by Adam Gold
Rock of Ages’ closing number is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and that’s about the only thing the hit Broadway hair metal musical has in common with The Sopranos. For starters, The Sopranos — for all its violence and horror — never put out a hit on subtlety and the properties of sound. Rock of Ages, on the other hand, whacks audiences’ eyes and ears with a choreographed mash-up of Styx’s “Too Much Time on My Hands” and Starship’s “We Built This City.”
A musical centered around the pop-metal hits of Poison, Night Ranger, Twisted Sister, Speedwagon, Whitesnake et al., and set in Hollywood during the heyday of Aquanet, Rock of Ages is like what might have transpired if Pete Townshend had dropped Tommy off on the Sunset Strip, only to be taken in by Dee Snider and C.C. DeVille. If you’re not a fan of power ballads and mega-hook-laden, spandex-clad schmaltz, this production (and especially last year’s lovingly hilarious silver screen adaptation starring Tom Cruise) will make you wish you were deaf, dumb and blind. But if you can look back at ’80s arena rock with a smile and without a wince, this show is a surefire riotous romp not to be missed.