Monday, 22 September, 2014

Published July 25, 2014
Headbang your way back to the exhilarating Eighties
Jukebox musical features classic songs from bands of that era, reports DYLAN TAN
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Retro madness: Dominique Scott having a blast playing Drew

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REMEMBER the Eighties - when it was okay to wear denim elsewhere on your body besides your legs; rock stars had bigger hairdos than their groupies; and push-ups were women's underwear and not a new IPPT station?

Relive that decade when Broadway's Rock of Ages rolls into town next month. Set in LA's decadent Sunset Strip in the 1980s, the jukebox musical features classic songs from popular heavy metal bands of that period like Bon Jovi, Poison, Europe and Twisted Sister.

Plot-wise, it traces the journey of a small-town girl who falls in love with an aspiring musician but gets carried away by the bright lights after a big-city rocker sweeps her off her feet.

The show made its debut on stage in 2006 before it was adapted into a movie starring Hollywood hunk Tom Cruise and British comedian Russell Brand in 2012. It is currently the 30th longest-running production on Broadway with over 2,000 performances and counting - on top of numerous other touring versions playing every night all over the world, including one onboard a cruise liner.

"The music speaks for itself - everybody loves hearing the hits of the Eighties," says Rock of Ages' assistant director Matthew DiCarlo, of the show's popularity. He has been working on it since its off-Broadway debut.

"Rock of Ages shifts a bit with each company that performs it - the story and the songs remain the same but the show itself is always reinvented with each new company. It has been thrilling to hear so many different performers interpret the iconic music over the last six years," he adds.

DiCarlo is not the show's only long-timer as lead actor Dominique Scott has been playing the character Drew, the budding musician, for the past three years.

As a real-life rocker, he found the role almost tailor-made for him. "We share almost every single trait," he says, "In fact, I don't think there is a character that I am more like in real life in the entire musical theatre repertoire. Drew is a young kid with rock-star qualities who gets to live out, to some degree, his rock-star dreams in the show - (and) getting to do that every night is exhilarating."

His co-star Shannon Mullen (who plays Sherrie, the wide-eyed girl who comes to LA) shares that the best thing about her role is getting her hair crimped and wearing fishnets every night onstage. "I definitely connect with Sherrie and her dreamier side," adds the child of the '80s. "(We are) always optimistic and look at the world with excitement (but) I can't say I'm quite as naive as (Sherrie); we have our faults."

Working on a heavy metal musical, it's only natural for the cast and crew to have their own rock-star moments. For DiCarlo, he admits to occasionally letting his hair down at the karaoke while belting out Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar On Me, while Scott has a slightly wilder tale.

"People get so excited when they see me perform that they sometimes feel compelled to throw their panties at me onstage in a moment of heated passion," he says.

"I have kept every article of clothing that's ever been thrown at me onstage and made a wall with them in my recording studio where all the trophies of love now hang," Scott adds. "This is a true story - I'm not kidding."

Anybody who needs more proof that the actors rock the stage like they mean it only need to ask Mullen about her most unforgettable show. "My wig fell off once - it was definitely one to remember," she recalls. "But let it be a note of how much headbanging we do!"


'Rock of Ages' runs from Aug 6-24 at Resorts World Theatre at Resorts World Sentosa. Tickets at S$75-175 available from Sistic


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