Long before those "Glee" kids got their hands on Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believin’," the creators of the hit musical "Rock of Ages" had already realized its potential for theater.
Starting with the now legendary lyrics, “Just a small town girl living in a lonely world; just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit...,” they built characters and a story line that follows the dreamers who take the midnight train to L.A.’s legendary Sunset Strip searching for adventure and fame.
"Rock of Ages" is set in the club scene at a bar called The Bourbon Room, where 22-year-old Drew Bully arrives in L.A. with dreams of being a rock star, dreams that are waylaid a bit as he gets an obligatory side job as a bar back at the club.
There’s a love story and the story of his rise to musical fame, but the real purpose of this stage production is to celebrate the music scene during the 1980s. A live rock band brings the high energy and vibe of a rock concert to the show. Showcasing over 40 classic rock songs, the story is framed by a narrator who guides the audience through the era built on big hair, colorful clothes and big dreams, with wry humor.
I spoke with Dominique Scott, who plays Drew, about the era: “Every decade has it’s special thing. In the '80s, rock music was a way for people to express themselves —the way they dressed, the way they did their hair. There was a freedom in that over-the-top lifestyle. People like to poke fun at it all, but there is something really real there. It’s a part of American culture, and it should be looked at lovingly.”
Scott knows a little about the club scene himself, as he has a band that plays gigs around New York City called Domin8trx, with a new debut album Carousel now available on iTunes.
“Back in the day, people had to go out to see live music," said Scott. "A group of people would meet because they like the same band and want to go see it together. Now with all the devices accessible to people, they don’t go out anymore; they can separate themselves.”
"Rock of Ages" is a good reason to reverse the trend and experience live music. The show brings all its high energy to the Pantages next week for six nights, for those who dare to unplug and feel the electric noise.
"Rock of Ages" will be playing March 20-25 at the Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are $25-125 and can be purchased by calling 800-982-ARTS or online at ticketmaster.com.