Rock of Ages – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

What would you do if a need or cause presented itself for you to resolve? If you are the mayor of Los Angeles’ assistant Regina, a dedicated Shaylen Harger, you would paint protest signs and wage a major battle to save your city’s Sunset Strip and the iconic institutions that make it famous.

Leave your inhibitions, reservations, hearing aids, walkers and canes at the door. Pop a few super vitamins and prepare to be electrified. The rock and roll party is set to explode on the stage of ACT in Ridgefield until Sunday, March 19 when “Rock of Ages,” a non-stop party, arrives in colorful splendor.

Don’t for a moment confuse this show with Rock of Ages, the popular Christian hymn composed in 1763 by Reverend Augustus Toplody. The good reverend was inspired to write his song when he was traveling in his native England one day and was caught in a horrendous storm. Seeking shelter in a gap in a gorge near where he was walking, the first words of the tune came to him…”Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.” He is said to have scribbled these words on a playing card, giving thanks for the sheltered protection the rock provided.

This totally different “Rock of Ages” is set in Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip, in the year of our Lord 1987, and is called “the best party ever!” Two kids, a guy from South Detroit and one a small-town gal, meet in L.A. and find they share the same dream: to make it big in the world of music and movies.

This is Drew and Sherrie’s story. Think rock concert meets youth gone wild meets bad boy behavior. No rules need apply here. Fun, comedy, 80’s tunes and outrageous pleasures are guaranteed as you don your acid-washed jeans and knee high boots and spray your bouffant hair to the last degree of solid steel.

Nominated for 5 Tony Awards, it features a rock band that takes part in the company as well as makes music. It pops and bangs out hits from Journey, Styx, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Night Ranger and Reo Speedwagon, tunes that will make you levitate from your seat and make you want to party on and on and on. Get your jazz hands ready for a little friendly head banging,

Classic rock tunes like “Don’t Stop Believin,’ ” “We Built the City,” “Here I Go Again,” “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and “I Wanna Know What Love Is” will resound to the rafters of ACT. Dale Obermark will star as Drew and Abigail Sparrow as Sherrie, two newcomers to town who meet and make musical magic. They meet at the Bourbon Club which Dennis (Justin Michael Duval) owns with his right hand man Lonny (Liam Fennecken). A pair of real estate developers from Germany (Kevin Dennis and Sean Widener) want to raze and sanitize the site, removing all traces of the rock and roll royalty that made it famous, like the lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Eric Coles). Others in this talented, high energy cast include Elizabeth Adabale, Jasmine Gobourne, Alexander Hall, Julia Rippon, Aaron Robinson, Emily Ann Stys and Tray Wright.

For tickets ($63-152), call ACT of Connecticut, 36 Old Quarry Road, Ridgefield at 475-215-5497 or online at Performances are Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m and 8 p.m, and Sunday at 2 p.m,.

The show’s book is by Chris D’Arienzo, directed by Igor Goldin and choreography by Sara Brians, with original musical arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp. Watch for Fairfield County’s Giving Day and donate to ACT, A Contemporary Theatre of Connecticut.

Show up at this feel-good party ready to rock and roll, with your black leather jacket, your air guitars and your protest signs and journey back to the 1980’s for Fun, Fun, Fun.

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