Woolfe Street Playhouse Production of “Rock of Ages” brings down the house in a musical celebration

By Mark A. Leon / Photo by Minta Pavliscsak
By Mark A. Leon / Photo by Minta Pavliscsak

Throw all the rules of theater out the window, bottle up all the fun you can find in Charleston and then unleash it on stage.? Now, envision the quirky appeal of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and the Farrelly Brothers in the throwback free spirited years of hair metal bands and you will be transplanted in the world of Woolfe Street Playhouse’s adaptation of Rock of Ages.

This two hour and fifteen-minute joyride with a soundtrack that includes Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Warrant, Steve Perry, Twisted Sister, Poison, Europe, Pat Benatar and Quiet Riot will keep you tapping your feet and lip syncing throughout the entire production.? As the cast puts their own spin on classic 80’s rock songs, you see a story of love, ambition, heartache and triumph unravel.

Picture Sunset Strip circa 1987 where lipstick dreams of stardom alive and well.? Entire a small town girl with a glow in her eyes and fantasies of the big screen in her head.? As she walks away from Dad in his John Deere suspenders and Mom weeping from the distance she knows a future of endless possibility awaits.? We have all have had that dream. Then she meets a Detroit, Michigan bar back on the strip who wants to light up the stage and rock.

Their worlds soon get turned inside out as this musical celebration of life, love, passion and ambition unfolds.

This cabaret style performance was converted into a virtual arena rock show with the audience playing a key supporting role.? With singing, clapping and even a bit of dancing at the conclusion, Rock of Ages literally will bring the crowd to its feet.

From the open lyrics of “Feel the noise; girls grab the boys; we get wild, wild, wild” and “Don’t need nothin’ but a good time, how can I resist.? Ain’t looking for nothin’ but a good time, and it don’t get better than this” you knew you were in for a ride.

In the final unleashed moment, the entire cast raise their arms with the final burst “Don’t Stop”.? Those final words sum up the true message and that is to live the life you want and never stop believing in yourself and your dreams.

The Bourbon Room is the setting of this love story narrated by the top hits of the 80’s.? Lonny Barnett, played refreshingly by Noah Smith adds his own brand of flirtatious humor and sarcasm as he narrates this rock and roll fantasy.? His over-zealous lust for life and warm-hearted appeal for love adds the perfect mix of insanity and humor to the production.

John Black and Sarah Callahan play Drew and Sherrie, the heart struck lovers who are thwarted by timing and the personal desires as they fight hard to bring their hearts together in the seedy under-belly of Sunset Strip.

Josh Wilhoit unleashes his inner rock star as Stacee Jaxx, the pompous long-haired lead singer of Arsenal who becomes too big for his own britches and learns a number of hard lessons in life.? Even as his career and spirits spiral to the ground, he never loses his thrill to rock.

Robbie Thomas as Dennis Dupree, the old rock star and owner of The Bourbon Club is played harmoniously well as he compliments the ensemble cast serving as the calm voice of reason in a world of musical chaos.

Tierney Breedlove, Scott Thomas and Derek T. Pickens lend a beautiful sub-plot as Regina, Hertz and Franz, a key conflict plotline of this tale.? Hertz and Franz see a future for the Sunset Strip that resembles more of a strip mall than a rock and roll gathering hub.

The energy of the cast and the was brought together harmoniously by the fueled stage direction of Keely Enright and the musical direction of Margaret Coleman.

Whether you want an evening of live musical theater that rejoices in the idea of love, music and a little kinky fun, relive the splendor of your youth or want to experience a place where the only thing in life was a great song and amazing mane of hair, Rock of Ages will sweep you away.

To Purchase Tickets Online – Rock of Ages (May 6 – May 29)

Photo by Minta Pavliscsak