The Broadway hit Rock of Ages took Arena Rock hits from the late ’80s by groups like Journey, Whitesnake, Styx and Bon Jovi and cobbled them together for an amped-up evening of Rock in the theater, particularly appealing to people who were, um, all about partying back in the day. Now it’s on the road, touring from city to city and inviting folks to relive their ill-spent youth — and have a raucous good time. It’s at the Aronoff Center starting tonight, running through Nov. 7.
Helping to keep things on track on the tour is production stage manager Ken Davis, who just happens to be a Cincinnati native — he graduated from Roger Bacon and CCM at the University of Cincinnati. He worked at Kings Island during high school and college, then at theaters in Virginia and Connecticut before relocating to New York City. Of course, since then, he’s not been home all that much since he’s been helping to manage tours for some years — companies of performers involved in Cats, Ragtime, Hairspray, Chicago, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Full Monty and Spamalot. Now he's come full circle, back to Cincinnati where he recalls driving to school and work in the ’80s cranking up WEBN on his car radio and rocking out to the tunes that are the soundtrack for Rock of Ages.
The tour features American Idol star Constantine Maroulis in the leading role of a geeky guy with big dreams who actually sees them come true. The story is a familiar showbiz tale about making it big, and the fact that Maroulis did so in real life lends some credibility to his role in Rock of Ages. I saw this production on Broadway a few months back and, while it’s not great theater, it’s a lot of fun to watch — and to watch others on a a rowdy trip down memory lane.