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BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Stage West

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Adam Pankow once again knocks it out of the park. No matter the stage he continually picks the right show and he does it wonderfully.

BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Stage West

West Fargo Events and Stage West Presents Rock Of Ages!

Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical built around classic rock songs from the 80's. The show tells the story about a small town girl, living in a lonely world, that moves to California to become an actress. It also tell the story of a beloved bar that a greedy mayor wants to tear down and the people fighting to prevent it. These stories are of course told through some amazing rock songs.

Adam Pankow once again knocks it out of the park. No matter the stage he continually picks the right show and he does it wonderfully.

First off the band... The absolutely amazing music for this production is brought to life by a 5 person band that spends the whole show on stage. Aimee Klein on keyboards, Evan Wood on guitar, Cory Loveless on Guitar, Jacob Kalvoda on bass and Jordan Degerness son drums. These rockstar musicians give their all on every song, and even become part of the story in a few scenes.

Now lets talk vocals... I have seen the majority of the cast in other shows before, and I know they are all very talented but the rock vocals they sing take it to another lever. This much talent on one stage is such a wonderful thing to witness.

I would love to talk about every single song, but I probably don't have the space for that. Be sure to check out the podcast link below to hear more in-depth discussion. I will definitely talk about some of the moments that really stood out for me,

The narrator is Lonny Barnett, played by Braden Miller. Braden is one of the many familiar names in the cast. Braden starts off the story and kicks off the music with a few lines from "Cum on Feel the Noize" then goes into a great rendition of "Just Like Paradise". We also hear Braden joining in on the last song of Act I "Here I go Again". One of the best moments of the show involves Braden and Zachary Lutz (as Dennis Dupree) performing "Can't Fight This Feeling" together. This song got some of the best laughs and loudest applause.

Since I mentioned Zachary lets talk about him next. Dennis Dupree is the bar owner and has some great moments, including the above mentioned "Can't Fight This Feeling" as well as "Too Much Time On My Hands" with Kenyon Koch (Stacee Jaxx) and also taking part in the longer rendition of "Cum on Feel the Noize".

Randall Taylor as Drew is phenomenal. This might be one of his best performances to date. Randall hits those rock notes like a pro. Especially on "I Wanna Rock", "High Enough" (With Katie Spokely) and "Oh Sherrie".

Another superstar on the stage is Sherrie portrayed by the very talented Katie Spokely. Katie really rocks on the above mentioned "High Enough" with Randall. Another favorite featuring Katie is "Harden My Heart" also featuring Lexi Francis, and "The Search Is Over" with Randall.

As mentioned above Lexi Francis plays Justice Charlier. Lexi also gets to show off her vocals on great rendition of "Pour Some Sugar On Me".

Hertz and Franz Klinemann are played hilariously by J.J. Daniels and Michael Kalpakoff. J.J. Really shines on "Keep On Loving You" and both if them are featured on "We Built This City". Michael has some great scenes with Katie Hanson (Regina) and has great vocals on "Every Rose Has It's Thorn".

Kenyon Koch was an absolute vocal powerhouse as Stacee Jaxx. He killed it on "Wanted Dead or Alive", "Cum On Feel The Noize" and "Heat Of The Moment".

Last but certainly not least Katie Hanson as Regina. Katie is so at home on stage in any type of role. She is great as Regina and I loved her vocals on "We're Not Gonna Take It".

Every person that took the stage did a wonderful job. This really comes across in the two big group numbers "Here I go Again" and "Don't Stop Believin". Both of these songs had people standing up, singing, clapping and dancing.

A huge congrats to Adam Pankow the director on another phenomenal show. Adam has done so many great productions the past few years, I think this is his best yet.

Also a HUGE shout out to Vocal Director Karen Hamilton on the work she did with this talented cast.

Congrats to everyone involved. Patrick Kasper (Choreographer), Jeff Brown (Light Designer), Curtis Phillips (Scenic Designer), Christian Ekren (Sound Designer), Annie Rupprecht (Costume Designer), Katie Niemeyer (Make & Hair Designer), BrownKNows Design (Set Fabrication), Steve Kostecke (Performance Technician), Aimee Klein (Rehearsal Accompanist) and Kendra Gilsdorf (Stage Manager/Props).

*** Photo Credit - Robby Njos

Be sure to check out recent podcast episodes or subscribe on your favorite app.

Stage Notes with Brian Michaels


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