BWW Review: ROCK OF AGES at Haddonfield Plays and Players
Editor's Note: We welcome guest reviewer, Ryan Myers to Broadwayworld New Jersey.
Haddonfield Plays and Players continue their 84th season with the Rock hit musical, ROCK OF AGES! After an already successful season, which included Sister Act and The Pillowman, the remainder of the season includes Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate and closing out the season with A Christmas Carol, a beloved favorite. There is no stopping this small theater, and with the new Boxwood Arts Theatre and Cultural Center that is said to have a 365-seat theater, this once dubbed "little theater that could" will soon be making bigger strides in the South Jersey Theatre Scene.
This production is directed by Ed Doyle (directing credits include The Heiress, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Next To Normal, to name a few of many) he brought his creative side to this show. The set which looks like you entered any bar in the 1980's is decorated floor to ceiling with guitars, vinyl albums, stripper poles, pictures, and also a lot of other eccentric knick-knacks sets the mood and feel of the show. The stages also doubles as many other scenes and are creatively transformed by the use of hidden walls and doors.
Now imagine going back in time and entering a world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It's the dawning of the 1990's, and the dawn of a new decade is at its peak. All anyone wants to do is just rock out, have fun, and "take it easy." It's the Reagan Era, and many young aspiring artists are protesting the injustices in this country. It's the beginning of a new day in this world, and people have the "we're not gonna take it" attitude. You are transported back in time to feel what it was like to relive (or experience for the first time) the ending of the 1980's in the United States.
The official synopsis from the show's Broadway.com biography reads as follows: It's the tail end of the big, bad 1980s in Hollywood, and the party has been raging hard. Aqua Net, Lycra, lace and liquor flow freely at one of the Sunset Strips last legendary venues, a place where sex machine Stacee Jaxx takes the stage and scantily clad groupies line up to turn their fantasies into reality. Amidst the madness, aspiring rock star (and resident toilet cleaner) Drew longs to take the stage as the next big thing (and longs for small-town girl Sherri, fresh off the bus from Kansas with stars in her eyes). But the rock and roll fairy-tale is about to end when German developers sweep into town with plans to turn the fabled Strip into just another capitalist strip mall. Can Drew, Sherri and the gang save the strip-and themselves-before it's too late? Only the music of hit bands Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and more hold the answer.
This cast includes many talented individuals, including some unlikely standouts. Drew Boley or as he wants to be known as "Wolfgang Von Colt," played by Michael Robert Anderson portrays the role of "wanna be rock n' roll star" very well and has killer vocals which help with this rock show. Lonny played by Ed "Rico" Santiago is both the leading man and narrator, is also very good as well. Dana Masterman who starred as Sherrie Christian was also a decent choice for the role too.
Some standouts that stole the show include Stacee Jax, the drunkenly badass, yet devilishly handsome rocker played by Vinnie DeFilippo (who might I add played the role so well, that people in the audience even hated his character for being such a "douche"). Regina (Holly Birch Knapp) who is the former mayor's assistant turned protestor standing up for what she believes in, has killer chops and quite frankly I think should have been leading the show! Lastly, let me just rave about the powerhouse sensation of Monette Soloman who played Justice. She has a presence about her that just draws you in, and makes you want to watch, let alone her amazing voice, which I wish, was used more in the role, brava I must say!
The rest of the cast includes many of South Jersey's finest including Antonio Baldasari, Trisha Dennis, Audrey DiEnno, Jenn Kopesky-Doyle, Amanda Frederick, David J. Fusco, Armando Mendez, Faith McCleery, Shannon McClernan, Katharina Muniz, Tiara Nock, Jeremy Noto, Nicolette Palombo, Jennie Pines, Cara Dickinson, and Bill Zeoli.
If you enjoy classic 80's hits including "Sister Christian," "Oh Sherrie," "We're Not Gonna Take It," and other hits from some of the best artist of that decade, then you will love Rock of Ages. Due to the subject material, I wouldn't recommend this for children under 12 years of age.
Rock Of Ages runs through August 4th at Haddonfield Plays and Players in Haddonfield, NJ. For tickets to this show visit www.haddonfieldplayers.com.
About Guest Reviewer, Ryan Myers
Ryan Myers (Rye My) is a soon to be college graduate who has a love and passion for all things entertainment news, especially the theater. He is Editor-in-Chief of the entertainment-lifestyle website RyeTheNewsGuy.com and has interviewed and rubbed elbows with many A-list Broadway and Hollywood celebrities over the years, giving him insider access to some of the best interviews and coverage in town. He is a blogger, performer, and activist and is "changing the face of news, one interview at a time!"
Photo Credit: Perspective Media Productions