BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Barn Players At The Arts Asylum

BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Barn Players At The Arts Asylum

Barn Players turn up the volume and rolls out the '80's music with their current production of "Rock of Ages." The musical, directed by Eric Magnus, features songs from Journey, Styx,, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Steve Perry, Twisted Sister, Poison, etc... This show is thin on plot and thick with jukebox favorites as it takes on big hair and tight pants. Fortunately, this production fills in any gaps in the original format with hilarious comedic moments and some equally funny characters.

The gist of the story involves a 1987 scheme, by German developers, to tear down the strip's drugs-sex-and-rock district, as wannabe rock god Drew and actress-barmaid Sherrie meet as co-workers at the Bourbon room, owned by Dennis Dupree (and possible Assistant Manager Lonny)? Sherrie, who hails from Paola, Kansas (yes that's part of the original script) initially likes Drew, but after he refers to them as friends, she moves on to rock star Stacee Jaxx who has announced his retirement. BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Barn Players At The Arts Asylum

Dennis makes big plans for a Jaxx concert as a final farewell. Amid protests to prevent the redevelopment, Jaxx casts Sherrie aside by having her fired. Downtrodden Sherrie grudgingly accepts her friend Justice's offer to work as a stripper in her club. Drew has taken over for Jaxx and is awarded a contract as the first act closes.

The second act doesn't seem to offer the young lovers much as Sherrie is embarrassed by her job and Drew is being pushed to be part of a boy band. They meet, argue, and Sherrie admits her feelings for Drew even though she had been confused by him referring to them as "friends".
BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Barn Players At The Arts AsylumDrew is slow to respond, but finally goes to the club only to find that Stacee Jaxx is there. Drew storms off, but later learns the truth from Justice. Amid side plots, and other romances within the cast, Lonny breaks the fourth wall by explaining to the audience and Drew that "it's all just a musical and that it was their book writer that made it so".

Lonny persuades Drew to go get the girl. Drew realizes that he doesn't need fame to be happy and he and Sherrie rekindle their romance. In the end The Bourbon room is spared from demolition, Stacee Jaxx leaves disgraced, Dennis dies with Lonny inheriting the club; while Sherrie and Drew move to Glendale, start a family, and rock on, happily ever-after.BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Barn Players At The Arts Asylum

If you love 80's music, this show will rock your world. While there are some stand out's in this show, some of the music is a bit out of "rocker" reach for some of the performers. Still, it's a fun romp as the "Arsenal Band" hammers out one number after another. Particular standout's include the over-the-top-hilarious antics of Paul Brennan III (as Lonny Barnett), killer vocals by Taylor Jennings (as Sherrie), and Jeff Smith (Stacee Jaxx) who looks like a young beefcake version of Axl Rose as he struts, sings, and grinds his way thorough the show.BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Barn Players At The Arts Asylum

Also rockin' the '80's hits are Scott Salem (as Drew), Ashley Jones (as Justice), Jeff Smith (as Dennis Dupree), Dave Fullerton (as Hertz Kleinman), Jacob Elliott (as Franz Kleinman), and Chelsea Anglemyer (as Regina Koontz). Supporting cast and ensemble included: Brent Custer, Tyler Rene Harper, Michael Golliher, Mikaela Carson, TJ Warren, Jennifer Abate, Christa James Angela Murphy Sabrina Stewart, Stephanie Palmer, and Miles Wirth.

Production Credits to Michelle Allen McIntire (Vocal Direction), Blake Vignery (Musical Direction), Evan Lovelace (Choreographer), Shelly Stewart (Assistant Director), Rebekah Grieb (Stage Manager), Chuck Cline (Lighting Designer), Sean Leistico (Sound Designer), Amanda Albert (Properties Designer), Fran Kapono-Kuzila (Costume Designer), Doug Schroeder (Set Designer), Bill Wright and Chris Palmer (Set Build), Alex Morales (Graphic Design), Kathryn Sanders on the spotlight, and John Holland (hair and make-up)BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Barn Players At The Arts Asylum

A special shout out to the Arsenal Band including: Jeremiah Lossa, Bill Wood, Frank Annecchini, Blake Vignery, and Todd Gregory-Downs - you ROCKED!
Rock Of Ages performs at the James & Marjory Russell Theatre, part of The Arts Asylum, 1000 E 9th St., Kansas City, MO from November 8 through the 18th. For ticket information go to

Photos by Vida Bikales courtesy of The Barn Players

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From This Author Paul Bolton

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