Toronto Gets Ready to Rock with Canadian Premiere of “Rock of Ages”

For anyone who doesn’t already know, the smash-hit 80’s rock musical Rock of Ages is about to make its Canadian debut in Toronto on April 20th, 2010.  Rock of Ages is a “jukebox” musical in that it is based around popular songs that people already know, similar to the very popular Jersey Boys which is already into its second successful year in Toronto.  On Broadway, Rock of Ages has been very successful, selling well and nominated for five Tony Awards in 2009, including Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for Constantine Maroulis, Best Direction of a Musical for Kristin Hanggi, Best Costume Design for Gregory Gale and Best Sound Design for Peter Hylenski.  It didn’t win any Tony Awards; however, it’s strong selling record on Broadway speaks to its popularity.  At a time when many shows are closing shortly after they open and (in some cases) failing to recoup their  investment, Rock of Ages seems to be proving that with the right formula, people will still pay to go to theatre (sometimes over and over again).

Rock of Ages is built around classic rock hits from the 1980s and features songs from artists such as Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Poison and more.  It is known for being a very light-hearted show but it has received a very warm reception on Broadway.  Unlike a lot of shows it often breaks the “forth wall” and will directly address the audience. In addition, audience members can look forward to a lot of interaction due to the popular nature of the songs.

It is always exciting when Toronto gets a new show.  Lately we have been blessed with many outstanding tour productions; however, we haven’t had a lot of sit-down productions that are compromised of Canadian talent.  It is the Canadian talent that makes me so excited for Rock of Ages. In addition to the fact that this production will give Toronto a chance to showcase local talent, it is also exciting as additional productions of Rock of Ages are currently in the works (including Melbourne, Australia and a US National Tour) yet Toronto is the first city to produce its own show outside of Broadway.  Since the days of our long-running sit-down productions seem long gone (think back to Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Tommy and more) I think that the unveiling of the Canadian Rock of Ages is a milestone event.  Hopefully the show will prove a huge success and there will be more opportunity for us to create our own productions instead of simply inviting in US National Tours. 

Time will tell – this Broadway Baby suspects that the future of Toronto musical theatre may largely rely on how successful these new productions are financially.  But with the Toronto Cast of Jersey Boys still going strong and the advance buzz on Rock of Ages extremely positive, I am nothing if not optimistic.

And so, I bring you a sneak peak at the musical’s Canadian Cast! On April 5th, the cast and crew opened up the doors of their rehearsal hall to the media and performed a special 20 minute segment of excerpts from the show.  Roger Cullman was on hand and took some beautiful photographs which can be seen below:

The Canadian Cast of Rock of Ages features (among others): Yvan Pedneault as Drew, Elicia Mackenzie as Sherrie, Peter Deiwick as Stacee Jaxx, David W. Keeley as Dennis and Aaron Walpole as Lonny.

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In addition, NewsTalk1010 posted exclusive video of the cast performing “Here I Go Again”  I’m very curious to hear what people think of the performance.  Please before making comments remember that the cast is still in rehearsal stage.  Personally, I think its good fun and love the funky choreography, and am looking forward to seeing more when the show officially opens!

For more information, check out the official Rock of Ages Website at www.rockofagesmusical.com

For more information on the Toronto production or to purchase tickets, please visit the Mirvish website at www.mirvish.com

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