Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: "Rock of Ages" at Benedum Center-Sunday 28th November 2010

Rock of Ages has thumped into town for a short, frenzied stay. This is the road company version of the hit which has been doing its thing on Broadway since April of last year. Clearly it’s a juke box musical with no pretense of being serious theatre. More, it’s primarily known as an homage to so-called “hair” bands of the 1980s with 30 songs from such icons as Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Twisted Sister hooked into a simple story.

It’s also intended as a send-up of musicals, which seems marginal rather than well-developed, colored by raunchy humor in basic dialogue, sometimes decorated with profanity. Some bits also get deliberately played to the house. The songs get loud and louder but the lyrics, remarkably, often come across intelligible.

It is packaged with this advisory for parents: “Some of the costumes, dancing and language may not be appropriate for kids under the age of 14.”

Clearly audience participation is likely, even encouraged, with people jumping up in their seats, maybe singing…yelling…with cast members sometimes bopping along the aisles. On opening night lots of people in the house were having a ball. Some late arrivals, noisily bulging into seats behind me, obviously felt that this was like a fun club date, regularly exchanging verbal comments, evidently thinking that the on-stage conversation had less weight than theirs. Maybe they were right. As for the show itself, I didn’t get it.

Rock of Ages, part of the PNC Broadway Across America series runs through 6:30 pm on Sunday November 28th at Benedum Center, downtown. Tickets (412) 456-6666 or


  1. Too bad you didn't get it. Millions are rocking to this show and having the time of their life.

    It's an amazing piece of musical theater. Whether you want to admit it or not. LOL
    Five Tony nominations clearly puts it in that category.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I agree that it's too bad that I didn't get it.But popularity is no indication of quality. Some great musicals are not popular while some really dreadful ones become major hits. And Tony nominations are not Tony awards and awards don't necessarily indicate greatness.