A British voice from the rock band Whitesnake promised the audience a night of “music and debauchery” during the show’s extremely colorful opening monologue…and that is exactly what we got.
Our lovable hot mess narrator (and second-hand man at The Bourbon Room) Lonny (very Jack Black in School Of Rock), led us through some crazy days of rock n’ roll on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip during the 1980s. The set design echoed this sentiment with “LIVE NUDE GIRLS” florescent signs flanked by a billboard of a scantily clad blonde woman with big….body parts.
The crazy energy of the first number, a rendition of David Lee Roth’s “Just Like Paradise”, set the tone of the night. The dance numbers throughout were packed with lots of jumping, neon costumes, head banging, fist pumping, and rock hand signs. They made us want to dance too. In fact by the end of the night, we WERE standing up and dancing. ALL the cool kids were.
What good is sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll though without a love story? That’s what Lonny asked us…or something to that extent. Enter Sherrie from “3,337 Waffle Houses away” who was “mugged” (we laughed when she used this word…as did everyone) right in front of The Bourbon Room. Lowly worker/wannabe rocker Drew (now starry-eyed from the beauty of Sherrie), ushers her inside and asks Dennis (insane, always stoned club owner) and Lonny if they can give Sherrie a job. Dennis objects until he is eye-level with Sherrie’s behind. Sherrie is overjoyed at the fact that she landed a job within five seconds of landing in LA. Naturally, Drew then offers Sherrie a milkshake. Duh. Cherry. She would love a job. She would love a milkshake. And she loves cherry. This is just one instance that highlights the humor of the show. Where the movie previews portrayed a more serious plot, the stage show adds funnies to almost every situation.
You know the rest. German peeps try to convince the Mayor that these crazy music places and rocker kids are ruining the city. The Bourbon Room must come up with a hefty chunk of change to be saved. Dennis calls frontman Stacee Jaxx of popular rock band Arsenal and convinces him to play the band’s last show at The Bourbon Room, where he got his start. Stacee is in after the two are reminded of an old memory…Stacee’s inappropriate actions with a baby llama. Yeah.
Drew tries to convince Dennis to let him open for Arsenal. Dennis shuts him down after hearing his amateur lyrics. He tells Drew his chords suggest real emotion. What is he signing about? Enter Sherrie. Again. She always pops in at the right times. Light bulb moment! “Heaven” (by Warrant). Drew is in!
Drew and Sherrie kinda try to have a date, but it doesn’t really work out. Stacee Jaxx comes to town soon after and throws his celebrity, long locks and tight pants in the faces of all women. Including Sherrie. Sherrie then “wants to know what love is…and she wants Stacee to show her”. And he does. In a dirty bathroom stall. Totes romantic. Sherrie is in love. Stacee not so much…as he will only go on with the show if Dennis throws Sherrie out of The Bourbon Room.
Of course, Sherrie then takes this time to become a stripper. In the meantime, Drew is “discovered” by some sleazebag record “execs”. Act I ends with a roaring full company number of “Here I Go Again” from Damn Yankees, jazz hands, and a plea to drink more alcohol. Our kind of musical.
Act II is the act of recollection….as is usually the case. But recollections in Rock Of Ages happen to Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. We wish this happened in real life. Drew finally gets the high note…and the girl. “The Search Is Over” by Survivor. Every thing is right again. Especially when Stacee Jaxx strips down to his tighty whities.
The show ended with a big performance of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”…this sounds cliche, but the actions of the second act prove otherwise. We’re not going to spoil the ending for you, you’re going to have to come see it yourself. We’re totally down with the theme of the show that Lonny leaves us with at the end…and also totally down with a musical that celebrates the everyday kind of folk. Plus those ’80s classics are so dang catchy, you’ll be singing them for days!