At the very beginning of 2013, the entertainment bar in Las Vegas - generally a high one - has been set especially high with the opening of Rock of Ages at the Venetian.
The tale of an innocent small-town girl Sherrie (Carrie St. Louis) who comes to LA's Sunset Strip and meets aspiring musicIan Drew (Justin Mortilliti), this joy of a show is at once a love story, party, comedy and, of course, musical.
The music comes from the 80s and showcases the music of all those bands that were the soundtrack of the decade : Journey, Whitesnake (whose frontman David Cloverdale recorded the warning about using cell phones), Twisted Sister, Starship, REO Speedwagon, Asia and others. The thin storyline tells of the Bourbon Room, a Sunset Strip club that the "clean up our city" forces want to see closed, and of the people who congregate there. Among those are the two young lovers, club owner Dennis Dupree (Troy Burgess), falling star Stacee Jaxx (Kyle Lowder) and a crowd of talented, energetic singers, dancers and musicians. And, by the way, the terrific music is performed by a live, onstage band. Wonderful!
The show is directed by Kristin Hanggi, who was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for directing the show on Broadway. Choreographer Kelly Devine utilizes the relatively small stage space beautifully. There's always something going on and it's always fun to watch.
Rock of Ages is playing in the theater in the Venetian Hotel and Casino that was just previously home to Blue Man Group. Having seen it, I have two wishes:
1: That the show stays in Las Vegas for a long time to come.
2: That every show that opens here from this time forth be up to the standard set by Rock of Ages.
Rock of Ages plays Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights at 8 pm; Saturday at 7 and 10 pm. It is dark Monday. Ticket prices range from $34 to $167. They are available online at http://www.venetian.com/Las-Vegas-Entertainment/Resident-Shows/Rock-of-Ages/ or by phone, 702-414-9000 or 866-6410-7468.