Rock of Ages
Feb 1 – Feb 24, 2019
Tickets on sale to the public on Friday, November 23, 2018
Book by Chris D'Arienzo
Book by Chris D'Arienzo
Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages is a “jukebox musical” with a score of great songs from 1980s Heavy Metal bands (Styx, Twisted Sister, Poison, among others). Its story is set in and around the LA Sunset Strip in the mid to late eighties and concerns aspiring rocker Drew; innocent aspiring actress (and later stripper) Sherrie; Lonny and Dennis, who work at the Bourbon Room (a rock club); Hertz and Franz, German developers who want to destroy the strip and create a clean, pure, and efficient environment free of rock; Regina, a city planner who wants to stop them and save the strip; Stacee, a heavy metal star; and Justice, who runs a nearby strip joint.
Rock of Ages contains strong language, sexual references (sex acts take place offstage), drug references and drug use, exotic dancers, sexist remarks, and, in the manner common to heavy metal concerts, occasional direct address to the audience. It should be pointed out that the show’s depiction of heavy metal culture is done with affectionate humor and irony (tongue firmly in cheek). (Sample: the pre-show announcement informs us that “flash photography and recording devices are strictly prohibited. Unless, of course, you are really, really hot and willing to show us your breasts. Furthermore, all cell phones should be turned off, text messaging makes you look like a douchebag, and if you have one of those ‘blue tooth’ things in your ear . . . Please. Come on. You look like a dick.”) Rock of Ages may not be suitable for all audience members, and theatergoers are advised to peruse the following guidelines carefully.
Rock of Ages contains extensive use of strong language, including the “f” word (heard half a dozen times as an expletive rather than a sexual term). A few vulgar expressions, such as “shit” or “crap” are used frequently, as a a couple of “goddams,” one “Jesus!” and “Christ!” and several “hells” and “damns.” The characters are creative with insults, calling each other “asshole,” “dickweed” and “dicklickers.”
The show’s narrator interrupts a song to say that a musical needs “an f-ing love story. And quick!” He points out a woman in the audience: “She’s practically begging for it. Aren’t you, you nasty little Playbill-holding freak machine?”
A fictional heavy metal band is said to be called “Concrete Ballz.” A novice songwriter, trying to write a love song, sings, “I wanna make boobies hard!” and “She was reachin’ for my sack!” (He also comments, “That sucks,” about how it’s going.)
A character confesses to having once “shivved a guy for talking shit about Kip Winger.” Sherrie is knocked down and her purse is snatched on her first day in Los Angeles. Stacee and his guitarist get in a shoving match and then Stacee is hit in the head with the guitar.
Regina and her protesters attempt to block the developers from demolishing the Bourbon Room; they are beaten (in slow motion pantomime) by the police. Later Regina douses herself with gasoline and threatens to set herself on fire in protest.
Sherrie performs a dance for a rocker who rejected her and takes her revenge by knocking him out.
The show’s narrator Lonny announces that LA in the 80s was a “majestic acidwash epicenter. If you had a dream, a 5th of Jack, and a decent amount of hair, there was nowhere else to be.”
Two characters are seen sharing a joint; another is seen running down the streets with his pants down (there is no nudity), claiming he is “high;” when Dennis is discouraged at the prospect of losing his club, Lonny encourages him to “Chew a prozac!”
Lonnie addresses the audience: “Ever listen to Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie’ after speed-balling two grams of crystal meth and a six-pack diet Shasta? Rip your goddamn heart out.” He then points to a man in the audience: “He knows what I’m talking about.”
Drew brings Sherrie a six pack of wine coolers (Stacee grabs them).
Regina confesses she once jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge as a protest to legalize pot.
A depressed Hertz is seen on the street drinking from a bottle of whisky.
Rock of Ages contains quite a few sexual references, some more explicit than others.
Innocent Sherrie Christian arrives in LA hoping to make it as an actress; she is startled and excited by the people she encounters on the Sunset Strip, including a hooker. When Sherrie picks up a “lucky penny,” the boys at the Bourbon Room notice her “flawless behind,” and Dennis changes his mind about hiring her.
Dennis observes that Stacee should agree to perform because “he still owes me from that hotel incident with the cool whip and the baby llama.” Later he will blackmail Stacee to accept his offer to host the group’s last gig: “Remember when you teabagged that baby llama?”
A rock star is seen “with a swarm of groupies around him.” (Later one of the groupies will be revealed as underage, which results in the character escaping to Uruguay to avoid the police).
Sherrie is considering auditioning for a film called “Encino Hot Tub Police,” but she is unsure what is meant by “suggested fellatio,” thinking it means she needs to work on an accent.
A character uses “I have an enormous penis” to test a microphone before auditions take place at the club.
On their first date, Sherrie is shy and Drew says there’s no pressure – they are just two friends. Sherrie agrees. Lonnie, eavesdropping, winces at the mistake and observes that the inner Sherrie feels very differently in a fantasy sequence, we see Sherrie suddenly become her sexed-up inner self and mime having sex with Drew (“You’re so good / when we make love it’s understood”) but then the fantasy ends and she becomes innocent Sherrie again.
Stacee’s band hates him, Lonny admits. “But stars are undeniable. Like herpes.”
Stacee meets Sherrie and invites her into the men’s bathroom “where we can talk about our dreams and feelings and shit.” He rips off her shirt as they sing, “I want to know what love is,” and carries her into a bathroom stall. Asked by the waitress, Sherrie says it was “magical.” “His hands?” “Magical!” “What about his . . . “ “Smaller than I thought, but magical.”
Lonny announces the intermission (“All right, go get more drinks!”) and addresses a woman in the audience: “You, my dressing room. Two minutes!”
A predatory movie producer asks Sherrie, now a stripper, to meet him at his beach house, saying he sees “Molly Ringwald” potential in her. Sherrie, skeptical, says, “You got that from a ‘two for one’ lapdance?”
At the Strip Club, Stacee addresses a dancer named Candi: “Come here, you sexy little poptart! How much does two hundred bucks get me?” He is startled when Candi replies “in an alarming man’s voice”: “Two hundred bucks basically gets you four dances and a full release.”
In the number, “I Can’t Fight this Feeling,” Lonny and Dennis confess to having feelings for one another.