worth the wait!

Rock of Ages could be considered a juke box musical in the fondest use of the term. About 20 hair band classics from the likes of Poison, Quiet Riot, and Survivor are included. Some entire songs are sung, while others are cleverly added in as snippets throughout. Songs were accompanied by an onstage 5 piece band who played with grit and enthusiasm.

Alex Michael Brashear shines as Drew, an up-and-coming rocker lacking confidence with the ladies. Brashear has an outstanding, raspy singing voice reminding me of Brett Michaels. Shelby Snyder plays Sherrie, the innocent girl drawn to the big city. Snyder did a great job of showing how her character changes throughout the show as cynicism and bitterness take their ugly toll.

Joseph Chubb's Lonnie stood out as audience favorite. He has the advantage of being the show's narrator, so he gets to talk and joke directly with the audience. His off the cuff remarks, such as the one to an audience member in a Hawaiian shirt, were hilarious. Chubb's voice is also on-point, and can hold his own along side Axel, Ozzy, or David Lee.

Other noteworthy performers include John Mallonee, Tyler O'Connor, and Ian Wallace. However, there were no weak links in this cast. Every cast member had a moment or two to shine.

Sets, costumes, and choreography were all relatively simple but effective.

If I had one criticism of the show it would be the lack of attention to hair. Eighties glam rock was defined by the biggest, poofiest, most outrageous hair. Neither the cast's wigs nor natural hair looked particularly accurate. I would have been happy to let them borrow my high school yearbook for inspiration.

Rock of Ages is an opportunity to party-hearty, and get in touch with your inner Bon Jovi. As the opening number reminds us, its "nothin' but a good time". Tickets and more info can be found on the website.


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