It was announced in October that the jukebox musical Rock of Ages was to close at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 6th January 2013 before moving to another West End venue. Yesterday, it was confirmed that the show will be replacing Loserville at the Garrick Theatre, re-opening there on 18th January 2013.
The Broadway musical, which opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 28th September 2011, is an ‘arena-rock love story’ which features a host of classic ’80s rock songs such as ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’, ‘I Want To Know What Love Is, ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘We Built This City’. The book by Chris D’Arienzo tells the story of wannabe rocker Drew who follows his dream all the way to The Bourbon Room in 1987 Los Angeles where he encounters rock star Stacee Jaxx and falls for small-town girl Sherrie. It is directed by Kristin Hanggi and features choreography by Kelly Devine, set designs by Beowulf Boritt, costume designs by Gregory Gale, lighting by Jason Lyons, sound by Peter Hylenski and musical supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp. The original West End cast starred celebrity faces Justin Lee Collins and Shayne Ward as club/bar owner Dennis Dupree and Stacee Jaxx respectively, alongside respected West End performers Oliver Thompsett (Drew), Simon Lipkin (Lonny) and Amy Pemberton (Sherrie); the latter was replaced by Natalie Andreou three weeks into the run due to illness.
Making the move with Rock of Ages to the Garrick Theatre are current principals Ross Hunter (Drew), Daniel Fletcher (Dennis Dupree), Tim Howar (Stacee Jaxx) and original cast member Simon Lipkin (Lonny) who, speaking about the show’s transfer, said: “It’s awesome we’re following Status Quo’s mantra of Rockin’ All Over the World, we’re Rockin All Over the West End.”
Rock of Ages originated in Los Angeles, premiering at King King on 27th July 2005. It went on to play at the Vanguard, Ren-Mar Studios and the Flamingo (Las Vegas) before an off-Broadway run at the New World Stages in 2008. It was the following year that the musical made it to the boards of Broadway, opening at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on 7th April 2009. It shortly transferred to the Helen Hayes Theatre. A Toronto production and two tours (US and Australia) followed before it finally made its way across to our shores. It has since been adapted into a Hollywood movie starring Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta Jones, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand.
The musical has been nominated for an array of theatre awards, including a ‘Best Musical’ Tony Award. It received a mixed reception when it made its West End debut, with most critics panning the show while most audiences loved it. It has certainly managed to become a lasting success though, as the forthcoming transfer proves. In a press statement, it stated that: “Taking such a huge cast and crew on a journey to a new venue is quite a challenge but the Garrick Theatre is ready to rock and welcome fans young and old.”
West End audiences have been happily rocking out with Rock of Ages since 2011, and with this move to the Garrick, rock n’ roll will still be alive and kicking in Theatreland; hopefully for a long time to come.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Tuesday 11th December 2012