BWW Reviews: It's Another Hit with ROAR at Rockwell

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Like Rockwell's previous residency, Jagged Little Pill, their latest show Roar brings life to contemporary songs with the use of storytelling and a cast of incredible talent. Think "Rent" meets a jukebox musical of contemporary female singer/songwriters.

From the first note of "Timber," by Ke$ha, the cast makes you wanna get up and dance with them. When a song comes on, you want to be hit by something powerful, something that makes you want to listen to that song again and led by Briana Cuoco and Sebastian La Cause, I knew Roar was going to be something special. Electric, is the only way to describe the spectacle. In the first act, Emily Morris and Kyra Selman shined while singing "I Knew You Were Trouble," creating a duel force of vocal mastery during their duet. Bianca Gisselle and Briana Cuoco were an incredible force while singing "Unconditionally" by Katy Perry. I'll even go as far as to say I prefer their version to the one heard on the radio, both of them effortlessly tackling every note. "Quiet Violence" is such a beautiful song that Nicci Claspell managed to take and completely make her own as if wrapping that song around her own voice to suit it perfectly. Sebastian La Cause and Matt Magnusson took "Wrecking Ball" on and the song definitely benefited from the use of male voices. La Cause has a raspy, raw quality to his voice that suits the song well while Magnusson balances that with a raw but smooth falsetto. One song that made me write an expletive statement in my notes was "Addicted to You," originally by Audra Mae. The cast took that song and made it their... expletive. The song was another vocal showcase by Briana Cuoco and Biana Gisselle that made me want more.

Following a short intermission, there is no easing back into the story being told or the songs used to tell it. Gisselle leads the way with an incredible rendition of "Heart Attack" by Demi Lovato, hitting those high notes so perfectly, so smoothly. Gisselle does the same with "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. It was hit after hit with Emily Morris singing a sultry, almost tongue-in-cheek version of Lorde's "Royals." Her voice lends something so incredibly unique to the song, I got chills. Sia's "Chandellier" made use of the entire cast and their wonderful ability to harmonize, blending their voices to become a cohensive whole with Matt Magnusson's solo filling in for a female singer. His voice cuts deep on this track with a raw edginess to it that travels throughout the room. Kyra Selman shows her vocal prowess with back to back songs and tackles both "Skyscraper" with Emily Morris and "Gravity" as a solo.

"Loved Me Back to Life"? I admit. I teared up. Okay, I shed a tear. Emily Morris is the stand out here and sings so beautifully the audience couldn't help but applaud before the song was finished.

The show concludes with the song they used for its name -- Roar -- and if you don't want to get up and dance by now, I'm going to call you out on it.

Roar utilizes the talents of yet another incredible cast of wonderful singers, choreography that utilizes the entire space of the room, and a story that you're able to follow from beginning to end due to their use of songs and impassioned acting. Acknowledgement should be given to the music direction by Brian P. Kennedy, choreography by Ambrose Respicio III, and great direction by VP Boyle.

Go see Roar at Rockwell before it leaves! You won't regret it. You can buy tickets at

Photo Credit: Aimee Curameng

Briana Cuoco and Sebastian La Cause

Briana Cuoco and Sebastian La Cause

Emily Morris and Kyra Selman

Emily Morris and Kyra Selman

Bianca Gisselle

Briana Cuoco and Bianca Gisselle

Nicci Claspell

Bianca Gisselle and Kyra Selman

Briana Cuoco

Matt Magnusson

Sebastian La Cause

Emily Morris

Kyra Selman

The cast of Roar

Matt Magnusson, Nicci Claspell, Kyra Selman, Bianca Gisselle

The cast of Roar

The cast of Roar

The cast of Roar

Rumor Has It/Someone Like You mashup

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From This Author Aimee Curameng