BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES: TENTH ANNIVERSARY TOUR at Times Union Performing Arts Center
Jacksonville was blown away by the Tenth Anniversary Tour of Rock of Ages. The musical that tells the story of a bunch of dreamers on the Sunset strip, that are trying to make it big in the rock-n-roll world. Following the adventures of love, heartbreak, defeat, stardom, and the fight to keep rock-n-roll alive as a father-son team wants to destroy the Boulevard and turn it into multiple shopping centers. The musical showcases hit songs from the late 80's such as "Don't Stop Believin'", "Here I Go Again", "Hit Me with Your Best Shot", and so many more! Rock of Ages captivated every single audience member and connected us all through iconic songs and entertaining stories!
Every single actor in the production is supremely talented. Lonny (John-Michael Breen), the show's narrator as well as one of the funniest characters, was amazing. Breen did a phenomenal job at connecting with audiences, pointing and speaking with a few as if they were part of the production. As some audiences cheered and screamed, Breen was able to improv without missing a beat. I was incredibly impressed by his performance. Drew, performed by Anthony Nuccio, had a voice like no other. Every number he performed in presented so much emotion and heart. Nuccio's performance as the want to be rock star blew audiences away and left them cheering for an extended period of time. Sherrie (Katie LaMark), the want to be actress who leaves her hometown and sets out for Sunset Boulevard, was greatly entertaining. Not only did she have quick wit and was great in all her choreography, but she had an incredibly beautiful and pure voice. The entire ensemble was absolutely astounding. They represented avid rock-n-roll fans perfectly, but also had incredible voices that were showcased in every number. Each and every one of them performed with so much heart and soul. And a special shout out to Jacksonville native, Mark LaDuke, who performed as Joey Primo and in the ensemble!
The stage design was incredible as well. It began with minimal design, but as the show began it became like a concert. The lights, the smoke, the sound, the entire atmosphere made the audience feel like they were transported to an 80's concert. I was very impressed with the versatility and the flow of the stage, moving from bathroom scenes, to nightclubs, to a bus stop. It all was very cohesive.
The audience felt like part of the production, as well. They were so passionate as if they were the audience members of a rock-n-roll concert. I could hear them singing along to every, song and cheering for their favorites. The nostalgia was felt by each and every audience member, even those who may not have been alive at this time period. There were even audience members dressed as though they could be in the show in their favorite 80's gear. I love that this show brought audiences who may not be accustom to theatre and those that are together to enjoy a night of fun, music, and rock-n-roll!
Rock of Ages is unlike any show I have seen. The cast genuinely looked like they were having the time of their lives on stage and living out the dreams their characters wanted. I believe this may have been Jacksonville audiences' favorite performance this season!