Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Arsht Center: Rock of Ages (reviews)

The National Tour of Rock of Ages opened at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on October 9, 2012.
In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80s. A five-time 2009 Tony® nominee ROCK OF AGES, an arena-rock love story told through the mind blowing, face-melting hits of Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, Reo Speedwagon, Pat Benetar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Whitesnake and many more. Don’t miss this awesomely good time about dreaming big, playing loud and partying on!
Read the reviews from their December 2010 engagement HERE.  And now for the current reviews:

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
If Florida Power & Light is looking for an auxiliary source of energy to forestall  another rate request , perhaps they simply ought to follow around the national tour of Rock of Ages and plug a cord into the stage. That cheerfully raunchy, surprisingly crafted and supremely silly bit of hard metal fluff has slowed down just long enough for a half-week stay at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
Notable in this cast – completely different from the folks who appeared at the Broward Center in 2010 — is the hero Drew, played with gusto and unalloyed joy by Dominique “Dom” Scott, a Miami native and 2006 graduate of the New World School of the Arts.

But for all the energy, the copious humor and the face-melting guitar licks, this iteration is lacking that indefinable theatrical electricity that infused the version that came through Broward.

The real problem with the show is the sound balance. You had better remember the lyrics to these standards because half of them are lost in the wall of sound emanating from the stage.
Scott has an endearing quality with a boyish charisma emanating from his gleaming eyes and Pepsodent smile. Although trained in Florida as a musical theater actor, he’s honed a rock  ’n’ roll voice with his personal band Domin8trx...
Scott and Mullen hold nothing back from the audience. They are as believable as intentionally cartoon characters can be and they generate individual sexual heat, but they have very little chemistry together.

The five-piece stage band is expertly led by keyboardist Bryan McAdams but the spotlight falls on the blistering licks of lead guitarist Chris Cicchino.
...there is a sense, not of staleness, but a whiff of machine oil. There’s no illusion that this is the first time these characters have said or done what you’re seeing.

But all of this is swept away by the blissful and gleeful wallow in nostalgia for a sex-drenched era characterized by the iconic stance of a lead guitarist standing on the lip of a stage, legs spread as far apart a possible, strumming a chord with one hand and giving the world the middle finger with the other.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
...I was out of town when the tour with headliner Constantine Maroulis played the Broward Center two seasons ago. I did see the misbegotten flop movie version this summer, so I didn’t have especially high hopes for the touring Rock of Ages that’s kicking off the Broadway in Miami series at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts this week.

But guess what? The theater version of Rock of Ages is a hoot.
...because of the tone of the writing, Rock of Ages works. Nobody, but nobody, is trying to create art with a capital “A.” Rock of Ages is, as the Poison song would have it, Nothin’ But a Good Time. Its characters keep their tongues firmly in their cheeks (not easy to do when you’re wailing Here I Go Again), and the actors just roll with the goofiness.
...Tony Award nominee Kristin Hanggi’s direction (recreated by Adam John Hunter), Kelly Devine’s choreography (recreated by Marcos Santana), Beowulf Borritt’s set, Zak Borovay’s terrific projection designs, Gregory Gale’s costumes, Jason Lyons’ lighting, Craig Cassidy’s sound design and Tom Watson’s big hair/wig designs efficiently and artfully take the audience back to the ‘80s. At the Arsht, that’s a fun place to be.
Rock of Ages plays at the Arsht Center through Sunday, October 14, 2012.

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