Austin, Texas rocked last night. It really rocked; at least at the Long Center where Rock of Ages was playing its first show of the week. Rock of Ages is currently touring around the country performing in front of incredible audiences and making them stand up and dance. The main characters, Drew, played by Dominique Scott and Sherrie, played by Shannon Mullen stole the show from the moment they hit the stage. Dominique’s presence screamed rock star and Shannon’s presence demanded respect.
As the show began, we learned so much about each character as they were introduced by the onstage narrator and character, Lonny, played by Justin Colombo. Justin delivered an outstanding performance as Lonny and kept the audience intrigued by his talent and comical narration. Universo Pereira did a great job portraying the drunk, stoned Stacee Jaxx. He has a great singing voice and acting ability as well. The audience applauded Ama Osei ‘s portrayal of Justice as she belted out “Every Rose has its Thorn.” She did a great job playing the compassionate mother figure to the girls at the dance club.
Many could relate to the characters and their struggles but everyone could relate to the music and memories shared. The music of the 80’s is showcased in Rock of Ages and the audience clapped and sang along to it. Some of the stand out performances of the evening included “I Wanna Rock” sung by Dominique, “I Want to Know What Love Is” performed by Dominique, Shannon, Universo, Justin and many other ensemble members and “High Enough” sung by Dominique and Shannon. But, the highlight of the evening came at the end when the entire cast sang “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The entire audience was on their feet clapping and singing along. It felt like a real concert. The energy from the cast could be felt throughout the theatre. The only thing missing was the audience holding up their lighters for an encore. And we all hoped for an encore.
After the show, I had a chance to go backstage and take my 14 year old son, Ian with me. Dominique Scott took the time to show Ian around and give him a behind-the-scenes look at the Rock of Ages production. Dominique introduced us to some of the people responsible for making the show run smoothly. As we were introduced, Jarrett, who is the lead audio guy, specifically told me not to mention him. But, he was very nice and polite so he deserves a mention.
Ian and I stood at the front of the stage with Dominique and looked around at the stage and out into the now empty theatre. We could see how Dominique and the other cast members were living their dreams performing night after night. It made us reflect on our dreams. Dreams do come true. “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Rock of Ages plays at the Long Center in Austin now until September 30th. Tickets can be purchased by going to their website. Remember, this show is not suitable for children under 14, so leave them with a babysitter and rock.
Photo Credit: Kathy Strain