DEWITT, N.Y. — Broadway Musical “Rock of Ages” opened Friday the 13th at community theater CNY Playhouse, ShoppingTown Mall to a packed audience.
The sexually charged musical set in ‘80s LA is a mix of glam metal classics and funky moves. It portrays a social struggle against commercial development, young love and the pursuit of dreams in a big city.
The 18-member ensemble put on a fun-filled performance, led by Dan Rowlands, producing director and vice president of the playhouse.
“I saw “Rock of Ages” on Broadway in 2012 at my bachelor’s party and loved it,” Rowlands said. “So I brought it here with the aim of encouraging more such community arts productions.”
The cast aimed to break down the invisible curtain that exists between actors and the audience known as the ‘fourth wall’ in theater parlance.
“We broke the wall with a wrecking ball,” said Sabrina Becker who plays passionate activist Regina.
Lonnie the conjuror, played by Josh Taylor, played to the fourth wall gallery with abandon when he approached audience members and made them part of the humour. Taylor even referenced the scene catalogue, all during the performance.
Lead actors Tyler Ianuzi and Hali Greenhouse, who essay the roles of Drew and Sherrie respectively, displayed powerful voices as did Theatre Association of New York awardee Kristina Abbott (“gentleman’s club” owner Justice Charlier). Derek Potocki played the promiscuous role of Stacee Jaxx to much applause.
The music line-up included songs from Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” to Starship’s “We Built This City”, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and lots more from iconic bands of the era.
The crowd sang along, from both, the older generation to the younger lot, and grooved in their seats.
“I loved it, there’s so much energy,” said Natalie Kucko, a young actress from Rochester who watched the show opening night.
The musical stands as the playhouses’s biggest production since it launched in 2012 with 50 classic shows under its hat, Dan said.
“It is great to see the playhouse put up such a show in a small mall like this. We enjoy driving down for community arts events like these frequently,” said Laura Abbott who was cheering on her wife, Kristina, Justice Charlier for the night.
“Rock of Ages” ran over the course of two weeks, till July 28, and definitely one for the weekend.
“Only a Play” is the next Broadway show to run at the playhouse, Aug 10-18.