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TheatreWorks Florida Takes You Back in Time: 1980's Style with Rock Of Ages By: Coren E. McLeod

TheatreWorks Florida Takes You Back in Time: 
1980’s Style with Rock Of Ages
By:  Coren E. McLeod

Photos by: Barry Nadler

I remember being a child in the 1980’s.  It was a more simple time where I knew when it got dark outside, I had to be home for dinner.  I loved watching my older sister get ready for her school dances with her friends.  Her hair was extra big that night and her dress was really puffy.  Hey, that was the style back then.  And the music.  Let us not forget about the heart pumping, ripe roaring sound of the ever powerful music of the 80’s. 

TheatreWorks Florida presents to the lovely Orlando community the production of Rock Of Ages playing at the Dr. Phillips Center September 28th- October 9th, 2016.  I had the pleasure of seeing this play on opening night.  The 1980’s was a time for a person to truly find who they were in society.  Whether you were a small town girl looking to make it in the big city as an actress.  Or even just a city boy raised in South Detroit wanting to break into the metal music scene, the 1980’s gave men and women alike that chance to explore.

Rock Of Ages is brought to you by director Scott Cook and his vision of his favorite era.  While I was sitting in the audience that warm Wednesday night, I was excited to really see how Rock Of Ages was going to be pulled off.  And let me just say, it was very well executed.  From the beginning with the cast of characters coming out singing, to the ensemble dancing around and the metal group Arsenal head banging; it all worked miraculous together. 

Drew just wants to ROCK!

Oh, Sherrie!

The combination of Drew (Justin Scarlet) and Sherrie (Kayla Alvarez) playing off their puppy love towards one another is extremely addicting to watch.  The audience was cheering for these two to get together right away.  However, some unforeseen obstacles stood in their way especially when Drew refers to Sherrie as a “friend.”  Stacey Jaxx played by Stephen Alan just gave the right sort of d bag boldness that needed to challenge the love birds in their quest for 80’s hair metal love. 

Stacey Jaxx

The set was brightly covered with elements of 80’s awesomeness thrown in.  The Atari sign helped me to relive the afternoons I would spend playing “Duck Hunter.”  Plus, the thrown about bras across the Bourbon Room makes one feel dirty yet still want to party with the best of them. 
Each actor/ actress brought an astonishing vocal range that paired very excellent with the music that was offered during this time era.  A couple of standout songs for me were:

“I Wanna Rock…”
“Harden My Heart/Shadows of the Night…”
“Wanted Dead or Alive….”
“Here I Go Again…”
“High Enough…”
“Don’t Stop Believing…”

Two characters that just made Rock Of Ages a laugh out loud riot were Dennis Dupree (Casey Sweeny) and Lonny (Christopher Jones).  These two literally had me in stitches watching them try to save their beloved Bourbon Club for the rest of the employees.   When the two break out into “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” one cannot but burst with fruit flavor of laughter. Lonny was just the extra comic relief that added some spice when drama was going to take place.

Dennis and Lonny

The ensemble cast of extras really put forth an effort that tied each scene together nicely.  With the over the top costumes and the elaborate, huge hair, I enjoyed the hell out of seeing the dedication given by each member to support this excellent production.  Charissa Hope Everett was brilliant with her twirling and sensational voice. 

Charissa with Arsenal 

Now, I can’t go without saying something about the band that accompanied Rock Of Ages so perfectly.  Arsenal added a great deal of #Badass to the already killer play.  Seeing Bobby Keller embrace his role as the lead guitar player of the 80’s band with such enthusiasm and his sheer bad boy attitude was impressive to watch.   The long hair wig just added more to what was already tough about Bobby in Rock Of Ages. 

#StellarKeller in Arsenal 

Rock Of Ages is a significant piece to those who lived the 1980’s.  Those who have not will still be able to laugh and enjoy a good night out in beautiful downtown Orlando.
 All in all, TheatreWorks Florida and Scott Cook truly captured what Rock Of Ages means:  Be loud, Be yourself and most of all:  ROCK!!!!!  
Check out this wonderful production of TheatreWorks Florida production of Rock Of Ages through October 9th, 2016.  Tickets can be purchased at the box office at Dr. Phillips Center or online at http://www.theatreworksfl.org/.
#Cheers #BadAss #IWannaRock

- More at UnRatedMagazine.com

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