Nothing but a good time.

By: Mar. 17, 2024
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In the words of Poison, EPAC’s latest production is “nothing but a good time!”.  If you are currently humming that glam rock tune in your head right now, then Rock of Ages is the show for you.  Among the very best jukebox musicals, this show will have you banging your head, stomping your feet, and making Devil’s horns with your fingers.

Set on the Los Angeles strip sometime in the 80’s and featuring the hits of bands like Journey, Twisted Sister, and Foreigner, this show is a ball for people who rocked a mullet in their senior picture, as well as those who think Def Leppard is a large spotted cat with a hearing problem.

Jeremy Ebert nails it as Drew, an aspiring rocker lacking any experience with the ladies.  Ebert has a killer voice and uses it well.  As a big fan of 80’s MTV, I really appreciated the character’s image.  This Drew was not some sort of Axel Rose prototype, instead, with his shortish hair and jean vest, he looked like one of those teen boys that gets a “coolness make-over” by his favorite band, like that dorky kid in the “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” video.

Speaking of “smokin’”, Clara Laube plays the fetching, Sherrie, the new girl in town.  Laube owns good looks, a cheerful personality and a ton of confidence.  I admire that she (and many of the other women of the cast) are possibly stepping outside their personal comfort zone in regard to the show’s costumes, dance, and attitude. Their choices made the setting of a seedy club from a bygone era particularly authentic.

Sean Deffley portrays the nun-chuck wielding goofball and narrator of the story, Lonny.  Deffley was best in those moments of improvisation when he was riffing with the audience and reminding us all not to take the show so seriously.

George Kovarie struts the stage as fictional Rock-God, Stacee Jaxx.  Kovarie has both the looks and the charisma, but not necessarily the vocal range required of the part. Nevetheless, he looks like he is having a ball.

 Allie Lockhart is Regina (pronounced raj-EYE-nuh), the rabble-rouser, and has some of the funnier songs of the night.  Anthony Zbrzezny and Jack Leonard play the German father and son villain duo, Hertz and Franz.  These two have good chemistry together and are enjoyable anytime they pop on stage.

The technical aspects of the show are consistently first-rate.  Sets, props, and costumes spare no expense.  The Aqua-Net budget alone is probably a big deal.  The onstage band was tight and added so much to the overall mood.

Director, Bobby Checchia has a solid understanding of the humor and pacing of this show.  I appreciate some of the original touches that I have only seen in this particular production that I don’t want to spoil for the reader. 

This is a fun show.  It’s simultaneously fresh and nostalgic, and the perfect way to start the 2024 EPAC season.