It's your basic boy gets, loses and wins girl back again plot. But "Rock of Ages," set along LA's seedy Sunset Strip during the late 1980s, is primarily a showcase for more than two dozen of that era's favorite songs. Ear-piercing electric guitar chords and blinding concert lighting illuminate a talented cast of likable, powerhouse singers and dancers clad in tight, skimpy costumes (for both genders) and enough raunch to last you a long time. But the total effect is a sweet, grown-up fairy tale that's a welcome blast from the past.
Jukebox musicals range from song-filled bioplays (like "Jersey Boys") to the "story-fashioned-around-the-music" style of stage musical ("Mamma Mia"). What separates this show from others is that the songs tell the story, often becoming extensions of the spoken dialogue. While classics like Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" appear either as solo numbers or divvied up between cast members, many songs are sung in counterpoint, like Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart" against Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night." The end result is like taking a musical Journey ("Don't Stop Believin'") through the glam metal band era.
Direct from his Tony-nominated Broadway performance, former "American Idol" star Constantine Maroulis once again plays Drew, the sweetly endearing rock star wannabe. His shy advances are misinterpreted by Sherrie (gorgeous, full-voiced Rebecca Faulkenberry), a small-town girl who also dreams of rock stardom, as more friendly than romantic. Add to this a German father and son team (with a breakout performance by local actor Travis Walker) who aim to tear down and rebuild the Strip, a famous rock band leader who wants to go solo and an assortment of other quirky, but memorable characters, and you have a nostalgic musical that is "Nothin' But a Good Time."