Set in 1987 on the Sunset Strip and billed as an “arena-rock love story”, Rock of Ages centres on Drew, a busboy and aspiring rocker who chases his dreams to Los Angeles’ most famous rock club, where he meets a small-town girl newly arrived from Kansas, named Sherrie.
Rock of Ages incorporates period glam-rock music from the likes of Bon Jovi, Journey, Whitesnake, Poison and Pat Benatar, including over 20 hits such as “Sister Christian”, “I Wanna Rock”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “Come on Feel the Noize”, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, “The Final Countdown” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” , “Dead or Alive”, “We Built This City”, “I Wanna Know What Love Is” and “The Final Countdown” (though not, ironically, the Def Leppard song from which the show takes its title as the band didn’t approve the license).
The musical, which has a book by Chris D'Arienzo, premiered in LA in 2006. It opened Off-Broadway in October 2008, before opening at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinston Theater in April 2009. It’s temporarily closed in New York and will reopen later this month at the Helen Hayes Theater.
Rock of Ages was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2009 but went home empty-handed from the ceremony that was dominated by Brit import Billy Elliot. The show is also currently touring Australia and the US. A Hollywood screen adaptation, starring Tom Cruise, is in the works for 2012.
The Shaftesbury has been largely dark since the closure of Flashdance the Musical on 15 January 2011. Upcoming productions at the theatre include a one-off night Comedy Rush, “60 Acts in 60 Minutes”, on 24 March 2011. It’s followed by Derren Brown's new show Svengali which has a limited season form 13 June to 16 July 2011 (previews from 8 June).