‘Rock of Ages’: DAC’s bringing 80s glam rock to Durango

by Patty Templeton

Ladies, gents, and all betwixt, pull out your neon spandex, tease and Aqua Net that hair into a crimped mountain, and put on a half-shirt because the “Rock of Ages” is coming to the Durango Arts Center.

“Rock of Ages” is a musical set in the 1980s following Drew, a busboy at a glam metal club called the Bourbon Room. Aspiring rocker Drew wants to win the heart of a waitress named Sherri who may be interested in the hella rich rock star Stacee Jaxx. And p.s. – the Bourbon Room is in danger of shutting down. Will it close? Will Stacee Jaxx’s mere presence save the club? Will Drew find love? What other famous bands besides Journey, Bon Jovi, and Twisted Sister have music featured in this metalhead musical via live, on-stage band accompaniment? You’ll have to headbang down to the show to find out.

DGO spoke to Theresa Carson, artistic director and theatre manager of the DAC, about “Rock of Ages.”

Eighties metal was kinda risqué. Is this musical? It’s raunchy risqué. I wouldn’t say cutting-edge sexy, more silly and raunchy. It’s definitely for adults. High school kids would love it. I would definitely say like 13 and up, but it depends.

Is there a deeper story than saving a club and a love triangle? It’s, in its simple way, about following your dreams, following your heart, and really fighting for what’s right. Like fighting to keep a bar open – we get very attached to places, they become a part of our personal history. So these characters are fighting to save their bar and these rock star wannabes really want to pursue music. It’s that wonderful message of living your dream and fighting for what you believe in.

It’s a message that doesn’t ever get old, but I think we need to be reminded of it. I read things about how percentages of Americans don’t love their jobs or do things that they aren’t passionate about, and this silly little musical reminds us, “Hey, go for it” and have a good time doing it.

So this is a chill, good time musical?It’s a very sweet show. Honestly, I think right now we could use a little lightness, some joy, some nostalgia. It’s funny. We’re really trying to go for it. It’s not realism by any stretch. These characters are almost a mockery of themselves but even in this farcical, romantic, raunchy comedy they still present truth.

How are the actors prepping for rock stardom?They have definitely been listening to the music of the era. Watching movies that take place in the ’80s and there’s a lot out there, whether it be the movie with Tom Cruise or on the internet about “Rock of Ages.”

Visually, what’s this gonna look like? We’re hoping to have it look like an ’80s concert as much as we can.

How does this show connect to you as a director?I was in high school and college in the ’80s and I hear some of these songs and, oh, the memories it brings back. When they’re singing and dancing on stage, I can’t help but be clapping or dancing along with them. I think it is infectious. You cannot help but enjoy it.

Is the show for everybody or just people who grew up in the ’80s? I think for the people who lived through the ’80s, that nostalgia, the memories, the old sentiments, I think they always resonate with us, and they’ll love this.

People who may not know the music or weren’t alive in the ’80s, it is fabulous, infectious music, and they’ll enjoy it, too.

It’s back to good ol’ song and dance numbers. Half the play takes place in a strip club so we have stripper poles, too.

There’s a famed lap dance in the show.Oh yeah. We’re keeping the lap dance.

Will there be air guitar?Not really. No, no, no. (Laughs)

Interview edited and condensed for clarity. Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer


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