‘Rock of Ages’ turned into the walk of ages

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By Elizabeth Hjelvik

Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque has become a venue in which some popular touring Broadway musicals come to perform, providing people of New Mexico with some great artistic performances.
The musicals that visited the Duke City in the past, such as “Les Miserables” and “The Lion King,” were never disappointing. Then a tragedy occurred when the musical, “Rock of Ages” was presented.
“Rock of Ages” isn’t what one would consider a classic musical. Instead of having original songs like a Broadway performance usually does, the songs in “Rock of Ages” are covers of some famous 80’s rock songs, such as Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” The expectations are high because the songs are well known.
The musical had the potential of being extremely entertaining. The story was a romantic parody, the interactions between couples were exaggerated and all the characters were falling in love with any person they laid eyes on. Being set in 1987 Hollywood, “Rock of Ages” does manage to capture the 1980’s rock and roll era through its sets, costumes, makeup and props.
The men wore jeans with ripped up band shirts, had long hair, wore makeup and sported many tattoos.
The women wore outfits that looked like lingerie, thus revealing their bodies during the production. They also had voluminous hairstyles and an overabundance of makeup.
The main set is a dirty bar, surrounded by strip clubs, sketchy stores and billboards of half-naked women.
The props consisted of guitars, nunchucks, a live band playing in the background and a dirty bathroom stall. Nonetheless, all the potential that the musical had was taken away when the leading lady, Sherrie, came onto the stage and began singing.
She managed to butcher classic songs, such as Pat Benatar’s, “Harden My Heart” and Foreigner’s, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” She was off pitch and couldn’t hit the notes.
She must have had a sore throat the night of the performance, because Broadway singers should not sound as bad as she did.
Usually during a musical at Popejoy Hall, the audience stays for the entirety of the musical, but once intermission hit, a good number of people got up and left the theatre. Even if the leading lady had not butchered her songs, the musical still had some major flaws.
Throughout the performance, the audience could not hear what the actors were saying or singing. It was either that the live band playing in the background had their instruments too loud or the microphones for the actors were not working.
The story lacked inspiration and the script consisted of sex jokes you might hear from a 13-year-old boy. The covers that were sung fell flat in every way and did little-to-no justice for the original songs.
Even if “Rock of Ages” had been flawless, it still would have been one of the worst musicals to make it to Popejoy Hall. It did not live up to other performances that have been presented there.
This foray into contemporary musicals was not successful. The movie adaptation was better, probably because the leading lady could actually sing.